Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Established in 1971, Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH is a specialist in professional hygiene with about 1,000 employees. The company supplies more than 600 products to customers in 55 countries. Its portfolio includes innovative dosing and dispenser systems and products for cleaning and disinfection for the washroom, kitchen, janitorial applications and textile care.
Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH (Hagleitner) provides innovative hygiene products that are economical and enhance operating efficiency for the washroom and kitchen, as well as janitorial hygiene and textile care. Since the Austrian family business was established in 1971, the product range has grown to more than 600 products. Businesses in 55 countries use Hagleitner products, ordering them from the company website based on individually negotiated agreements.
All Hagleitner products – dispersers as well as supplies – are designed and produced at the company’s headquarters in Zell am See, Austria. A large portion of the dispensers Hagleitner manufactures every year operate without being touched, which advances hygiene standards. Since 2014, the company’s “senseMANAGEMENT” models have been used to check filling levels and order supply refills using a WiFi gateway, which makes them a part of the Internet of things (IoT). This helps operators optimize warehousing and maintenance and enhances customer satisfaction. It also contributes to the conservation of resources, as does the innovative refill systems that have made Hagleitner an industry leader.
“To optimally serve our customers requires a commitment to high-quality product development and responsive customer support,” says Norbert Steinacher, product design project manager at Hagleitner. “To ensure that, in April of 2015, we turned to producing all dispenser parts in-house on 16 injection-molding machines.”
Since 2010, Hagleitner has exclusively used NX™ software for computer-aided design (CAD) from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens Digital Industries Software for part and assembly design.
“Until 2006, there was a veritable software proliferation. Designers in different fields were using different CAD systems,” says Steinacher, who noted that in the course of standardization efforts, all systems used at Hagleitner were compared. “Engineering managers classified NX as the system best suited for taking on future challenges, and we selected it as the sole software package for CAD and CAM.” Criteria that played a big role in the selection process included the absence of discernible systematic limitations and better availability of design engineers experienced in handling the product.
“NX provides design engineers with a singular freedom of choice for the solution path,” adds Christian Happacher, team manager of dispenser design and tooling at Hagleitner. “This promotes their creativity as an essential prerequisite in the creation of superior technical solutions.”
The continuous growth of the company created more challenges. “Work with a filebased data repository became increasingly unsatisfactory,” Steinacher recalls. “In view of the huge variant diversity of Hagleitner products and their parts, overwriting existing records, multiple revision copies with altered geometries and similar practices rendered data incomprehensible and repeatedly led to errors, in some cases resulting in loss of data.”
Starting in 2010, Hagleitner surveyed the market for a suitable solution for PLM. Hagleitner wanted their engineers to be able to visualize all relevant data for the production of a product across the entire product development process, from the first design phases to tooling with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and injection molding to assembly. The company also wanted data to be easier to verify in order to reduce non-productive work. Among other things, this was meant to ensure that, given the appropriate functional requirement, existing parts would be easy to find and re-use.
“Another motive for our search was our effort to manage the variant diversity,” says Steinacher. “From the first project sketch to the very end, all those involved should be able to access uniform information as if they are all sitting at the same virtual table.”
Hagleitner took the task of choosing the appropriate software very seriously. In a series of workshops, the requirements were discussed with various suppliers as were solution paths for using the software.
“Teamcenter from Siemens Digital Industries Software turned out to be the product with the greatest potential by far for an open, modular design of the overall software landscape,” says Steinacher. “In view of our continuing growth, the ability to build a library of components controlled across their entire lifecycle for simple reuse with minimal effort was equally essential.”
In 2013, Hagleitner decided on Teamcenter® software. Hagleitner migrated NX to client computers at the same time Teamcenter was being implemented. “Hagleitner was the first customer using this configuration in the Germanspeaking world,” recalls Walter Winter, business consultant for Siemens Digital Industries Software partner unit42 GmbH, which supported the project during the implementation phase.
“unit42 advised against our original plan to implement the software tightly coupled with our internal processes,” Steinacher recalls. “In view of the frequent alteration of these processes, we decided in favor of a minimalistic adaptation of the software configuration with only four basic workflows.” This configuration stays as close to the standard as possible and is essentially limited to functionality that is indispensable for value-adding development work, allowing extensive changes to the processes without programming or leaving functional skeletons in the closet.
After less than half a year, unit42 provided Hagleitner with a fully configured system. Its jointly defined properties have sustainably changed the way products are developed across Hagleitner. “One of the criteria that prompted us to select Teamcenter was the ability to directly integrate quality assurance,” says Happacher. “By using the visualization software in Teamcenter, we have permanent direct access to data from design through production, with validation guaranteed.”
“The team-oriented handling of our product development projects using Teamcenter with living data has become indispensable for reliably controlling the variations of our product lines while reducing costs for all downstream areas at the same time,” says Steinacher. “In future phases, the prepared interfaces to external software will be utilized to pull data consistency across the entire company.” In particular, the growing tooling section will profit from data augmented with product manufacturing information.
“The foundation for stable and unerring product development is a unified design system. To guide engineers from whatever field to a system is a decisive factor for flexible resource scheduling,” says Gernot Bernert, executive board member and technical director at Hagleitner. “With organized administration of all components and utilization across systems, Teamcenter reduces design cycles. The time gained is put to good use and helps us to better achieve our goals.”