Founded in 1951, Maschinenfabrik NIEHOFF GmbH & CO. KG has had a decisive influence on the development of the wire and cable industry. The first multi-wire drawing machine, equipment for inline cable production or a reusable packaging system are just some of the milestones the company has achieved. Continuous research and development in close partnership with the cable industry have made NIEHOFF the global market leader, with investments, for example, in technology and infrastructure, intended to also secure this position in the future.
Revolution in electrical design
Markus Raab, Head of Electrical Design, describes one of these investments as a real revolution: the database-driven platform - Engineering Base (EB) - from AUCOTEC. This not only allows you to store graphic symbols in the system as in the past, but also to store the plant objects themselves, for example, devices or connections, as well as structuring objects such as locations and functions. "This is similar to the move from 2-D to 3-D design," explained Raab. According to him, the fact that all disciplines work with a common database is also revolutionary. „The engineering quality has increased significantly. The central server saves time spent on consultation, duplicate entries and sources of error.“
EB's link to SAP also achieved significant error minimization, thus saving time. "In the past, circuit diagrams were created in electrical design while BOMs for cabinets, machine installation and cabling were manually developed in SAP at the same time. This was very laborious," said Raab. BOMs are now transferred directly to SAP on an order-related basis. "This ensures that the data is the same in both systems," he explained. New materials created in SAP are automatically exported to EB.
Production also benefits from automated data output, for example, device labels, directly from EB to the printers. In addition, test station employees and sales consultants have the same data quality as all others because EB's viewer shows the current original data.
The flexibility and freedom provided by EB not only allow everyone involved to have simultaneous, cross-disciplinary access to all project information. They are also free to choose their specific approach when designing, whether graphically or alphanumerically. In addition, EB's openness ensures easy connectivity options to other external systems such as NIEHOFF's ECM tool. "With EB, we can finally design in an integrated manner and are well equipped for the future," concluded Markus Raab after the initial years of practical experience.