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Sensor-maker expects to become a €1bn business

22 November, 2019

The German sensor-maker, ifm electronic, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, believes that it had a good chance of becoming a €1bn-turnover business by the end of this year. The family-owned company achieved €943m of sales in 2018 and joint CEO Martin Buck is confident that it can hit the target, despite the downturn in the German economy.

The company, which employs more than 7,000 people worldwide, currently manufactures around 22 million sensing products every year which it sells to 165,000 customers worldwide. Unusually, more than 95% of its sales are direct to customers, and not through distributors.

Ifm has begun a major initiative to implement Industry 4.0 principles in its main production site in Tettnang in Germany, with individual production lines functioning as intelligent networks. Up to 120 sensor variants can be manufactured on one line, with typical batch sizes being 100–200 items. Ifm has also implemented an “automation cloud”, including tracking systems and a digital production order system designed to optimise the line’s OEE.

To reduce response times, ifm’s production planning system makes order information available in real time. This eliminates the need for the lines to wait for the next order to arrive.

Ifm is implementing Industry 4.0 technologies, including autonomous logistics robots, at its Tettnang plant

As part of its smart factory initiative, ifm is introducing autonomous logistics robots which will perform picking tasks and supply the production lines automatically.

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