Test quality improved – independently of personnel
Liebherr Werk Biberach GmbH (LBC) manufactures an extensive range of high-quality construction and industrial cranes that are used all over the world. The company was founded in 1954 and makes rotating tower cranes and mobile cranes. LBC is part of the Liebherr Group. Liebherr is a family company and was founded by Hans Liebherr in 1949. Today, the group is one of the world's largest construction machinery manufacturers.
Liebherr Werk Biberach has been a customer of IGH Automation since 2003. LBC uses AQIs almost universally in production. So far, four test stands have been installed for upper slewing cranes, one for testing the hoist, and a component test stand. The bottom slewing cranes are tested with AQIs both during assembly and in the final inspection. For mobile cranes, one test stand has been integrated into the final assembly, with one in commissioning. Cable harnesses and remote controls are tested on another test stand.
Benefits to LBC
- 70% work time saving in testing
- Flexibility thanks to the modular structure of AQIs
- Versatile testing system for new products thanks to parameterisation
- No more stand-alone solutions, thanks to already existing software and hardware components being brought together by AQIs
- Quality improvement thanks to testing not being dependent on personnel
- Automatic logging
Uwe Kühn, manager for crane systems and Gerhard Schmid, group manager for electrical equipment answer questions relating to this AQIs project.
For the past two years, the test stand for electrical components has been used for testing complex crane components from the crane manufacturer Liebherr in production. The system was ordered in October 2003, commissioned in January 2004 and accepted in March 2004.
Why did you need to invest in your testing and measuring systems?
Mr. Kühn: The idea was to generally automate the testing processes in this area and replace manual testing procedures. The reasons for this were: The required testing performance was not ensured by the personnel available. In the endeavour to meet our high quality requirements, test times were sometimes extensive. Analysis of the cause provided no or only inaccurate information due to a lack of QA data.
Why did you decide for the AQIs solution and against other solutions?
Mr. Schmid: The modular structure of AQIs was and is the optimal solution to our often rapidly changing requirements. This initially starts with the hardware and software and continues through to testing and related control. Most important to us, of course, was that AQIs was compatible with our existing and partly in-house developed soft and hardware, user-friendly and self-explanatory following brief instruction.
Mr. Kühn: AQIs or IGH Automation was able to guarantee that all individual and total tests were precisely documented and always repeated under the same conditions.
What did you want to achieve with the investment?
Mr. Kühn: We wanted to substantially improve the quality of our testing procedures independent of employed test personnel. We wanted to reduce the time required also for extended testing processes, and, as already mentioned: That the tests are always reproducible and automatically documented.
Which of your objectives were achieved thanks to the AQIs solution and which were not?
Mr. Schmid: These objectives – saving time, reproducibility and documentation – were achieved with AQIs to our complete satisfaction. The system is also maintained by remote maintenance, which is highly beneficial to our production process. There was virtually nothing that could not have been achieved, because the experts of IGH Automation were able to find the right solution to every problem. And, AQIs is very flexible due to its extensive parameterisation options. We were also very impressed when our employees connected test objects to the test stand for the first time and defined a relevant test plan and scope of inspection. We would never have thought that this would go so smoothly.
Mr. Kühn: We now have the advantage of being able to retrieve all data and evaluations from our production from an office workstation. As far as saving time is concerned: We were able to save about 70% of test time. Previously, two testers needed seven hours to test a device. Now, one tester does this in four hours.