A historic future! What is now Ljungmann AS was founded in 1861 by Christian H. G. Olsen, “instrument maker and commission artist”. Telegraph apparatus, astronomical telescopes and a host of measuring instruments are just a few examples of the ideas and products demonstrated by this Norwegian inventor. Ten international gold medals, the first of these from the 1878 world exhibition in Paris, are tangible proofs of C. H. G. Olsen’s ingenuity.
Highly efficient double cell for manufacturing precision parts.
Fram, the Norwegian polar research ship, has a logbook that few can match. No other wooden vessel has been either as far north or as far south as the Fram. In 1893, Fridtjof Nansen embarked on his expedition to the Arctic. Eighteen years later, Roald Amundsen set course for the Antarctic.
Built and equipped for scientific expeditions, the Fram was a shining example of that time’s state of the art. Not surprisingly, instrument maker Olsen supplied many important articles. Amongst these were his universal theodolites. Together with chronometers, they were of critical importance in establishing positions and thereby assuring the success of the expeditions. From instruments to subcontract manufacture of precision parts More than a hundred years ago, one of Olsen’s leading colleagues, C. A. Ljungmann, took over the company. Since 1994, it has been managed by a fourth generation Ljungmann, Karl-Erik, a well qualified graduate engineer who evidently has three generations of successful instrument making in his blood.
A typical Ljungmann component. From the 1950’s onwards, operations have shifted from development and production of instruments to the subcontract manufacture of small series of complex components to tight tolerances. The customers are predominantly in electrotechnology and marine research. Series size varies between 5 and 1,000, but is normally around 100 pieces. The most common material is aluminium, but steel, brass and plastic also appear quite frequently.
Karl-Erik Ljungmann: “Not least as regards WorkShopManager, the people at System 3R are receptive to what the customer says.” “Some years ago, I started to consider automating production,” reveals Karl-Erik. “For one thing, we needed to get more spindle hours out of the machines. For another, I wanted to have a little free time. If I drop into the workshop for a moment in the evening, the moment easily turns into some hours and the hours into whole evenings.” A third reason was that Karl-Erik was beginning to feel some unease about being able to find new employees. Recruiting experienced operators for Scandinavian workshops was, and is, becoming ever more difficult. Upgrading The first step was to combine a new 5-axis Felhmann P60 with a pallet changer from System 3R. This was a WorkPal with 16 positions for MacroMagnum pallets and in-house fixtures. The fixtures held workpieces that each required 15 – 20 minutes of machining. Thus, at the end of the working day, a fully-loaded pallet gave a further 4 to 5 spindle hours at night. Such results improved the company’s productivity and whetted the appetite. The next step was to invest in a Fehlmann P90, place it next to the P60 and complete the arrangement with a System 3R WorkMaster serving both machines in an automatic double cell. This too uses a MacroMagnum pallet system – primarily with the in-house fixtures, although the occasional vice is also used. Karl-Erik: “Fantastic support from System 3R as regards both software and hardware. A week after the start of installation, the cell was running flat out. The WorkShopManager software has a long list of elegant functions. For example, should one of the machines stop, the software disconnects it and the cell continues to produce as a single cell – superb!”
The past is always present at Ljungmann’s – one of the instruments from the Fram expeditions. Andreas Claesson, product manager for System 3R’s software interjects: “Karl-Erik acted precisely as we would like all customers to act. Well in advance of installation, he took time to discuss things so that we could adapt the software to Ljungmann’s way of working. Rather than a question of new development, this was more about configuring the product to the customer’s needs. At heart, WorkShopManager is always the same. However, we can open or hide functions in line with each customer’s wishes.” “Norwegian industry in general suffers from the misconception that the automation of production demands large series. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pallets can give you efficient, automatic, one-off production. Moreover, automation is absolutely essential for development and survival. You just have to take a look around. Ten years ago, we had 15 colleagues/competitors nearby. Today, there are no more than three,” states Karl-Erik Ljungmann.
Weekdays and weekends, full production at Ljungmann’s. Karl-Erik concludes: “Look here at the counters on the machines – at least three times the average spindle hours for a Norwegian workshop. The effect on our productivity and competitiveness is clear. What’s more, I can now spend a weekend up in the cabin while the cell chugs on. If anything happens, I get an error message via SMS and can take suitable action.”
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Layout drawing:WorkMaster & Fehlmann P60 + Fehlmann P90