Many tools are re-sharpened and re-coated to make production as cost-efficient as possible and to use raw materials sustainably. During this reconditioning process, the tool passes through several stages, which are usually carried out by different companies. Tools are recorded several times to allow the processing of orders and to enable them to be assigned accordingly. This procedure is very complex for everyone involved – from the machine operators to the staff members carrying out the re-sharpening and coating. Physical product cards accompany the orders throughout the entire process chain. If a staff member responsible for re-sharpening sends a tool for coating, this staff member is often not aware of corresponding order status. This results in frequent queries. Neither tool users nor the coating and re-sharpening staff have an oversight of how many times the tool has been re-sharpened or coated in the past. In some cases, the number of re-sharpening processes is simply marked on the tool shank. Overall, the total benefit is reduced by the very high investment of time and effort required.
In cooperation with Oerlikon Balzers, c-Com has developed an application that enables significantly more effective and transparent order processing. The prototype was showcased at EMO Hannover. The only prerequisite to benefitting from the advantages of digital processing for coating is identifying all tools with a unique ID.
The c-Com application exchanges data with the myBalzers customer portal run by Oerlikon Balzers. This way, the entire order process is digitalised, and all receipts are available online. It is easy to share documents such as delivery slips, invoices or order confirmations, and the status of each coating order can be viewed in real time. There is no longer a need to ask for order updates – a quick glance at the application provides the user with all the information they need.
The speed of the overall order process is also increased as the recorded data is made available for all successive steps. Tools are returned from reconditioning after a shorter period of time. As a result of significantly reducing the manual data input, the process is no longer as susceptible to errors.
On top of that, machine operators have access to all the important information about their tool at all times. Thanks to the collaborative approach by c-Com, they can access all data via the cloud. They know how many times their tool has been re-sharpened and are provided with comprehensive information on the coating. This data is extremely useful for the optimisation of processes. If the tool’s performance drops, the cause of any issues can be established and resolved much more quickly.
Involving coating staff significantly enhances the networking of the entire supply chain and serves transparency. This is one of c-Com’s key objectives for the open cloud platform.