invenio, a global solution provider in engineering, already has numerous awards to its name. In 2016 alone, invenio won the German Innovation Prize in the 'Medium-size company' category and was selected as one of the best employers in Germany for the third time in a row. The news magazine Focus honored invenio in the categories of 'Consulting, legal, research and technology' as well as 'Automotive and suppliers' and also awarded them the seal of 'Top career opportunities.' Leading automotive manufacturers trust the competence of invenio, as do companies from the medical, household appliances and plant construction industries. This is reason enough to ask about the recipe for success of this medium-size company, which scores equally well with its own employees and with German industry.
invenio GmbH Engineering Services
Rüsselsheim am Main, Germany
Complex parts with Class A surface quality, standardisation with Tebis process libraries, automation and process optimization, comprehensive expertise and focus on a practice based education
Machinery and equipment
Especially when manufacturing complex parts, everything has to fit; accuracies and tolerances have to be in perfect alignment," explains Reuschel.
invenio, founded in 1986 by engineer Alfred Keschtges in Rüsselsheim, Germany, as a classic engineering office, has grown over the years to become an international group of companies that has successfully positioned itself in the market with the four divisions of development, industrialization, software and consulting. invenio provides the highest level of engineering and technology services and is known for its reliability, short lead times and outstanding quality. With 21 locations around the world – 12 in Germany and nine internationally – the company has more than 1,500 employees, with 620 of them working in Germany. Alfred Keschtges is now chairman of the Supervisory Board of invenio AG, with Kai F. Wißler serving as the managing director.
A visit to the Nauheim manufacturing site provides a very impressive look at how invenio handles challenges. This division specializes in prototypes, series and contract production in construction of gauges, measurement and fixture construction and in model-making and the production of castings. If desired, the engineering unit takes on overall project management -- from consulting in terms of cost, deadlines and quality factors all the way to technical implementation.
Practical training in the technical field is becoming increasingly important. Even in the entrance area in Nauheim one can see journeymen's pieces with clever, detailed solutions from dedicated new talent. Many of the 40 members of the team have interdisciplinary expertise and more than 20 years of experience in mechanical manufacturing as well as in model, gauge and prototype manufacturing, experience that they gladly share with their younger colleagues. When asked about the recipe for success, it's therefore no surprise that Andre Reuschel, team manager in Nauheim since 2005, speaks first about his employees: "Our collaboration is characterized by flat hierarchies and short decision paths. With a mixture of diligence, willingness to take risks and an entrepreneurial mindset, we establish ideal conditions for covering a broad range of offerings while being able to respond in a flexible and solution-oriented manner to new conditions and special customer requirements," says Reuschel.
This is not to say that Reuschel was able to land in a feathered nest – the challenge in 2005 was to establish a strong and competitive site on essentially virgin territory during a period of intense competition and rising cost pressure. "We had to invest to become successful," recalls the team manager. "We needed more personnel, considerably more CAD/CAM workstations and, in particular, completely new machinery with high-performance systems."
The machinery is now ready to take on all manufacturing tasks. This includes 5-axis simultaneous milling machines as well as a universal milling machine for 5-sided machining, three 3-axis machines, five CNC lathes and three 3D measuring machines in a climate-controlled measuring room. On-time delivery and quality are the hallmark of all projects. Practices including three-shift operation ensure that even rush orders are quickly completed.
Reuschel and his team are very pleased with the CAD/CAM software – invenio has relied solely on Tebis for its NC programming since the early 1990s. "Especially when manufacturing complex parts, everything has to fit; accuracies and tolerances have to be in perfect alignment," explains Reuschel. "Tebis can't be beat here; the surface quality is great."
But despite outstanding employees, powerful machinery and high-performance CAM software, the feeling that they were far from having exhausted all potential still prevailed for a long time. "This was the case for both the software and for our processes," recalls Reuschel. Therefore, someone from Tebis Implementation was brought to the company for the first time in 2012.
"We wanted to be sure that we were using the software optimally and configuring and implementing it precisely in line with our needs," says Reuschel. "The Tebis employees have a great deal of experience and have a very process-oriented approach. After only two days, we had a significantly better understanding of how processes can be automated using Tebis." As a result, the process libraries were independently built up, especially the tool library, including cutting data.
Now, five years after the start of the cooperation, Reuschel wants to take it a step further: "Automation is the key for achieving a sustainable position in the market. The offering by Tebis is incredible in this area." Together with Tebis, the processes were therefore intensively analyzed early in 2017. The result: The company is well-positioned – but the automatic functions are not actually being reflected one-to-one in manufacturing. "We therefore decided to work more closely with Tebis," says Reuschel. "Because it's not just about functions, but also especially about processes. The initial expenditure pays for itself later many times over."
The cooperation between invenio and Tebis can best be described as 'helping businesses help themselves.' Process libraries and templates will be closely scrutinized with Tebis Implementation over the course of the coming year. The results will be used to derive specific measures that invenio will then implement on its own. More personnel with Tebis expertise were hired and the organization was realigned for this purpose: Whereas employees operated and also programmed the machines using Tebis in the past, now trained specialists will be dedicated to NC programming and process optimization with Tebis.
At the same time, invenio trainees learn to work productively with Tebis at an early stage: On their way to becoming experts, they program with the software – starting, at the latest, in their second year of training. Two 3-axis machines from Hermle are used for this. Reuschel has high hopes for automated 2.5D machining with feature technology: "We manufacture many castings with a large number of 2.5D elements. If everything goes the way we expect, the programmer will only have to select the elements to be machined. We expect this to give us a decisive added value."
"We feel very well cared for and in good hands with Tebis, in terms of software as well as services,” summarizes the team manager from Nauheim.