The Wirthwein Group is a leading manufacturer of high-quality plastic components.
Wirthwein AG relies on Teamcenter® software from Siemens Digital Industries Software for quick and accurate tooling cost calculations. For decades, Wirthwein has been a leading manufacturer of high-quality plastic components with production sites in Europe, Asia and the USA. The company’s products are used for automotive applications as well as for railways, energy, household appliances, medical technology and interior fittings. Wirthwein is a system supplier with comprehensive responsibility for the entire process – from “plastics friendly” product design, through tooling design and mold making to production to assembly and logistics.
“Tool variance is steadily increasing; every part is different and often highly complex,“ says Thomas Dörfler, tooling department leader at Wirthwein GmbH & Co. KG. “If the material or design is changing, the mold must be changed as well.” Meanwhile, the amount of time someone is willing to wait for a quotation continues to get shorter. Today, a client should receive his offer within one week. Otherwise, the chances of winning the order decrease because of ever-growing international competition.
According to Dörfler, the effort involved in documenting and submitting calculations has also increased, requiring a cost breakdown sheet including all process steps and costing figures in detail. This is why the Wirthwein sales department demands a highly transparent breakdown of quotation items. “Our sales staff members need the most accurate and comprehensible numbers in the shortest time possible,“ says Dörfler. “Equipped with this information, they can speak the same language as potential clients. Using the Teamcenter tool costing solution, our sales team can now successfully lead negotiations, enforce prices, keep accurate records and act as a competent partner.“
Prior to using the Teamcenter tool costing solution, Dörfler used spreadsheet software tables that needed to be continuously updated and refined. That practice changed radically with the implementation of Teamcenter.
Wirthwein chose Teamcenter because the software provided accurate calculation results. The optional 3D data analysis capability was another reason for selecting this solution. “Being able to import 3D data into the calculation software made Teamcenter even more interesting to us,” says Dörfler. “For a long time, the digital data provided by many of our customers were poorly prepared and couldn’t be used as basic data. In combination with the Teamcenter tool costing solution, the 3D module can unleash its full potential because, today, more precise and reliable CAD data gets delivered.”
The 3D import capability of Teamcenter tool costing delivers a particular advantage in the recognition of geometric shapes. “I can see immediately where and how many undercuts there are,“ Dörfler says. “This helps prevent data transfer errors and helps to optimize the shape, which the tooling leader cannot afford to miss.”
Most important for Dörfler is the calculation time saved. Using Teamcenter, Wirthwein develops highly accurate quotations in two to four hours. Some injection molds can be calculated even within half an hour. “With Teamcenter, I’m twice as fast as before,“ says Dörfler.
Today, even employees who do not have Dörfler’s extensive knowledge can generate good estimates. With Teamcenter, specific Wirthwein parameters such as labor rates, machine hours, manufacturing and logistics processes have been built into the calculations. As a result, sales representatives can now generate accurate cost breakdown sheets, which positively impact negotiations with customers.
Wirthwein staff members see further potential to leverage opportunities through the use of Teamcenter. Currently, the software is used to address the majority of average-size injection molding tools. Future plans call for calculating tool parameters of significantly larger forms. Dörfler is also hoping to enhance profitability by training more sales people to use the software. Additional plans include calculating the cost of parts and enabling users to access integrated knowledge databases. “The more we calculate using the cost management capabilities of Teamcenter, the more benefit we will get,“ notes Dörfler.