Digitalisation EVVA 4.0 = Sustainability at all levels
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Designated as a key topic for EVVA GRI: no equivalent UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), No. 8: Decent working conditions and economic growth; No. 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Management approach – our why:

Photo of a robotic arm Digital networking has already found its way everywhere – from production (keyword "Industry 4.0") to IT and from administrative processes to customer applications. EVVA has always focused on state-of-the-art technologies throughout the company's history – and thanks to a high demand, it has also become a reliable employer for a growing workforce. EVVA's management has included the digitalisation strategy in its top goals, and in the coming years numerous processes will be automated and new digitalisation projects implemented. The impact of digitalisation in general and EVVA projects in particular are considerable. This is why digitalisation has been identified as a key sustainability topic.

Economic impact

Digitalisation will establish itself throughout production companies. It standardizes and simplifies processes and analyzes data, for example to operate machines more fail-safe. Companies that refuse to digitize endanger their existence. In manufacturing companies, digitalisation will become firmly established in all areas. The process of digitalisation starts with the incoming order (via an ordering portal with defined product codes), continues with automated manufacturing processes and ends with the dispatch of the product. The economic advantages are, for example,

  • increase in productivity because quantities can be produced in less time.
  • more efficient processes, e.g. through automatic error detection. Waste (such as in key production) has been constantly reduced over the last years;
  • better flow of information between IT systems and manufacturing machines. The prerequisite for optimal data exchange is uniform IT infrastructures and compatible interfaces;
  • our sales partners benefit from faster production and delivery times, from a lower potential for errors due to automated production steps and from the possibility of producing very small batch sizes from a large number of individual orders.

Social impact

EVVA does not share the fear that advancing digitalisation will replace human resources. "In principle, more jobs are created after every industrial revolution. It becomes more of a problem if automation and digitalisation are not implemented, because then competitiveness is at stake", says EVVA CEO Stefan Ehrlich-Adám.

EVVA owner Nicole Ehrlich-Adám adds: "Digitalisation relieves us from repetitive, tedious processes. But what makes humans so special, and what no machine and no algorithm can take from us, is our genius, our surprising and creative elements. That’s why I find the cooperation between people and machines very exciting and positive. Digitalisation reduces monotonous activities, and that is good. The work for people will be more qualified, more varied and also more autonomous."Read more in Why Sustainability > Strategy.

Ecological impacts

Our 4.0 machines and applications have the great advantage that they are

Photo Clean Production key machine
Clean Production key machine

  • Clean Production ready, i.e. no resources such as oil and water are required. In some cases, they can replace several conventional machines and thus save many tons of oil and water per year. Find out more at Clean Production
  • Accelerate paperless work. EVVA has been able to save many tonnes of paper, largely through digitalisation. Read more under Waste


  • However, for this, digital systems require more electricity than conventional machines. They have to manage far more tasks and must meet the increasing demand for more complex security systems. EVVA implements extensive energy-saving measures to compensate for this. For more information, see Energy & Emissions overview


Selection of EVVA digitalisation projects:

  • AI applications. EVVA was one of the first companies in the world to calculate cylinder locking systems using a computer back in 1977. EVVA also relies on its technological edge when it comes to the application of artificial intelligence. The start of an AI project begins with the question: Where do I have a problem and can AI help me? Then 1) the existing data is identified or made available, 2) this data is properly prepared for the problem, 3) the algorithm is then trained, i.e. how it should proceed to solve the problem and 4) it is put into practice and the results data is analysed.

    EVVA uses AI in the following areas, for example:
    > Electronics production: trained AI that checks the assembly in real time. If the AI recognises an error (e.g. an incorrect part), it is rectified immediately and does not pass through the process unrecognised
    > Embossing of keys: Does the embossing pattern suddenly deteriorate? Because, for example, an embossing part has broken after many cycles? How can it be determined when the first deviation from the ideal image begins? AI trained with photos can signal this moment long before a human notices it. And thus avoid waste and costs
    > In surface technology to increase the quality of nickel plating
    > Planned use for analysing locking systems, predicting the service life of batteries, etc.
  • Power consumption analysis. EVVA Vienna has started a project in 2023 together with the agency “Watt Analytics” to identify undetected power guzzlers

