With the help of our cooperation partners we can connect teaching and its application in the business world. The different projects want to contribute to students getting a direct relation to reality. For this, we work closely with different partners.

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Project Head: Jan Senner

As a part of the Internet-of-Things technology, the term Industry 4.0 or Smart Factory represents the fourth industrial revolution and describes the comprehensive digitalization of industrial production.
Central aspects are the "Top Floor to Shop Floor" as well as the "Shop Floor to Top Floor" concept in which a bidirectional integration of the so-called end-to-end business processes between the ERP level and the production level is achieved.
During a project seminar, the ERP/SAP Lab in collaboration with the c-factory project team around Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bunsen was able to make a first draft for implementing a smart factory. The students were able to identify and document the most important business processes and master data for connecting the c-factory with an SAP ERP system. For the next step, the objects required for the c-factory’s manufacturing environment (shop floor) were modelled in the SAP ERP as master data, such as work stations, cost centres, activities, etc.  The c-factory’s product, a model pickup truck, its individual assemblies and components were captured in the SAP ERP with the help of different materials and parts lists as well as the corresponding routing. A particular challenge has been the number of different variants possible for the configuration of the Pickup. Finally, the c-factory’s business processes in the areas of material management, sales, and manufacturing have been implemented and tested. In the final project phase, important integration points with an connection concepts could be worked out.
With this project seminar a good step could be made for the c-factory project together with the ERP/SAP laboratory towards industry 4.0 implementation with SAP ERP. And there will be more...

No matter whether in supply chains of food industries or during the use of medical devices - there is always considerable potential to use sensors and digital integration of the collected data; but especially in life science industries, the advantages are obvious. Less spoiled food, higher machine availability, etc. 

To visualize this potential for customers, YES GmbH - a provider of IT solutions for Microsoft environments - uses showcases. One of these was developed together with the ERP Lab at FHWS. In the course of the showcase, which refers to the life science industry, data from temperature and rotation sensors were first collected, extracted and then sent to the cloud platform Microsoft Azure. There, all data was analysed and saved. If data analysis leads to the detection of a problem, an individually programmed web service automatically triggers an action in the Microsoft ERP system. With the help of this example environment, it is possible to illustrate the opportunities and potentials of the use of sensor technology. 

During the student exchange with Auburn University (Alabama, USA), five students were assigned the task to develop an IoT environment (Internet of Things) in cooperation with YAVEON, a provider of the ERP system Microsoft Navision. This generally means networking things of all kinds into a universal network.

In this case, Raspberry Pi should be used to read in measurement data from various sensors. Data should then be saved in a cloud and processed by Power Bi, a tool for cloud-based data analysis. In the last step, evaluated data should be forwarded to the Microsoft ERP system NAV.

The feedback of the evaluated data to the Raspberry Pi was then optional, so that an automatic correction could take place if necessary.

The project seminar was supervised by Prof. Dr. Marcus Schulz. Exchange students were looked after by Prof. Dr. Elke Stadelmann. In order to not leave the students alone, the got support not only from YAVEON, but also from the ERP Lab.

Students worked on the project for six weeks and spent most of the time in the ERP Lab.

The result was then presented in the form of exhibition stands at FHWS.

For more information, please refer to the press release about the Auburn exchange programme.

Some impressions of the cooperation are shown in the Youtube video about the Auburn University, Germany Summer Program

Interim presentation Auburn projectStudents from Auburn during project workFinal presentation Auburn project

Under the project title “CAD/ERP integration - an important element in todays world of business processes”, the integration of CAD into ERP was realised in cooperation with QBUILD Software.

The project consisted of the conception, implementation and documentation of the CAD integration and ended with the development of a test scenario based on the installation; the test scenario covered all basic processes - from the developed CAD model to the ERP integration. 

Using the live system, it was illustrated how a close coupling of an CAD system with an ERP system can be realised with the help of an integration platform. At the same time, the integration platform used was open for other ERP systems, for example

  • Oracle,
  • Sage,
  • SAP,
  • Microsoft AX,
  • Nav,
  • PLEX,

and coupled those with CAD development environments, such as

  • CATIA,
  • AutoCAD,
  • Inventor, 
  • Pro-E,
  • Creo,
  • Solid Edge,
  • NX,
  • Mentor Graphics,
  • Altium Designer.

