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Lenze invests in development site and logistic center

Lenze laid the foundation in late 2018 for its Mechatronic Competence Campus (MCC) in Extertal, Germany.

Mechatronic Competence Campus (MCC), Extertal, Germany
Mechatronic Competence Campus (MCC), Extertal, Germany

The ultra-modern development and production site in North Rhine-Westphalia is the largest single investment in the 70-year history of the company at a cost of approximately $57 million. The new facility covers approximately 81,000 sq ft, with a total of nearly 323,000 sq ft of space available on the campus for development, production, service and storage. Approximately 800 employees, who are currently spread over three separate locations in Extertal, will work here when the final phase is completed.

"With the MCC, we are not only creating one of the most ground-breaking mechatronics production facilities in Germany, but above all an important reference project for the future of collaboration. In years to come, our employees in Extertal will come together in open-plan spaces to collaborate in agile, interdisciplinary teams, developing the best mechatronic solutions and services for our customers around the world,” said Christian Wendler, CEO of Lenze.

Lenze is particularly determined to improve collaboration – from brainstorming to product development, prototype construction and pilot series, through to series production – the various disciplines will be brought closer together. A central element of the development site is the technical center.

"This is where product managers, with close contact to sales and their knowledge of customer requirements, come together with the development team, the service staff, and the operations department. All these disciplines are of equal importance. We are ensuring that communication barriers are eliminated and that the various disciplines can work together more easily,” said Dr. Hans-Peter Mertens, managing director of Lenze Operations GmbH. For Lenze, the MCC is a crucial step towards harnessing greater innovation, improving the results of the accompanying process, and significantly shortening the time to market.

But there should also be significant improvements in production. "The latest automation technologies will be used here,” adds Dr. Mertens. Industry 4.0 will be reflected in practice at the MCC. Networking and control are redesigned from the ground up, based on an SAP environment. Driverless transport systems will be used in production itself, while a modern high-bay storage facility with space for more than 16,000 pallets and over 15,000 containers will be directly connected. Around 300 Lenze drives will be mounted in logistics.

Compared to the previous production processes, the changes will be dramatic. The make-to-order process, where finished products tailored to the customer's requirements are created from prefabricated elements, aims to be between 50 and 85 percent faster. In extreme cases, the throughput time will drop from 32 days to only five days because unnecessary material movements and idle times are eliminated. One hundred eighty-six miles of pallets per year will be saved in the future, and 10 percent less energy and 48 percent less space will be required.

"What we use here in production is not the Industry 4.0 of the future, but that of today: down-to-earth, practical and economically viable,” said Dr. Hans-Peter Mertens. “In this way, our connected production can also serve as a role model for our customers."

The digital and highly connected automation solutions in production not only speed up delivery,they also increase flexibility and will lead to new offerings in the product and service portfolio. "This, too, is an aspect that strengthens Lenze's future viability,” said Dr. Mertens. “After all, the campus also operates as a laboratory in which new innovations can be tested and improved, and then rolled out to other locations worldwide.”

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