DigitalisationEVVA 4.0 = Sustainability at all levels
Designated as a key topic for EVVAGRI: no equivalentUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), No. 8: Decent working conditions and economic growth; No. 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Management approach – our why:
The age of the digitally networked company has long since begun – 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 in stakeholder dialogue.
In manufacturing companies, digitalisation will become firmly established in all areas. The process of digitalisation starts with the incoming customer 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,
higher productivity because quantities can be produced in less time. EVVA’s productivity has increased by 4 to 5% per year since 2015;
more efficient processes, e.g. through automatic error detection. This will further reduce waste (such as in key production) in the coming 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.
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.
Our 4.0 machines and applications have the great advantage that they are
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 9 tonnes of paper since 2015, 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 since 2015:
State-of-the-art IT infrastructure. EVVA's main digital project started in 2019, specifically to optimally align the 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. This digitalisation advantage makes it possible to work even more independently
Ordering portal. The EVVA uniform digital ordering system EOS for trade partners was designed and tested in the reporting period. It is already in use at some EVVA locations. Its advantage: A clear, unambiguous ordering process (using predefined product codes) that virtually eliminates input errors and immensely increases EVVA's order quality. Unstructured and incomplete orders are therefore no longer a problem
Calculation 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 during the reporting period: 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.
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.
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
Wearables. Gloves with integrated scanners are used at EVVA in electroplating and warehouse logistics. They replace the previous handheld scanners and have proven themselves through their time-saving and easier handling
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. Outgoing invoices, orders, order confirmations, etc. are increasingly being processed digitally via pdfs. EVVA headquarters currently sends around 700 invoices/credit notes daily, around 40% of which are digital. This reduces paper requirements as well as postage costs and the invoice is sent to the recipient the same day. Calculated over the year, this results in about 70,000 fewer paper copies (248 working days x 280 digital copies) and about 50,000 euros in cost savings [70,000 x (€0.74 minimum postage + €0.03 envelope & paper)]
incoming invoices: In 2021, EVVA will automate the invoice receipt process at the headquarters. 15,000 incoming invoices are then received paperless. We provide our trade partners with invoices digitally via the existing partner portal
Budgeting process. EVVA has already digitalised sales planning in Germany and Austria, as well as at other locations from 2021
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
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 has been continuous since 2019 in stages until 2023.
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.
How: The EVVA Digital Services division standardises the IT infrastructure at all international EVVA locations. Most have already been migrated, with the last 4 sites to follow by 2022.
Positive effects: A uniform infrastructure is the basic prerequisite for being able to implement digitalisation steps across the group. Local IT solutions that require extra maintenance are therefore a thing of the past.
How: The digital ordering portal, with which our trade partners can order EVVA products at any time, has been in use in Switzerland, Germany and Austria since 2020. It will be rolled out in the Netherlands and Belgium in 2021.
Positive effects: Headquarters' order management receives almost 170,000 orders per year. However, about half of them arrive unstructured, e.g. not written legibly and thus not electronically processable. A total of 18% of orders are incomplete – EVVA has to query around 32,000 orders per year. The digital ordering portal (where no authorisation calculations are necessary) and the Access Designer (a further EVVA service which covers the calculation of comprehensive locking plans) now ensure precisely defined ordering processes. This means that EVVA no longer has to conduct time-consuming checks and enquiries!
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.
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. The aim is now to make greater use of worker assistance in the packaging process and in the production of our mechanical systems.
Positive effects: Worker assistance systems support assembly workers and are expected to reduce errors in the assembly and packaging process by 50%.
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!