The Formula Student is an international design competition in which student motorsport teams from all over the world compete in designing and producing single-seater racing cars.

In the context of this design competition, the potential of an ERP system had to be exploited in order to enable faster and well-founded decisions with regard to capacity utilization, deadlines and costs. This means that the racing car had to be mapped within an ERP system taking business as well as engineering aspects into account.

An Enterprise Resource Planning system is generally used to map all ongoing business processes and thus covers almos all operational areas, such as

  • procurement,
  • manufacturing/production, 
  • sales,
  • logistics,
  • human resources and
  • Finance and accounting.

Therefore, the aim of using an ERP system is the efficient and transparent creation and control of business processes; this enables quicker, up-to-date and flexible access to business data as the single source of truth.

In an analogous way to this, an ERP system was implemented after the analysis and conception and successfully used during the competition for production planning and cost calculation (planned & actual).

Due to the low adaptability of the ERP systems available on the market and the unreasonably high costs in relation to the usable performance, the supported company (Boockman Engineering GmbH) had so far used an in-house developed software solution, the core of which was based on an outdated framework.

In the past, this solution had stood the test, but was to be replaced due to lack of compatibility and technical support.

The initial goal of the project was therefore the pro-typical mapping of the existing corporate structure and processes in a flexible ERP solution that had proven its worth on the market and the subsequent switch to this solution validated by use cases.

During the project, an empirical study was conducted which gathered and analysed the market penetration of ERP systems and the cost and benefit structure for the economic region of Mainfranken.

Data was collected by asking the management of companies about their use, the costs and benefits of corporate ERP systems; collected data then served as the basis for drawing conclusions about the satisfaction with ERP systems.

The study was carried out in the form of a primary data collection. For this, a scientific questionnaire was compiled and interviews were conducted on its basis.

The use of mobile barcoding solutions in ERP environments increases the productivity in companies.

Today, about 80 % of all articles have barcodes. These barcodes are scanner-readable in the format of the 8- or 13-digit European Article Number (EAN). This number facilitates logistics, not only for the manufacturer, but also for the distributors.

Using mobile barcoding solutions instead of managing everything manually has obvious advantages for manufacturing companies. Data is collected via mobile device directly at the work piece and the digital reading process is quicker than the human eye. At the same time, there is a much lower error rate.

The projects comprised analysis and integration of the barcoding framework RF+ by Portable Intelligence (Canada) in the environment of an Infor-ERP-solution. Technically, the next implementation was based on a WiFi-enabled mobile device from Motorola.  

Business processes are the core of a company. They define the capacity, flexibility and agility with which companies compete against their competitors on the market.

Recording and managing of business processes makes it possible to identify, eliminate or substitute possible weaknesses by more efficient processes to make the company stronger. A detailed analysis and documentation of corporate processes is also the basis for the software choice and adaption of ERP systems.

During the project, the after sales processes of a medium-sized company (hidden champion in the field of high-pressure water jet systems) were visualised and analysed with the help of the modelling methods SOM und BMPN; furthermore, the optimization potential regarding an increase in customer satisfaction as well as profitability was illustrated.

Based on a detailed process analysis, the processes in the field of maintenance were investigated with the aim of creating transparency and increasing efficiency.

As their business application system, the large manufacturer (BSH) used the ERP solution from SAP AG which was the central system for data retention as well as automation and controlling of business processes, for example in the field of order processing and production planning. 

In the field of maintenance, the situation was that due to the required corporate flexibility planning and monitoring of maintenance orders (17,000 per annum!) was based on a third-party-tool (Excel); though this led to higher flexibility, it also resulted in double data storage, lack of transparency and increased effort for data synchronization due to the use of manual and automated interfaces.

A process and data driven suggestion for optimizing maintenance processes was developed by taking into consideration “thinking lean” and the existing IT infrastructure.

The producing, medium-sized company Hummel Plastic GmbH planned introducing a new ERP system as the central system for controlling business processes.

In addition to the traditional tasks of enterprise resource planning, the integrated ERP system should in particular electronically support production planning and quality management.

The system was to be introduced as soon and as economically as possible.

As the basis for selecting a new ERP system, a situation analysis was done for the company active in the field of plastic injection moulded parts; then a target concept was derived from it and a prototypical implementation was prepared as test case.

The project also comprised project planning and documentation.



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