Manufacturing Sensor Technology in Southern Germany:
Kistler Instrumente GmbH sets store by ergonomics, flexibility and efficiency
Villingen-Schwenningen, May 2017: In Sindelfingen, the Swiss high-tech company Kistler Instrumente GmbH has merged and restructured its former two German production facilities. For best equipment consisting of 100 workstations, the company relies on ergonomic solutions offered by the workplace experts Karl, Waldmann and Bimos.
While planning the new premises at Sindelfingen, the most important goals were to design the interiors in an efficient manner and to arrange workstations in a flexible and standardized way as far as possible. "Using detailed analyses of models in digital and haptic forms, we were able to optimise material flow, process development and transport routes and thus determine the setup of worktables", said André Hanich, project manager for Lean & QA and member of the five-person planning team of the new production.
To work out the ideal workstation, the four desks that we had as options were built at the old premises in Schönaich. We requested the employees to set up the desks in the manner required by the corresponding areas of work. "The majority of the staff clearly decided for the workstations from the Sintro range by Karl", said Hanich.
Another criterion was the flexible use of desks. "As most of our employees work in different areas, the workstations must be designed in such a manner that they can be adjusted at anytime", explains Hanich. In contrast to the old premises, employees do not have their own workstations in Sindelfingen. In theory, they can occupy any workstation depending on which work step they are involved in.
Kistler decided on two standard dimensions in the production hall. The desk width for production workstations is 1530 millimetres. "This means that the desk width corresponds exactly to the outer reach as defined in ergonomics: the space that can be reached with an outstretched arm without changing one's position." In addition, smaller desks with a width of 930 millimetres were set up for documentation and testing. All desks are electrically height-adjustable and can thus be adjusted for every employee.
For setting up workstations, however, it was not only important to equip them with desks but an interplay between correct lighting and ergonomic chairs was also crucial. "A workstation that is ergonomically perfect includes not only a desk but also well-thought out lighting and seating solutions", says Ottmar Kuster at Karl, who has been guiding the development process for the new Kistler premises. "This is where our collaboration with Waldmann from Villingen-Schwenningen and Bimos from Meßstetten comes into play. We work together and the customer gets everything from one source."
The close cooperation of the three companies is clearly demonstrated by the joint initiative called "Teamwork Forum Arbeitsplatzgestaltung" (teamwork forum for workplace design). Employees working in the areas of production, installation, occupational safety and quality management can obtain comprehensive information regarding workplace design through the initiative. The expertise of the three initiators is pooled together and processed in a concise manner for interested individuals. This specialist knowledge in ergonomics is augmented by findings from medicine, physics and cognitive psychology.
Ergonomic lighting is indispensable for production workstations at Kistler Instrumente GmbH. Very small solder points must be illuminated at a number of workstations equipped with microscopes. "For this, the interplay between microscopes and lighting is very important", explains Eberhard Bauer, the P&L manager and member of the planning team at Kistler. "When a person looks up, the incidence light changes, resulting in the pupils opening and shutting every time. This causes fatigue symptoms to occur quickly". The luminous intensity of the selected Waldmann luminaires can be adapted to the microscope illumination in this manner, so that eye strain is prevented.
Kistler also chose the Bimos chairs in such a way that they can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of individual employees. When the chairs were delivered, the Kistler team received training in ergonomics. A Bimos staff member explained how the chairs could be optimally adjusted and which functions they offer. "Even though the chairs looked unspectacular at first glance, everybody agreed after the training that they were perfect for the requirements of our production hall", says Hanich.
"We are very happy with the products of Karl, Waldmann and Bimos and, especially, with the support provided by Karl", says Hanich. But, of course, if you don't go forwards you go backwards. It is therefore a good thing that the position of the workstations is not fixed in the building, instead a modification is possible at any given time. "The modular Karl range is ideal to react quickly to future needs, new products and growth."