The first 'Smart Production' technology conference held in the Fendt Forum showed that the Bavarian Allgäu is well equipped to deliver digital and innovative technologies as an exciting business region for start-ups. Under the title "Future Technologies in the Manufacturing Industry", various companies presented and discussed the realisation of digitisation, big data, artificial intelligence, robotics and sensor technology. One of the start-ups there is developing artificial intelligence that can order goods pre-emptively through machine learning, while another company presented ways to adapt existing automotive production lines to meet the growing demand for individualisation. All the presentations reaffirmed that you can have all the innovation in the world, but you must never lose sight of the added value for the customer and your staff.
Fendt is already well versed in implementing digital and innovative technologies. "We have the most cutting-edge tractor factory in the world, right here in Marktoberdorf. Last year, we produced around 19,000 tractors across 8 different series on a single assembly line – from the Fendt 200 Vario specialist tractor at 70 hp to the Fendt 1050 Vario at over 500 hp", explained Ekkehart Gläser, Managing Director of Fendt Production, in his presentation. 95% of the tractors manufactured in Marktoberdorf are one-offs. Fendt builds the various tractors to order, in batch sizes of one. This production process is all down to having a variable cycle time on the assembly line – called the VarioTakt. Tractor production is planned so that workers always enough time to assemble the different tractor models while keeping up a continuous workload. Staff also have the latest technologies on hand to help them in their work, including smart watches to share information and exchange platforms
for inter-factory knowledge management. "Our employees are the key to our success. That's why they are actively involved in deciding how to implement new technologies. Only if they can make use of these solutions will they play any part in their everyday work."
Most of the conference participants and exhibitors came from Munich and the Allgäu region but some had travelled over from Dortmund and Tyrol. Walter Kraus from Munich said, "I really enjoyed the conference. The presentations were exciting, but the highlight for me was the factory tour. I was very impressed by the VarioTakt, because manufacturing to a batch size of one requires a special degree of intelligence and, above all, sound internal logistics," said the freelance production management consultant.