The „Digital Transformation“ is often equated with the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Yet while the topic has dominated the media almost like no other, many are still struggling to grasp its full significance. Although the majority of businesses see great opportunities for growth through digitalization, they are less clear on what concrete steps to take to realize these.
Digitalization affects every industry in a multitude of ways. New business models continually emerge, external competitors open up unexpected market niches, and customer demands and needs never cease to evolve.
In addition, the collection, analysis and intelligent use of big data have become indispensable to creating added value for clients. The cross-linking of data both within the individual company and with business partners results in greater transparency and flexibility.
Yet the potential of digitalization can only be realized if the entire workforce is ready for the digital change, making it paramount to foster acceptance of new processes and motivate staff to critically review established methods and develop new approaches. The success of any digitalization strategy is heavily dependent on this. As entrepreneurs it is our task to promote a culture of open-mindedness and reduce reservations. The well-blended age distribution of staff at NEUMAN & ESSER, including the large proportion of generation Y, is of great value in achieving this aim.
NEA GROUP understands that the digital age presents great opportunities, and has already started pursuing these. In an initial workshop, senior global management quantified the potential digitalization holds for the GROUP, and devised concrete projects. Parallel involvement in the digitalHUB Aachen e.V. network, an association bringing together start-ups and local mid-sized IT companies with potential clients in industry and commerce, is expected to produce additional exciting approaches.
A further novelty in this edition is its structure, which now mirrors the three business units of Compressor Technology, Mechanical Processing Technology and Sealing Technology, with NEA NEWS now featuring articles from STASSKOL. This means readers can now easily find innovations and reference reports in these fields. This year’s anniversary was also a milestone we are pleased to present – 125 years of the Peters Family at NEUMAN & ESSER. We hope you enjoy reading the NEA NEWS and NEA eNEWS!
Stefanie Peters und Alexander Peters
With 2.5 million inhabitants and an annual influx of up to 14 million foreign tourists Dubai has a huge hunger for energy, among other things for desalination of sea water and air conditioning.
The company DUSUP is responsible for energy supply to the Emirate. In 2010, DUSUP built a terminal, which enables the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU). The FSRU is a converted LNG tanker which is permanently moored. The liquefied, -160°C cold LNG is heated here and transported onshore in a gaseous status.
Due to the increased energy demand in Dubai, DUSUP hired Excelerate Energy to provide a larger and more efficient FSRU. Excelerate’s existing FSRU Explorer was not only upgraded to achieve send out rates as high as 1.0 Bcf/d, but it also received additional upgrades. The FSRU now includes an LNG bunker port to service small-scale LNG offtakers, and can also provide gas-up and cool-down services to LNG vessels leaving dry dock.
The 290-meter-long (950ft) and almost 45-meter-wide (150ft) ship has an LNG storage capacity of 151,000 cubic meters. The Explorer covers its own energy requirements with dual fuel generator sets. Engines which can use two fuels such as clean natural gas and cheap diesel are defined as dual fuel engines. This system is currently being implemented in shipbuilding because the exhaust standards in the ports are becoming more stringent worldwide. The upgraded Explorer can therefore also tank dual fuel ships.
Combination of Centrifugal Compressor and Recip
In order to be able to feed the natural gas into the national grid, it must be adapted to the network operator’s requirements. The feeding system for the local pipeline network consists of a combined centrifugal compressor and reciprocating compressor, a joint project by Atlas Copco Gas and Process together with longstanding partner NEUMAN & ESSER (NEA). Furthermore, Atlas Copco Gas and Process, the leading, internationally active industrial company with many years’ experience in the LNG business, provided the supervisory control system.
The suction condition from the LNG tanks for the upstream turbo centrifugal compressor from Atlas Copco is about 1 bar abs. at -140°C (-220°F). The first two compressor stages permanently compress 5,500 kg/h gas to 6.5 bar.
From there, some 1,000 kg/h reach the generators for producing electricity or reliquefying gas in the recondenser. In the next step, the two stage so called send out compressor from NEA supplies some 4,500 kg/h of the 40°C (104°F) natural gas at 70 bar. The recip is running in during energy requirement peaks, loading processes as well as the entire winter period.
The NEA compressor offers the high flexibility of this particularly compact solution. It also works highly efficient under variable operating conditions; its effectiveness hardly changes. Therefore, this combined system consisting of two different compressor principles is ideal for large throughput quantities and non-continuous conditions.
Successful Integration of Two Technologies
As for all offshore machines, this system also requires marine classification. NEUMAN & ESSER definitively has exceptional experience in marine classification. The NEA compressor on the floating liquefied natural gas platform Prelude, the largest swimming factory ever constructed, had to meet the requirements of Marine Class 1A from Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. For this purpose, the compressor had to prove that it can withstand wind gust speeds of up to 330 km/h (205 mph) as well as a maximum wave height of 27.5 m (90ft).
For NEA Project Manager Karl-Heinz Hammes, the challenge was greater than merely the technical aspects of the FSRU project: “Coordination with Atlas Copco Gas and Process was collaborative and at eye level. Nonetheless, it is not easy to integrate both different systems, a centrifugal compressor and a recip, into one configuration. That requires a lot of agreement and communication between everyone involved.” The fact that Karl-Heinz Hammes and his team mastered this task with flying colors can even be seen in the meantime because the system has already been running in the Gulf of Dubai without any problems for several weeks (location of the vessel).
For a new LNG market order, the NEA recips will be found on the cold side this time around. Installation will take place at an LNG terminal in Russia, close to St. Petersburg. NEUMAN & ESSER will deliver two recips at suction temperature of -160°C (-256°F).
