The drive technology and automation specialist Lenze from Lower Saxony has switched its sales and customer service to turbo drive. With three intelligent software solutions that automatically provide the ideal drive solution for every customer: step by step with the Drive Solution Catalogue und Drive Solution Designer programmes, and even faster with the EASY Explorer for beginners.
Customer benefits at a glance
Perfectly orchestrated tools
The range of features of the tools for planning and procurement are interlinked: the Drive Solution Catalogue (DSC) facilitates the selection, configuration and ordering of drive components and complete systems. High quality drive solutions can be quickly designed with the Drive Solution Designer (DSD). It takes over a whole range of engineering tasks including the testing of drive physics, possible alternatives and energy efficiency. Both software tools quickly provide customers and sales staff with sound data and quotations.
DSC – in top gear to the finished product
The Drive Solution Catalogue offers customers and sales representatives quick, secure access to the complex, multi-variant product assortment from Lenze. In just a few short steps, customers and sales representatives can locate a suitable product variant or configure individual geared motors themselves. The complex structure of a drive is made easier to understand for the customer, and the configuration results are already tested for technical feasibility. New products are continually integrated. In addition to this, CAD data for the selected and configured products can be generated with a mouse click, as can EPLAN macros and project planning files for control cabinet planning, and PDF data sheets. With a torque characteristic generator, torque/moment of force curves can be created for almost all types of motor/converter combinations. A shopping basket function allows the customer to send a price request to Lenze.
The Lenze-Group is managed by its holding company, Lenze SE with headquarters in Aerzen near Hameln, Lower Saxony. The global specialist for Motion Centric Automation offers a comprehensive portfolio of products and services. These range from the control and visualisation of electric drives and electrical mechanics to engineering services and tools, all from a single source. Lenze has around 3,300 employees worldwide and has its own distribution companies, development sites and product plants in addition to a service network in 60 countries.
DSD – the software for efficiently planned drive solutions
The Drive Solution Designer allows you to plan complex drive applications. Simply enter the process data and speed profile. The DSD is also equipped with extensive libraries of applications with the corresponding calculations. The programme checks the individual drive components and the complete drive system with regard to the physical requirements and the viable combinations. It presents the results both as an overview and also as a detailed technical protocol.
„We have noted a dramatic improvement in design quality with the DSD…“
In order to view all the potential options, the user can display alternative solutions, based on different concepts and various drive technologies and products. The DSD provides user interfaces to a range of tools such as the Drive Solution Catalogue, and others for kinematics, simulation, commissioning and service, for example Lenze’s L-force Engineer. The DSD provides advanced functions for calculating efficiency including the generation of suggestions for improvement. It can even determine the energy requirements of the DC-BUS connection between multi-axis applications. Calculations of intralogistics and robotics applications are also possible.
Access is extremely simple; the DSC is available online in various versions.
One advantage that our customers particularly appreciate is that with the DSD, they can reduce the number of variants and the cost of their logistics.“
In the DSC version for the Lenze sales department, the software automatically generates quotations with an ERP-compliant price calculation, based on country-specific list prices. DSD generates complex price lists including various discounts and currencies at run-time. It provides the data in various formats, in which it can continue to be used. The transferal of the order data to order processing is integrated. Jörg Wunder, Head of Sales Media at Lenze, explains the advantages of the DSC: „With the intelligent catalogue we do not just generate a competitive edge in the sales process, but also significant synergies in our data management.“
EASY Explorer for a quick overview
In addition to the existing software programme that provides the customer with direct access to Lenze’s solutions, encoway developed the now widely-used EASY Explorer in 2012. Now even users who do not (yet) have comprehensive knowledge of the application and the products to be planned can quickly generate realistic drive solutions. The user only has to select the application (“Driving/Conveying”, “Lifting” or “Revolving”) and enter just a few parameters, and the Easy Explorer immediately directs them to suitable drives. The software searches the entire Lenze product range for the corresponding components and configures various solutions. This initial drive definition even provides CAD and EPLAN macros. To further refine a solution, it can be transferred to the Drive Solution Catalogue. And an even higher level of accuracy can be achieved using the design tool Drive Solution Designer.
