One of the new and innovative buildings on the Wilo Campus is the ultramodern production complex – the Wilo Smart Factory. With the Smart Factory, Wilo is reinventing manufacturing. The new production concept provides for an optimised and digitalised value-creation chain with straight-line and flexible logistics and communications pathways.
What is the Wilo Smart Factory
The Smart Factory is one of four main buildings and blends harmoniously into the Wilo Campus. The building structure with a floor space of 55,328 sm is divided into three high bays of over 10,000 sm each. They are broken up by smaller peripheral structures along the perimeter with administrative and auxiliary functions close to production, including two canteens. This creates a clearly laid out workplace with short distances. The building structures follow the universal architectural language of the whole Campus.
The intelligent manufacturing system
In this ultramodern production complex of the future, Wilo is introducing a new production-and-logistics concept that reconfigures all processes from the supplier to the customer.
On this basis, an optimally configured material flow and a corresponding building layout is being designed for the future production site.
This primarily concerns the consistent planning and control of customer orders in the digital age, the dynamic interlinking of production and logistics processes and even closer loyalty of suppliers to Wilo. In the Wilo Smart Factory, modern production and production-planning processes are digitally supported.
Networked machines and products mean that process data for the entire production department can be reviewed in real time. The constant exchange of data enables short-term changes to be reacted to even more flexibly and according to needs. The production program is automatically adjusted to the new circumstances. This reduces material and warehouse inventories and leads to shorter production times and even higher productivity.
Fast and flexible production in the Wilo Smart Factory
A network of straight-line paths within the new factory makes a decisive contribution to increased transparency while reducing handling efforts. This considerably reduces throughput times while significantly increasing flexibility and providing the prerequisites for even more extensive customisation.
Increasingly, our customers do not just want innovative products, they also want customised products that can also take short-term modifications into account. In the future, the customers themselves will be able to configure the products they require online from certain modules and then order them directly. Products and components use their information to report for each process autonomously and to give information on their statuses. In addition, the employees in the smart factory will have digital tools to support them in their daily work.
The implementation of this flexible and versatile manufacturing requires agile processes along the whole supply chain. We also master this challenge in a pioneering way in our Smart Factory. We remain true to our ideals by continuing to be digital pioneers in our sector and also want to be constantly setting new standards in the pump industry in the future. At the same time, we want to further develop our leadership in innovation in the age of digitalisation. In this way, we want to continue to provide our customers with customised, intelligently networked and communicating products that are energy efficient and easy to operate.
Location of the Wilo Smart Factory
The factory is accessible to employees and visitors from the south via the central Wiloop plaza. This is where the most important functions and addresses of the Wilo Campus are centrally grouped. In the north, employees have access via the secondary entrance on the new Nortkirchenstraße with the traditional house number 100.
The spacious factory foyer is the starting point for visitor tours. The glass walls of the technical centre in the middle of the foyer allow visitors to see the Wilo product portfolio in live operation. A walk across the “Skywalk”, a bridge that internally connects the administration areas, offers visitors insights into Wilo’s optimised production processes.
Implementation of the Wilo Smart Factory
The facade design and choice of materials, especially the many glazed areas, speak for themselves and ensure transparency, attractiveness from the outside and natural light for employees working in the high bays. Those within the building can look to the outside as well as into the offices. The transparent design of the building makes the material and production flow visible. The production planners and production manager enjoy an unobstructed direct view into the production areas from their offices on the first floor close to production, while production personnel have direct contact to controlling and material planning. The objective is to remove the barriers between the individual work areas and create the space needed for an open working culture.
Key data for the Wilo Smart Factory:
Gross floor space: 55,328 sm
Warehouse building: 41,220 sm
Main building: 14,108 sm
Building height: 9.60 – 14.60 m