Calculate components 80% faster

How digitization helps contract manufacturer JUCOWA to remain competitive

Not only since the Corona crisis has the pressure been increasing for many small and medium-sized manufacturing companies to increase the efficiency of their own production and reduce costs at the same time. The AI-based software solutions of up2parts GmbH promise revolutionary things, such as automated work plan and quotation generation with time savings of up to 80%. At JUCOWA, they are convinced of the benefits of a digital process chain.

With a location for sheet metal processing in Sigmaringen and a plant for machining and assembly in Albstadt, JUCOWA Metallbearbeitung GmbH has been considered a reliable service provider in mechanical engineering and medical technology for many years. With 50 skilled employees, the company, founded in 1999, offers its customers a wide range of services - from complex individual parts and medium batch sizes to subassembly and machine assembly. Nine CNC machine tools from DMG MORI are used in production, which will be integrated into the fully digitalized process chain in the course of a new building. This also includes automated quotation generation with up2parts based on artificial intelligence. "With an in-house production depth of around 90%, we can act very flexibly and on schedule vis-à-vis our customers," says Andreas Kanz, Managing Director of JUCOWA, citing an important success factor in the day-to-day business of a contract manufacturer. However, this requires well-organized processes. The key to success: digital processes for manufacturing. 

Easy entry into digitalization for SMEs

"We want to support SMEs in digitally increasing the efficiency of their manufacturing, starting with batch size 1 and along the entire process chain in contract manufacturing, from costing to quoting and order generation, to work preparation and planning," says up2parts CEO Marco Bauer, explaining the objective of his software company. He is convinced: "Our solutions are real gamechangers and door openers for digital business models." The up2parts solutions offer an easy entry into digitization, can be used immediately, are maintenance-free and require no extensive training.

Digitization as early as the work preparation stage 

JUCOWA is a good example of this. The digital process chain already begins there with the preparation of the quotation: "We became aware of up2parts through DMG MORI and introduced the software as a test customer at the end of 2020," Kanz reports. With the help of artificial intelligence, up2parts supports the medium-sized company in automatically calculating quotations in work preparation. 

Finding similar workpieces within seconds

"The up2parts database is basically a digital image of our company," explains Andreas Kanz. JUCOWA has since stored machines, materials, customers and components centrally in up2parts - the latter as a 3D model. Thanks to unlimited storage capacities, customers can process even data-intensive 3D models with high complexity. "Getting started is just as fast as creating a Netflix account, because up2parts is ready to go in just two minutes and serves as the basis for using all of up2parts' more advanced products," adds Dr. Christian Heining, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) at up2parts. The geometric similarity search in up2parts automatically finds identical or similar parts within a few seconds. 

Calculate up to 80% faster 

"Today, the calculation of components and the creation of offers is based on individual expert knowledge mostly via Excel and is extremely time-consuming. And only a small percentage of the quotes sent actually result in an order. For us, it's clear: In the manufacturing industry, far too much valuable time is spent on manual quotation calculation," says CEO Marco Bauer, explaining the motivation behind up2parts. "So why not digitize this process and reduce these time-consuming activities to a minimum?" up2parts calculation contributes to an enormous increase in efficiency in work preparation for JUCOWA. "Quotation preparation takes a lot of time. Only especially during a good order situation this is not necessarily available", explains Andreas Kanz, who as a trained design engineer, is very familiar with this area of work preparation and knows how crucial it is to submit a quotation quickly. That is why he was very interested in the automated solution with up2parts. Based on the CAD models previously created in the company database, the software automatically generates component calculations and proposals for the work plan and run times. These come from the company-specific artificial intelligence, which is trained with each calculation.

In just a few clicks to the finished offer

"Our algorithm is the heart of up2parts," says up2parts CEO Bauer. "It combines component information from 3D models with existing processes and existing manufacturing know-how along the entire production process." Andreas Kanz is impressed, "up2parts learns with each component, so calculations become more and more accurate." Because up2parts reduces and automates this process to just a few clicks, users save up to 80% time in quoting. Andreas Kanz is already familiar with the automated form of quotation generation from sheet metal processing: "There, however, we are dealing with two-dimensional components. up2parts manages to reliably automate this work step even for three-dimensional workpieces." At up2parts, the company is convinced that 3D models will become increasingly important in the future, as they are the basis for digitization in manufacturing.

Vision of end-to-end digitally efficiency-optimized manufacturing

The up2parts makers from the Upper Palatinate have a clear vision: the end-to-end digital and efficiency-optimized process chain in manufacturing - from costing to quality assurance. Bauer: "We want to change the manufacturing industry sustainably with our software solutions and see ourselves as pioneers of digital production. Our approach is to 'simplify manufacturing'. It's about making supposedly complicated processes simple." Thinking manufacturing processes in a new and innovative way is the prerequisite for developing solutions "that are intuitive to use and understandable for everyone." The young software house promises its customers significantly improved competitiveness thanks to efficiency increases from batch size 1.  

Real practical experience from manufacturing the big advantage

One of the company's other special features is its origins. Unlike many other software companies, up2parts was not founded in a garage by a group of nerds or as an IT subsidiary of a large corporation. "We come from the real-world experience of a medium-sized manufacturing company," says Bauer, describing the "birth" of up2parts in 2019. up2parts GmbH emerged as the former software division of BAM GmbH, a contract manufacturer with about 150 employees and around 40 machines that Bauer had started in 2011. Today, the two companies maintain a close partnership. "Customers benefit enormously from this cooperation and our practical knowledge makes us a partner at eye level who knows any optimization potential from our own experience," Bauer knows.

Successful pilot customer phase

"For us, the focus is always on the customer. We actively ask for feedback in order to continuously improve up2parts," explains Bauer. Therefore, even before the launch of the two up2parts software solutions, an intensive pilot customer phase took place that yielded numerous insights. "Direct feedback from pilot customers enabled us to make the software even more user-friendly and practical," says Bauer. Thanks to the agile approach of up2parts software development, optimization suggestions could always be implemented promptly. "Our speed has impressed the pilot customers," the managing director is pleased to say. Particularly pleasing: all pilot customers have decided to use the paid version of the software as well. Bauer: "The customers quickly recognized the economic benefits of our software. We didn't have to do any further convincing."

Young company plans further growth - participation by DMG MORI

Numerous other solutions for digitalization in manufacturing are already in the pipeline. Today, the young up2parts GmbH already employs around 50 people, and further growth is almost inevitable. Not least due to the strategic partnership with DMG MORI AG, numerous further potentials will arise. "The journey up to here has been very rapid and we are ready for many more small and large steps towards the digital future of manufacturing," says founder Marco Bauer, looking optimistically to the future.