GEBHARDT Logistic Solutions: Setting new standards with automation

Producing customised products profitably, even in small batch sizes, is challenging and can only be achieved through automated and consistent processes. GEBHARDT Logistic Solutions is successful in this – thanks to integrated Solidworks® extensions from Tacton® Systems and software made by Lino®.

With high product quality and a deep understanding of its customers’ needs, GEBHARDT develops flexible logistics solutions that ensure that goods are transported and stored safely in many industries. Thermal containers and other products with high standardisation potential are manufactured in large quantities. At the same time, they must be customised to the respective refrigerated goods and individual customer requirements.

Previously, the back office transferred the information and equipment features collected by the field service to the ERP system and a specification sheet. This includes container volumes, shelves and temperature limits as well as thermometers, rollers, RFID tags and other equipment features. The design department then selected the appropriate model group, defined details and created 3D models and 2D drawings for customers and production.

The result: system breaks, an ‘information ping-pong’ between those involved and semi-manual calculations in Excel. This approach made it difficult to implement customised solutions economically, was error-prone and time-consuming. The design of a container model in Solidworks alone took up to four net hours, as even similar products had to be constantly redrawn – and it was not uncommon for a week to pass before the finished quotation was available. One reason for this was that each order was treated as an individual project with little standardisation.

Integrated and automated IT processes, with Solidworks at the centre, were needed to relieve the design department and simplify the calculation. In Tacton® Configurator, GEBHARDT found the right sales configurator (CPQ) to bring customers closer to the product; in Tacton Design Automation, a design automation system that speeds up work and eliminates sources of error. And in Lino GmbH, they found an IT partner with enormous Tacton expertise, who also provides valuable add-ons for integration.

Since then, the new solutions and their standardised set of rules have ensured that product configurations are automated and error-free. The Lino® 3D web add-on ensures state-of-the-art online 3D visualisation. In the design process, Tacton Design Automation also accesses the set of rules and creates automated design processes. This gives GEBHARDT consistent processes and the technological basis for far-reaching standardisation.

This is what it looks like in practice: Sales uses a guided 3D configuration (at the customer’s premises or by telephone) – including master data, equipment, data sheets, sketches and appealing 3D visualisation. The design department, in turn, can automatically transfer all configuration data to Tacton Design Automation and save or modify finished models or drawings in the PDM system using Lino® PDM pro. Internally, the prices are fixed just a few hours after the requirements have been recorded – and a customised quotation with drawings can be sent to the customer on the same day. In the design department, automation also frees up up to 75 per cent of capacity, which GEBHARDT uses for additional orders and new models.

Learn more about the GEBHARDT project in our detailed Case Study.