In order to allow the EASY Explorer to make not just quick, but also precise and reliable recommendations, encoway designed the software to include a new process to store application knowledge in configurations. “The EASY Explorer addresses the needs of customers and potential clients right at the earliest planning stage,” explained Götz. “This is a clever tool that offers our customers a hands-on introduction to the product.” For Lenze, this new tool means another way to stand out from the competition through outstanding customer services, and to introduce potential customers to the wide range of products available at the earliest possible stage. It can be used free of charge. The Easy Explorer can be found on the Lenze website.
Customer response to the DSD
1,400 of Lenze’s customers and engineers now use the software worldwide. Olaf Götz, Head of Product Management for Engineering Tools at Lenze, stresses the benefits of using the design tool for Lenze and its customers: “We have noted a dramatic improvement in design quality with the DSD and our complete range of software tools. We have always stressed that drive solutions must be dimensioned on the basis of the actual performance profile. Up until now, drives were often designed for maximum loads due to lack of knowledge or misplaced safety concerns, where a smaller system would have been fully adequate for the actual performance requirements and much more efficient. Thanks to the in-depth data generated by the DSD within minutes, the efficiency calculations and our own energy passport, this message can be conveyed much more convincingly.” He adds: “I must also praise the enormous time savings and the complete traceability. This makes it very easy to revise a project at a later date or, for example, to work with the documents of a colleague you are standing in for.”
Diversity can now be managed
DSC and DSD were launched several years ago in order to make the enormous range of variants in Lenze’s product and service portfolio manageable. The modular system for geared motors alone offers 1023 theoretical combinations. Even excluding technically impractical combinations, there are still 109 variants that sales and marketing and especially Lenze customers could work with. Information on this scale would be difficult to present clearly in printed catalogues. These two software tools help with efficient selection and calculation.
Lenze and encoway are working continuously on the further development of the software tools. “We attach great importance to the users’ experience when further developing the functions and usability of the DSD,” reports Karl- Heinz Weber, Team Leader for Tools and Training at Lenze. Users regularly scrutinize new versions at the company and really put the updated DSD to the test.
Lenze products are based on modular system concepts. With the development of the DSC and the DSD, both based on Lenze’s extensive drive know-how, the manufacturer allows its users full access to the vast number of possible combinations. The solutions developed with encoway for the pre-sales phase integrate themselves into the existing systems and processes of the Lenze group, which uses SAP as the main system for the management of product data and object dependencies. The DSC and DSD take the data and object dependencies of the configurable products (KMATs) from the ERP system. In this way the existing product knowledge in the ERP system is usable outside of the base system. If quotation or order data is generated through the engineering tools, this can be automatically transferred to the ERP system. The data is only maintained centrally in the ERP system and can be updated in the engineering tools at the touch of a button. For project work on a drive additional comprehensive knowledge of the application is required. This is maintained in the DSD.
With the DSC and DSD, solutions were created with which customer requirements can be quickly attended to and which ensure that the data and logic remain consistent through the entire business process.
„The development team at encoway has proved it can rise to any new challenges…“
The planning and engineering tools EASY Explorer, DSC and DSD guide customers and sales representatives comfortably and quickly to appropriate drive products and solutions without time consuming queries and tests. They deliver reliable information and useful additional material, for example CAD-data which saves effort in the further work process. User tests show time savings of up to 80% and improvement of both the quotation and design quality. The tools offer optimum support during the planning phase and also take the entire product life cycle of a machine or plant into account. Olaf Götz sums up the DSC: „The Drive Solution Catalogue shows the entire product range extremely clearly. It simplifies the selection of products and drive systems and provides a wide range of engineering information. Accessories are selected that perfectly match the product.“ Karl-Heinz Weber, head of Lenze’s Tools and Training team expands on the DSD: a benefit that our customers particularly appreciate is that they can reduce the number of variants and their logistics costs. They use DSD at an early planning stage, determine which drive components come into question and design their plant accordingly. The functionalities of the customer product are in no way restricted; in fact they are now able to create 100% consistent mechatronics solutions. As regards the longstanding cooperation with encoway, both confirm that „the development team at encoway has proved it can rise to any new challenges, and is successfully moving the further development forward.“