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Lean training: A new campus for the CETPM

2017 proved a particularly eventful year for the CETPM, an institute at Ansbach University of Applied Sciences, with a new campus building opened in a very short space of time.  

The CETPM, located in the town of Herrieden, Germany, has been the No. 1 destination for lean training courses and events focused on operational excellence and process optimisation since 2005. The institute aims to support experienced industry employees who are eager to learn how they can make processes in their businesses even better. To achieve its aims, the CETPM offers a wide range of seminars, workshops and publications, including a Karakuri seminar with our lean expert Stefan Armbruster. The spacious facilities at the new campus in Herrieden provide the perfect environment for teaching and learning.

Don’t lose hope, take the initiative!

The CETPM was previously situated in rented buildings. However, the landlord’s plans changed and the institute had to move out. Looking back, Professor Constantin May, Academic Director of the CETPM, rightfully refers to a “time-critical situation” for the institute, which is renowned for its lean training courses. Staff didn’t let the situation get them down though, and the end result was anything but a “needs-must” solution. The outcome of four months of planning and ten months of construction was a completely new campus building.

Comprising a total of eight seminar rooms, the CETPM houses 190 staff and students. It also has its own manufacturing workshop – a unique feature for a (lean) training institute – where course participants receive first-hand instruction in lean production in a teaching factory. In fact, the CETPM has been working closely with item in precisely this field since 2011. “We are leaders in lean management and item is a leading company in work bench design – it’s a great match,” says May. Amongst other things, students at the teaching factory must learn how to design an assembly cell based on lean principles. Until recently, however, there was one big problem. The expertly crafted constructions had to be dismantled at the end, meaning visitors to the CETPM never got the chance to see the ideal solutions in all their glory. At the new campus, however, there is now enough space to display an optimum example of an item assembly cell.

Karakuri meets Industry 4.0 – how lean training courses should be

The assembly cell is located in the “Lean 4.0 lab”, the highlight of the newly constructed building complex. At the heart of the cell is a Karakuri solution from item, which the company helped create with the item MB Building Kit System. Karakuri is often referred to as low-cost automation or simple automation and is a form of automation that doesn’t use electrical drives or sensors. “It’s about solving automation problems not with money and high-tech, but with the intelligent ideas of on-site workers – that’s Karakuri,” says May, neatly summing up the underlying principle. A tablet-based order management system is also used in the cell. Each work bench has its own tablet to register working steps and take photos or videos of any problems.

The photos and videos are then sent to the team leader. This equipment is supplemented by a material supply system using low-cost AGV (automated guided vehicles), which means materials can be moved quickly and easily from the warehouse to the assembly cell. This smart interlinking of simple automation and digital technology is rounded off with 3D printers, which supply the assembly cells with customer-specific attachments. “Digitisation isn’t as simple as blindly using any type of software or hardware. The first step always needs to be process optimisation. Only once that is done do digital elements really make sense,” concludes May.

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