Future with (in) sys­tem

COMPLETE line means much more than a grou­ping of ter­mi­nal blocks and tech­no­lo­gy. The com­ple­te con­nec­tion tech­no­lo­gy solu­ti­on can be a buil­ding block for suc­cess­ful­ly coping with demo­gra­phic chan­ge in an ent­i­re indus­try.

Bernd Nagu­schew­ski

It’s pos­si­ble to look at the COMPLETE line con­cept pure­ly from its tech­ni­cal side. The immense pro­duct port­fo­lio, which has every desi­re of a con­trol cabi­net manu­fac­tu­rer in mind when it comes to con­nec­ting, sup­ply­ing and pro­tec­ting, swit­ching and dis­con­nec­ting, moni­to­ring, auto­ma­ting, and com­mu­ni­ca­ting, is typi­cal for Phoe­nix Con­tact.
Then there’s plan­ning soft­ware and custom­ma­de pro­duc­ts, opti­mi­zed pro­ces­ses, and con­sul­ting ser­vices, which round out the tech­ni­cal ran­ge.

But COMPLETE line can also be view­ed in a com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent way. Like how Bernd Nagu­schew­ski sees it. The trai­ned mecha­ni­cal engi­neer and pro­duc­tion tech­ni­ci­an is of the opi­ni­on that the COMPLETE line ran­ge has a com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent direc­tion of impact. It could also cushion the shor­ta­ge of skil­led workers, which is beco­m­ing increa­singly noti­ce­ab­le in con­trol cabi­net manu­fac­tu­ring.

Gray makes you smart

Bernd Nagu­schew­ski has been active at Phoe­nix Con­tact sin­ce 1991. He knows the world of ter­mi­nal blocks and their natu­ral habi­tat, the con­trol cabi­net, insi­de out. He is also wel­lac­quain­ted with almost all pos­si­ble app­li­ca­ti­ons and the needs of his custo­mers. So it’s no won­der that he’s been invol­ved in
the COMPLETE line pro­gram from its very begin­ning. “About four years ago, we star­ted to deve­lop a com­ple­te solu­ti­on from indi­vi­du­al are­as of app­li­ca­ti­on. The goal was and still is to crea­te a uni­form pro­duct port­fo­lio that has uni­form fea­tures and, above all, fea­tures pro­duc­ts that are ide­al­ly matched in terms of func­tio­n­a­li­ty.”

The com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on capa­bi­li­ty of the huge hard­ware pro­gram in par­ti­cu­lar pre­sen­ted the deve­lo­pers with a num­ber of chal­len­ges at first. The star­ting point was the Clipli­ne com­ple­te ter­mi­nal block sys­tem, which ran­ges from ter­mi­nal blocks with a wide varie­ty of con­nec­tion tech­no­lo­gies and func­tio­n­a­li­ties through to a stan­dar­di­zed port­fo­lio of access­ories. Brid­ges, plugs, con­nec­ting ele­ments, test adap­ters — “This clo­sed sys­tem alo­ne is alrea­dy uni­que.

With COMPLETE line, we have achie­ved a level of inte­gra­ti­on that makes us unri­val­led,” says Bernd Nagu­schew­ski with con­fi­dence. “This inclu­des pure con­nec­tion tech­no­lo­gy, digi­tal rep­re­sen­ta­ti­on in the plan­ning soft­ware, to con­fi­gu­ra­ti­on plan­ning and design, and pro­ces­sing and assem­bly.”

In the begin­ning, the uni­form appearan­ce of the com­pon­ents didn’t go undis­cus­sed. “Some peop­le are still deman­ding the typi­cal green of old-school con­trol cabi­net com­pon­ents,” the prac­ti­tio­ner says with a smi­le, “but nowa­days the gray used is the stan­dard, and the func­tio­n­al ope­ra­ting ele­ments are oran­ge. Of cour­se, the safe­ty com­pon­ents retain their ori­gi­nal yel­low colour. And pro­tec­tive groun­ding is still green-yel­low.”

More than just a ter­mi­nal block

Merely rede­si­gning and coor­di­na­ting the com­pon­ents, howe­ver, was not enough. “We also took a clo­se look at the pro­ces­ses and loo­ked over our custo­mers’ shoul­ders, so to speak.” COMPLETE line the­re­fo­re also inclu­des its own worker assi­s­tan­ce sys­tems, both auto­ma­ted and on manu­al work­sta­tions. “With this sys­tem, we are respon­ding to the needs of today’s medi­um-sized con­trol cabi­net manu­fac­tu­rers.”

COMPLETE line accom­pa­nies and faci­li­ta­tes inco­m­ing order pro­ces­sing. This begins with purcha­sing, whe­re digi­tal data­sets are lin­ked with com­mer­ci­al soft­ware, then con­ti­nues on to plan­ning tools in deve­lop­ment which allow the necessa­ry com­pon­ents to be pre-assem­bled, and ends with imple­men­ta­ti­on at the work­bench. “It’s all about making the con­trol cabi­net manufacturer’s life easier.”

When the pro­duc­tion tech­ni­ci­an visits one of “his” con­trol cabi­net manu­fac­tu­rers, it’s no lon­ger just to dis­cuss indi­vi­du­al com­pon­ents, but to pro­vi­de com­pre­hen­si­ve advice. “We know exac­t­ly what dif­fi­cul­ties our custo­mers are facing. And the lack of trai­ned spe­cia­lists is cur­r­ent­ly right up the­re.” The more clear visu­als and intel­li­gent sys­tems sim­pli­fy the instal­la­ti­on work, the more likely it beco­mes that the demo­gra­phic chan­ge can be absor­bed wit­hin the field of con­trol cabi­net manu­fac­tu­ring.

(Almost) ever­yo­ne can do that

It would be gre­at to be a spe­cia­list in the field of elec­tro­nics today. They have their choice of jobs,” Nagu­schew­ski says with a smi­le, but then adds in a serious tone, “It is sim­ply the rea­li­ty that the num­ber of employees qua­li­fied in assem­bly is not increa­sing. The­re­fo­re, our worker assi­s­tan­ce sys­tems are making the work easier and redu­cing the error rates.”

When the long­time con­sul­tant visits a custo­mer, the topic of COMPLETE line is not about indi­vi­du­al pro­duc­ts, but about the pro­ces­ses on site. Bernd Nagu­schew­ski exp­lains. “First of all, I need to know if con­sul­tan­cy is the only thing that’s nee­ded. Or does it invol­ve worker assi­s­tan­ce? I then make a second visit with one of our Lean Mana­gers, sup­por­ted by a pro­duc­tion logisti­ci­an and, if necessa­ry, a work­sta­tion sys­tem deve­lo­per as well.”

The­se experts ana­ly­ze exac­t­ly whe­re the poten­ti­al impro­ve­ments are hid­den in the custo­mer pro­ces­ses. “Why, for examp­le, are the cable duc­ts not assem­bled whe­re they are moun­ted on the moun­ting pla­te? Or why isn’t the test field direc­t­ly at Out­go­ing Goods?” Often, the things that hin­der the pro­duc­tion pro­cess are tri­vi­al, but are no lon­ger seen at all becau­se they have grown his­to­ri­cal­ly.

In the­se cases, the solu­ti­ons are imple­men­ted quick­ly. “We also deve­lop com­ple­te work­sta­tion sys­tems for our custo­mers, inclu­ding mar­king, packa­ging, and order picking. This is how we real­ly ‘com­ple­te’ the topic of con­trol cabi­nets.”

Phoe­nix Con­tact COMPLETE line

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