  • State-of-the-art infrastructure and application management. EVVA's main digital project started a few years ago, specifically to optimally align the ERP (enterprise resource planning) and IT landscape with the potential for digitalisation. EVVA is currently introducing a new standard system that optimises the data linking – and thus the planning and organisation within the company.
    Our IT was also very well prepared for the Covid-19 crisis. The technical requirements for teleworking were made available virtually overnight without any technical problems. The digitalisation advantage makes it possible to work even more independently

  • Data Governance. EVVA has been reorganizing data governance since 2022/23. The roles and responsibilities are more clearly defined, such as for the Chief Data Officer (responsible for the entire data management in the company), Data Owner (responsible for specific data), and Data Producer/Data Stewards (who collect and maintain the values). This clear division prevents multiple and inconsistent entries. Because only with a reliable data base can digital processes such as predictive machine maintenance be successful.

  • Predictive Maintenance. Sudden machine failures can lead to time pressure for repairs and possibly also to delivery delays. Digital experience values help predict when problems will occur with which machine components. This preventive maintenance will play an increasing role, and EVVA is testing applications for this.

    The basis for this is a new digital EVVA data platform that can capture machine values in a structured manner and make them available for finer analysis. For example, in terms of the load on individual machine parts. The data is collected from different machines and systems in a communication protocol. This means that thanks to the constantly growing experience data, possible machine failures can be better predicted and repaired in time – before a malfunction occurs. The data should not only inform about wear and tear, but also about energy consumption and CO2 footprint. For this, EVVA was awarded the „Sustainable Digitalisation“ award in 2022 – awarded by ICT Austria for sustainable digitalisation.

  • New digital learning platform for employees. More on this under "EVVA Academy"

  • New digital team board in the production. Since 2021, tasks, key figures, occupational safety status and other information from the production area are no longer displayed in analogue form, but on a digital team board. This is centrally accessible for all production employees and can be viewed at any time even without PC access

  • Ordering portal. The EVVA uniform digital ordering system for trade partners is already in use for several years. Its advantage: A clear, unambiguous ordering process (using predefined product codes) that virtually eliminates input errors and increases EVVA's order quality. Unstructured and incomplete orders are therefore no longer a problem. With its own programs, EVVA is pushing the digitalisation of interfaces so that manufacturing orders can be planned, projected and ordered even faster and with fewer errors 

  • IllustrationCalculation new. The traditional calculation of key system authorisations is very complex. The "Ariadne" project has the task of automating approvals and creating a seamless flow through the process. The path leading to the goal becomes shorter and simpler – like that of Theseus, who escaped from the Minotaur's labyrinth with the help of Ariadne's thread. Ariadne uses AI algorithms. Artificial intelligence is taught and the program learns independently  

  • Manufacturing. The "Assembly System of the Future" is an EVVA project that received an award from the Vienna Business Agency: Depending on the order, the cylinder core filling machine at the headquarters picks the suitable locking pins from more than 160 different types and fills the cylinder plug fully automatically. This 100% controlled process guarantees maximum quality and rules out errors. The more complex the locking system, the more diverse the access hierarchies, the more it shows its benefits. Filling the plug with the pins is a strenuous and time-consuming manual activity that a machine can perform. Assembly staff check the machine and production status on screen. They then combine the cylinder plug with the cylinder housing on modern and ergonomically designed workstations.

    Photo EVVA assembly station with digital assistance programs
    EVVA assembly station with digital assistance programs
    Another example is a new key cutting machine for the new mechanical systems which can finish keys in just one operation – from the embossed blank to the profile and pin holes to the key tip and inscription. The machine requires highly qualified and well-trained specialist personnel
  • Digital assembly lines. All orders for our electronic cylinders are recorded digitally without order documents and programmed onto the workpiece holders. The assembly team can immediately call up all order information such as the ordered functions and designs on the monitor
  • Production app. EVVA uses this power app for electronic production control. It ranks orders by priority – and does so interactively and in real time. The production workers can provide immediate and simple feedback on work steps and on any problems, e.g. missing parts, via the app.
  • Robotics. Collaborating robots (cobots) take over monotonous work steps, such as turning and milling work in EVVA's production areas and product testing in our Research & Development department. Automated testing compresses 4 weeks of manual testing to 40 hours – and at the same time reduces the potential for errors and shortens release times for new products and product functions.
  • Photo of an employee at the 3-D printer Additive manufacturing. In recent years EVVA has been able to build up a great deal of know-how with 3D printing processes. We now use additive manufacturing in product development for sample parts – and also for machine components that previously had to be laboriously produced with CNC machines. 3D models, which increasingly replace classic drawings, are imported directly into the production facilities via CAD/CAM software (CAD/CAM = computer-aided design or manufacturing). These 3D models specify exactly how a product part must be machined
  • Shipping process. Employees can now immediately request digital dispatch documents, which were previously forwarded manually by the order management team.
  • Switch from paper to digital documents. The EVVA Order Management Teams in Vienna, Krefeld and Hengelo only process orders digitally. You can find out more about the resulting paper savings under Reduce waste
  • Budgeting process. EVVA has already digitalised sales planning in Germany and Austria. After the final implementation of the newly planned ERP system, the other sites are also sceduled to follow
  • Highly secure encryption methods. Encryption of our electronic EVVA access systems, which can also be operated with a smartphone, is one of the most secure in the world (see more about data protection). KeyCredits allow the user to issue or change digital access authorisations within seconds
  • You can find out about EVVA’s current research cooperations and tests relating to digitalisation and Industry 4.0 under Cooperations and Partnerships
Our targets

