KSB reduces training time by 75% through in-house production with Smart Klaus

Greater flexibility, productivity and increased competitiveness for KSB

With in-house production, companies become more flexible, can drive innovation and thus achieve long-term competitive advantages. This is something that KSB, a leading manufacturer of pumps and valves, has experienced in practice.

As part of the new launch of the EtaLinePro product line, the company, which is based in the south-western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, is switching to in-house production in an innovative way – and no product is a better fit for this than Smart Klaus.

Smart Klaus makes it possible

During the new launch of the EtaLinePro production line and the changeover to in-house production, the search began for an assistance system that would enable the employees to handle the complex assembly of the frequency converters independently and without errors. The decision was ultimately made in favour of Smart Klaus.

Before the worker assistance system moved into KSB's production halls, the frequency converters were being delivered by external companies already fully assembled. Then these only had to be screwed onto the pumps by the employees.

The camera-based worker assistance system guides workers step by step through digital work instructions and provides feedback in real time. If errors occur, the system points them out and the process cannot be continued until all errors have been rectified. This means that even untrained employees can now take on the newly added pre-assembly of electronic components.

But experienced employees also benefit from the system. Production manager Daniel Mahn tells us: “We specifically chose Smart Klaus because it is a system that works in the background. Experienced employees do not have the bother of having to confirm every step manually. You don’t need to keep stopping during assembly work because (the system) only alerts you if something is not right.”

Training time reduced by 75%

The camera-based assistance system supports employees both in the training phase and in the introduction of new processes, such as in this case with the assembly of frequency converters.

Before the introduction of the worker assistance system, the training phase for new colleagues at KSB took about one month. They were initially shadowed by experienced staff before they were able to work independently. This resulted in capacity issues due to the time needed for supervision.

With Smart Klaus, that has all changed. After a one-to-one supervision period of just one week or so, the new employees are now able to carry out these assembly processes independently. Smart Klaus assists them in this and ensures the quality of the work steps.

From the point of view of the workers, such as industrial mechanic Elvan Elbay, Smart Klaus is very positively received because “compared to conventional workplaces, the induction phase is much shorter and with significantly fewer mistakes thanks to Smart Klaus supervising the work.”

Innovative ways of designing a new workstation

“We broke new ground in designing the workstation for the EtaLinePro,” says Ilja Braxmeier, Team Leader at KSB in Frankenthal. The special feature of the new in-house production is the simultaneous development of the product and the production processes. By developing these in parallel, both product planning and process planning have had a mutual influence on one another..

Before the optimal workstation was built, the employees first tested it extensively in a virtual production environment and then on a cardboard version. This gave colleagues a better understanding of how to carry out individual work steps and made it easier to determine certain requirements, such as how much space would be needed on the line.

With Smart Klaus being customisable to suit individual needs, it was possible to integrate the system without any issues, despite the dynamic requirements.

Worker assistance, an essential tool at KSB

Seamless integration, which is also aided by networking with the corporate manufacturing execution system (MES), is achieved through the individual and dynamic customisation options available for Smart Klaus as well as KSB’s willingness to embrace innovation. This enables employees to work smoothly, which ensures increased productivity and effectiveness. This production line is therefore part of the lean process chain, from supplier to delivery.

With this innovative approach, KSB SE & Co. KG is taking another step towards advancement, sustainability and digitalisation.