|   St. Johann-Lonsingen   |  Germany

Prefabrication - Utilizing potential

Interview with Hansbert Ott, Managing Director of WEINMANN, about the advantages of prefabrication and the factors you have to take care about.

Mr. Ott, what opportunities does industrial production offer a company which, like Blumer-Lehman AG, focuses heavily on multi-story construction?

Ott: "In this area, prefabrication is generally essential because it allows assembly times to be drastically reduced. On one hand, machines offer the advantage of consistent quality at a very high level. Think about the precise nailing of the planking material, with clearly defined attachment points and distances — in multi-story construction, this is a vitally important topic, which is why the automatic process can also be documented.
On the other hand, I have to think the building through to the end as early as the work preparation stage, including materials for the installation so that the position of these materials can also be planned. The quantities can be read out precisely at any time: Additional demand, lines damaged during interior fitting or cement supports weakened by pipes and slots are no longer an issue with timber construction."

With regard to multi-story construction, do you also see potential there for reducing production costs?

Ott: "This potential does of course exist. Just think about standardizing the same components in the different stories. The most important concern here is how to thoroughly exhaust such potential. To do this, you need modules and standards, in the area of installation for example. From the perspective of timber construction companies, the technology can be standardized extensively behind the scenes, even if the individual bathrooms look very different later on.
For the installation of lines and pipes, we can create the solutions (which are already extensively standardized) as a macro in the work preparation step and copy them into the wall. A similar process is also possible in production if you use the appropriate ready-to-use components from the plumber or electrician — ideally as a complete plumbing wall. There is potential here that is not yet being utilized in many companies... "

What can a company do to make better use of this potential?

Ott: "Changing from manual to automatic production is a radical change process. Anyone who doesn't manage to make their employees enthusiastic about this process — for example, by not involving them in the change — may experience that the multifunction bridge merely nails planking. Everything else will remain the same."

The first step there-fore is to firmly anchor the new technology in the company...

Ott: "Precisely. Once it is there, everyone is called upon to be involved in constantly optimizing it. For example, a work preparation employee can make frame production easier by applying markings during beam processing. This improves the cycle in the entire system because the manual frame production stage is generally one of the bottle-necks. 
The employees at the table can improve the material flows, management can set up regular optimization workshops in which everyone can make suggestions for improvements, and much more... In the end, the system will be able to do much more and everyone will be working much more comfortably with op-timized processes."
 
Mr. Ott, what opportunities does industrial production offer a company which, like Blumer-Lehman AG, focuses heavily on multi-story construction?

Ott: "In this area, prefabrication is generally essential because it allows assembly times to be drastically reduced. On one hand, machines offer the advantage of consistent quality at a very high level. Think about the precise nailing of the planking material, with clearly defined attachment points and distances — in multi-story construction, this is a vitally important topic, which is why the automatic process can also be documented.
On the other hand, I have to think the building through to the end as early as the work preparation stage, including materials for the installation so that the position of these materials can also be planned. The quantities can be read out precisely at any time: Additional demand, lines damaged during interior fitting or cement supports weakened by pipes and slots are no longer an issue with timber construction."

With regard to multi-story construction, do you also see potential there for reducing production costs?

Ott: "This potential does of course exist. Just think about standardizing the same components in the different stories. The most important concern here is how to thoroughly exhaust such potential. To do this, you need modules and standards, in the area of installation for example. From the perspective of timber construction companies, the technology can be standardized extensively behind the scenes, even if the individual bathrooms look very different later on.
For the installation of lines and pipes, we can create the solutions (which are already extensively standardized) as a macro in the work preparation step and copy them into the wall. A similar process is also possible in production if you use the appropriate ready-to-use components from the plumber or electrician — ideally as a complete plumbing wall. There is potential here that is not yet being utilized in many companies... "

What can a company do to make better use of this potential?

Ott: "Changing from manual to automatic production is a radical change process. Anyone who doesn't manage to make their employees enthusiastic about this process — for example, by not involving them in the change — may experience that the multifunction bridge merely nails planking. Everything else will remain the same."

The first step there-fore is to firmly anchor the new technology in the company...

Ott: "Precisely. Once it is there, everyone is called upon to be involved in constantly optimizing it. For example, a work preparation employee can make frame production easier by applying markings during beam processing. This improves the cycle in the entire system because the manual frame production stage is generally one of the bottle-necks. 
The employees at the table can improve the material flows, management can set up regular optimization workshops in which everyone can make suggestions for improvements, and much more... In the end, the system will be able to do much more and everyone will be working much more comfortably with op-timized processes."
 

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