Fulfilment date: 2025 (former time target 2023 extended to 2025)

How: EVVA is introducing a new standard ERP system (ERP = Enterprise Resource Planning) which optimally manages and links processes such as quotation drafting, material requirements, orders, etc. Implementation is done continuously in stages until 2025. The formerly defined time target turned out to be unrealistic and therefore was extended by 2 more years.

Positive effects: future-proof IT landscape; cloud services can be used ideally (at EVVA already for emails, training management, certain IT programmes, etc.); transparent and uniform database; improved information flow; standards and simple processes to reduce complexity; redundant data and occasional duplicate data entry efforts are a thing of the past.

Fulfilment date: 2024

How: The EVVA Digital Services division standardises the IT infrastructure at all international EVVA locations. Most have already been migrated. The conversion has not yet been completed at two locations.

Positive effects: A uniform infrastructure is prerequisite in order to be able to implement digitalisation steps across the group. Local IT solutions that require extra maintenance are therefore a thing of the past.

Fulfilment date: 2025 (former time target 2023 extended to 2025)

How: The digital ordering portal, with which our trade partners can order EVVA products at any time, has been in use at several locations for several years. It was planned to be rolled out in other subsidiaries subsequently. As this requires further technical implementations, this target was reset to 2025.

Positive effects: Headquarters' order management receives almost 180,000 orders per year. However, about half of them arrive unstructured, e.g. not written legibly and thus not electronically processable. A total of 17% of orders are incomplete – EVVA has to query around 32,000 orders per year. EVVA´s digital ordering and calculation programs ensure precisely defined ordering processes. The time-consuming checks and inquiries that were previously inevitable are no longer necessary.

Fulfilment date: 2025 (former time target 2024 extended to 2025)

How: Key figures such as cycle times or downtimes are currently usually only available per machine. Our goal is to link the existing data via production software and to increasingly network our machinery.

Positive effects: The data volumes can be analysed holistically with AI technologies. Machine learning, neural networks, predictive maintenance etc. lead to maximum quality and error prevention. It can also make production more energy-efficient.

Fulfilment date: 2024

How: These are digital assistants for assembly; they show the correct assembly steps and configurations on monitors. EVVA already uses worker assistance systems for electronic access systems and electroplating. The individual workstations are adapted to the production lines. It is now planned to make greater use of worker assistance in futher areas of the production. As one of the first steps, a digital team board was introduced in 2021.

Positive effects: Worker assistance systems support assembly workers and are expected to reduce errors in the assembly and packaging process.

Fulfilment date: 2024

How: Several 3D printers are in use at EVVA in automation technology and in research & development, e.g. for creating prototypes or for machine components such as covers and support systems. The internal EVVA project group "Additive Manufacturing" is examining further future 3D printing applications together with the Fraunhofer Institute. We test various processes and materials such as plastics and metals.

Positive effects: Additive manufacturing currently offers a number of advantages, especially for small quantities and individual product requests, and can thus relieve the burden on series production. We believe that additive manufacturing will have an ever greater impact on production methods. Our tests with different technologies – such as FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) for large stable components or DLP (Digital Light Processing) for the smallest, most complex parts – bring us valuable experience and keep us on the cutting edge of this technology. How can additive manufacturing be automated reliably and economically, e.g. for cylinder housings made of metal? What is not yet feasible today, but offers great potential for our company in the future? That's what we want to find out with this goal!

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