Automation Manufacturing Software
Automation Logo

Smart Automation: STIWA expands its product portfolio

In June 2023, the new "Smart Automation" line for the future production of Hapticore in Gampern - will start operations. With this new and cost-efficient automation solution for lower volumes, STIWA Automation is exploring new paths and expanding its product portfolio beyond high-performance automation.

Smart Automation: STIWA expands its product portfolio

In June 2023, the new "Smart Automation" line for the future production of Hapticore in Gampern - will start operations. With this new and cost-efficient automation solution for lower volumes, STIWA Automation is exploring new paths and expanding its product portfolio beyond high-performance automation.

"Flexibility and cost efficiency" - these are the first two key terms that come to STIWA Automation Managing Director Michael Fuchshuber's mind when asked about the trends and future requirements in mechanical engineering. "It is a fact that long-term forecasts have become more and more unreliable over the past few years. Many companies are finding it difficult to estimate how products will evolve, which volumes to expect in the medium term, or whether products will change," Fuchshuber explains. As a result, it is essential to keep start-up costs as low as possible and to invest in high-performance automation only at a later stage.

Portfolio expansion
This is why STIWA has been receiving an increasing number of customer requests for automation solutions aiming at lower volumes of up to one million pieces and with cycle times of up to 15 seconds. "With more than 50 years of know-how in high-performance automation, our focus has been on high-performance systems with low cycle times and high production volumes. This is our core competence when it comes to future automation projects for our regular customers, and it is also our focus when trying to acquire new customers. Nevertheless, for quite some time now we have also been looking into possibilities to expand our automation portfolio to include high-quality, but more cost-effective automation solutions," Fuchshuber explains.

Standard Performance
It all started in 2020: our "Standard Performance" project delivered systems and components with cycle times from ten to 60 seconds. As the fast transport of parts was no longer necessary due to the improved cycle times, the basic systems on three steering gear systems could be replaced with more cost-effective robot lines which also operate manual workstations. The first unit has already been delivered to a long-standing customer in Hungary, while two more systems are currently in the commissioning phase.

Smart Automation
"Smart Automation" is the next step in the evolution of this approach: staying on the well-proven path of standardization, the aim was to develop the most flexible, cost-efficient and future-oriented automation solutions possible. "We deliberately chose a disruptive approach, without any specifications, barriers or taboos," says Fuchshuber. The goal was to use less hardware through the increased use of software and AI, new technologies such as additive manufacturing, and to implement organizational changes such as smaller but more universally deployable project teams. 

First SA line in Gampern
The first prototype of our new concept is the Smart Automation line for STIWA Advanced Products, which was designed in June 2022 and is currently being set up in Gampern, to be commissioned within the next few weeks. This joint project between STIWA Automation and STIWA Advanced Products will produce the "Core", which will later be installed in gaming mice developed by computer device manufacturer Razer to provide freely programmable, haptic feedback for the scroll wheel. "The Core system is the perfect prototype," Andreas Baldinger (A PR 2), who is responsible for the technical implementation of the system together with his team, confirms. The clear requirement of STIWA Advanced Products was to develop a cost-efficient and flexible start-up automation solution for small volumes. This new family of products will be expanded or transformed in the future. "This is why we need a transformable assembly automation system, i.e. one system for all future Core products. Implementing the smart automation approach was therefore absolutely crucial. Provided that the volumes for Core increase, which we of course assume, we see promising potential to move into high-performance automation," Josef Brandmayr, STIWA Advanced Products Managing Director, adds.

Software replacing Hardware

Also in software, we are pursuing new approaches: STIWA's development departments are currently exploring the possibility to replace cost-intensive hardware such as plant protection with programmable systems. "New systems are able to detect, for example, whether objects are approaching based on the transit time of the emitted and received light. The structure which needs to be protected can thus be trained in advance as to when and at what speed foreign objects are approaching, upon which the system automatically slows or shuts down the unit if necessary," Baldinger explains. Looking ahead, the company is also focusing intensively on a new software platform, whichallows all systems of a unit to be controlled via the same user interface. "We aim to and will continue to set milestones in this area over the next few years," says Fuchshuber.

Quick Contact