Customized tractors quickly, transparently and efficiently by using LeanwareMES

The leading manufacturer of agricultural tractors in the Nordics, Valtra Oy, designs and manufactures Valtra tractors in Central Finland. An increasing number of customized tractors are being shipped to customers from Suolahti. LeanwareMES has a central role in managing the manufacture of the tractors.

Valtra tractors have many features familiar from the auto industry that cannot yet be found in other tractors. Customizing tractors and equipping them according to customer requirements creates its own challenges for manufacturing and its management. Manufacturing was digitized in cooperation with Leanware, which improved the efficiency during customization.

“The MES implemented by Leanware increased the digitization of manufacturing significantly, which resulted in improved production efficiency and flexibility. Changes can be made to the process quickly and the necessary information can be made available to the installer without delay”, says Valtra’s Business Analyst Juha Tuikkanen.

Away with cardboard assembly instructions

According to Valtra’s Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Mikko Torvelainen, LeanwareMES significantly changed the daily operations at the facility. Instead of the cardboard instructions installers used to use, they now have clear instructions obtained directly from the manufacturing execution system.

“We have a vast number of product variations and the models and configurations being manufactured are constantly changing. An installer has to know the critical torque when tightening bolts, for example, as an incorrectly tightened bolt is a direct quality risk. The precise configuration provided by MES results in increased quality”, says Torvelainen.

According to Torvelainen, MES has made it easier to detect and address quality errors. This is due to real-time data.

“In our old model, we wouldn’t detect errors until they reached finishing. The system now provides, for example, the information on a missing part quickly and it can be addressed right away”, says Torvelainen.

Away from the mystical black box

Although LeanwareMES allows standardized and high-quality products to be manufactured efficiently, operational efficiency alone is not enough. It is very important to successfully integrate MES with other manufacturing equipment. While manufacturing in the old system was perceived as a ‘black box’, Valtra employees feel that LeanwareMES has provided full visibility all the way from production to invoicing.

“With automated manufacturing, the right things have to occur at the right locations at the right times. For example, when a tractor moves on the line to painting, the correct painting program is given to the painting robot according to the features of the tractor. This results in the best possible paint quality and robot collisions can be minimized”, explains Mikko Torvelainen.

“Receiving timely information on the durations of production phases used to be difficult, for example. MES allows us to quickly see what work cell is experiencing difficulties. The installer also receives the necessary change information instantly. Quality monitoring, traceability and reporting now occur in real time and are readily available”, says Juha Tuikkanen.