The Fortaco Group is one of the major production partners for companies working in mechanical engineering and heavy industry (agriculture, forestry, construction, transport of materials, and mining) and it stands out within the sector in Europe. The company operates in Finland, Estonia, Poland, Hungry, and Slovakia. It has two offi ces in Poland: one in Wrocław and one in Janow Lubelski. The Fortaco Group’s Wrocław office specializes in the creation of steel structures and new technology. The company’s top products are well-made machinery parts and frames as well as welded and mechanized steel structures for the materials and container transport market, mining, and forestry.
In the last few years, Fortaco has grown considerably in Wrocław: it increased the number of customers and, therefore, also the number of orders, making order management and production more difficult. The software used until now to operate the cutting machinery proved to be insufficient to satisfy current production needs. That is why the company considered the idea of replacing the system with another that was better adapted to its current needs while also fostering future development.
“We were looking for an alternative to the software being used previously, because it did not meet our expectations. It was quite cumbersome and lacked potential improvements that would increase the degree of automation in production. First, we were interested in reducing the amount of time spent on production preparation as well as bilateral integration with the SAP system (integrated ERP module software that supports management in organizations),” explained Sylwia Siedlecka, project manager at Fortaco in Wrocław.
The industrial sector understands and values Lantek’s solutions. This time, an endorsement was crucial for negotiations on potential cooperation to begin. “A machinery manufacturer that had already implemented Lantek solutions recommended these solutions and spoke highly of them. The program worked well in several plants with a profile similar to Fortaco’s, so we decided to give it a try as well,”added Dariusz Jamroz, director of the production line at Fortaco Wrocław.
“A professional analysis prior to implementation, carried out in accordance with Lantek’s strategy, allows us to identify the individual needs and difficulties that will arise within a specific company. We specialize in programming that adapts to our customers’ needs. Lantek has a solution dedicated to the metal industry, its specialty, which is 90% ready for use. The remaining 10% is dedicated to personalizing products and satisfying the specific needs of each customer. These needs are often discovered during that analysis done prior to implementation,” explained Damian Olszowski, director of sales at Lantek.
Like other modern companies, Fortaco opted for a software with a focus on development and constant implementation of new solutions and updates. The entire process of preparing this solution took quite some time. Prior to implementation, meetings took place as well as brainstorming and comment sessions; workshops were even held at the Lantek office in Katowice. The software’s capabilities were presented and tested over the course of the two-day workshop. The great deal of benefits obtained from integrating the system proposed by the manufacturer was demonstrated. The two directions involved in this integration, greater production transparency, the possibility of exchanging more data at different times and in different stages of work, and a more pleasant user interface were some of the big advantages.
But there was still one problem to be solved: As part of the Fortaco Group, Fortaco Wrocław operates according to strictly defined corporate standards. In order for an organization with a business and scope as broad as this one to be able to exist, it is very important that the company is a single unit from the organizational standpoint, even if each office deals with a slightly different type of production. In practice, this meant that corporate needed to approve the software change and be sure of the benefits entailed for the entire company:
“We were able to convince Fortaco headquarters in Finland to change the system. We organized video conferences to present the solutions for the entire group and their beneficial impact on the overall operations of the company. This resulted in the implementation of the system in Poland, as well as in the Fortaco office in Hungary. We hope that in the future this leads to a broader expansion of our cooperation with the group’s other offices,” added Damian Olszowski Lantek software for gas burners and plasma torches was implemented at Fortaco Wrocław in August 2018. The software used has four basic modules:
• Lantek Expert Cut Plus - CAD/CAM module for managing nesting and CNC functions of cutting machines;
• Lantek MES Manager - Manufacturing execution system (MES) that allows for production orders to be managed in connection with CAD/CAM systems.
• Lantek Integra Inventory - Provides a general overview in real time of the data logged in the warehouse;
• Lantek MES WOS - Module used for production reports.
The system can also be used on the work of bending machines. It allows the option of adding a curved line in the planning phase of the cutting process, drastically improving the entire process. A special prototype management solution made especially for Fortaco Wrocław was also implemented. It is a feature designed with the customer to respond to their needs. It allows the details implemented for the first time in production to be monitored.
There are many benefits to Lantek software and they can be appreciated by production operators, combustion process engineers, managers, and specialists responsible for production planning.
“The main advantage is the intuitive and userfriendly interface that allows orders to be classified and grouped. One aspect that facilitates the job and that we’ve already discussed previously, but that should be emphasized, is the two-way integration with the SAP system, in addition to the possibility of calculating operators’ performance, productivity, and efficiency, auto nesting, the ability to see the current status of machinery from the office and trace production and access historical data. The Lantek Integra module is connected to the stock status on SAP, which allows us to monitor flat inventory directly from the flat cutting creation program. With this integration we do not need to use two systems. Thanks to the communicators integrated in the Lantek WOS module and the possibility for operators to choose a reason for shutting down machinery, communication between operators, engineers, and managers has improved,” summarized the two engineers responsible for the cutting process, Przemysław Niemiec and Łukasz Wielkopolski.
Another advantage that facilitated this process was undoubtedly the reps in Poland, who ensured quick responses both from tech support and aftersales service, which in most cases were immediate. As is well known, implementation is a continuous process. The company verifies and checks new work environments, as it needs to be in constant contact with the manufacturer’s representative. Only in an operating work environment, i.e., an active one, can certain issues be verified and better adapted. That’s why Lantek is committed to long-term cooperation with its customers, excellent tech support, and consulting prior to a purchase decision both during implementation and after the full installation of the system. Cooperation and implementation of new solutions also involve sharing experiences. As a result, the system’s manufacturer also learns about and improves its product, and therefore provides a solution optimally adapted to the customer.