Within the course of the collaboration between NEAC Compressor Service in Germany and Dresser-Rand Co. in the USA, further opportunities arose to improve the reliability of reciprocating compressors with NEAC customers’ in several locations.
What do reciprocating compressor operators worry about most when they are equipped with plate valves or ring valves? The response: oil, liquids and process residues. However, in refineries, oil, oily liquids up to aqueous components in gas are everyday occurrences. Short valve running times are often the result.
If long running times are required
NEAC Compressor Service has added a new valve to its portfolio: the “Magnum” Valve. It is not actually new, but in Europe it is an emerging valve. It is a problem solving valve from the USA, where it has already proven its value thousand-fold under tough conditions in Refinery applications for many years. Operators report “dramatic” improvements in running time after changing to Magnum Valves.
The sealing elements are neither concentric rings, plates or “poppets” but small, compact cylindrical sealing elements which all work independently. Wobbling as with plates or rings no longer exist and bending/breakage of valve plate ligaments are eliminated. This makes its robustness of the Magnum Valve self-explanatory. The gas flow is fed through a large number of straight drilled holes which also acts as a multi-bore orifice plate.
Magnum Valves ensure minimum pressure loss, a reduction of the noise level and a potential reduction of gas pulsations in the cylinder. NEAC has verified that the Magnum Valve is equal to or more efficient than the valve it is replacing by measurement and pV diagram analysis.
As few components as necessary
With a view to the often “tougher” applications, Magnum Valves are kept as simple as possible with a few components. Therefore, no replaceable valve seat plates or similar exist. There is only one sealing element for each Magnum Valve type (Standard or HammerHead style) and a total of eight “color coded” springs. With these, all valves are easily repaired worldwide as required with minimal valve spare parts inventory.
Therefore, the repair costs for a Magnum valve are considerably lower than for overhauling a plate or ring valve. It is so easy to overhaul Magnum Valves that any specialist workshop or the operator can do it themselves with simple tools found in any typical maintenance workshop. The success of the Magnum Valves installed by NEAC so far speak for themselves.
NEAC Compressor Service took over the aftermarket support of the HOFER diaphragm and reciprocating compressors in the Oil & Gas segment in Europe. NEAC has served this area for more than 25 years for numerous OEM compressor makes. Martina Frenz interviewed Stefan Damberg, Service Product Manager HOFER in order to gain an insight into his new service world.
How did your customers react to the information that NEAC will provide service support for HOFER machines? The feedback from the HOFER customers was very positive. As expected, the customers with significant problems contacted us first. This comes from the fact that HOFER was not previously geared as a service company, but for capacity reasons only employed three service technicians directly from the works for worldwide deployment.
What services does NEAC offer the HOFER customers? What advantages does this provide you with? The portfolio is large. Thus, HOFER customers can now access a globally acting service organization, enjoy active sales support and trained and certified service technicians are available for servicing, overhauls and repairs. As a Product Manager, I am there to support with improvements and technical solutions.
What conclusions can you draw from the first six months of NEAC service calls? From April until now, we have had some 40 service calls. Initially, four service technicians were trained intensely in theory and practice for one week, a second training phase took on three technicians as the requirements were higher than assumed. Moreover, an electrician was specifically trained for HOFER machines, who “finds his way into” the control technology. So HOFER really keeps us on our toes!
With which customers do you have framework agreements for reciprocating compressors? How is this handled for diaphragm compressors? We already have framework agreements with large refineries, industrial gases operators and further customers. For most of them, the diaphragm compressors were unbureaucratically added to the existing contracts.
With HOFER, NEAC supports the 12th OEM compressor brand. Does the learning curve become steeper with each new license? Virtually vertical with HOFER! The difference with HOFER as opposed to the other OEMs is that we have to do with a living and highly demanding product. This means that conclusions from the service calls flow into the further development and therefore also directly into the manufacturing processes for these machines.
What do you particularly enjoy in your job as a Product Manager? My main task consists in the further development of the HOFER product with regard to service. I “helped out” personally with the first jobs in order to gain a better understanding of the product down to the last detail. The service for diaphragm compressors also includes the motor, valves and the controller. Therefore, it is wider ranging than for reciprocating compressors for which mostly purely mechanical work is needed. An exciting task!
What is the next step at NEAC Compressor Service? On Jan. 1, 2017 phase 2 of the integration of HOFER at NEAC starts. The internationalization will be tackled. Following further training, selected locations such as the USA, Dubai and India will be perfectly prepared for their work.
An important feature of plastics is that their properties such as formability, hardness, elasticity, and strength or temperature resistance vary when additives and fillers are admixed and can be adapted to the needs of the respective application, whereby additives are normally being applied in smaller quantities. Filling materials are primarily extenders which replace expensive raw materials with less costly ones for plastics production. However, some of these also improve various final product properties.
The most frequently used filling materials for plastics are calcium carbonate and talc powder. Calcium carbonate improves the mechanical strength properties and the weathering resistance while talc powder improves stiffness and resistance to thermal distortion.
The particle size distribution of a filling material is a decisive factor for the properties of a plastic. When manufacturing the filling materials, a precisely defined particle size distribution is achieved by grinding and subsequent separation, the so-called classification.
This classification step of the particles is a general requirement after grinding in a mill. While it is preferred to integrate the separation process into the mill itself, external air classifiers are commonly being used. Such is the case especially with ball mills.
Classification of solids with GRC air classifiers
Even prior to grinding, the use of an air classifier can be advantageous. If the feed material for the grinding process already contains a large quantity of desired final product, it makes sense to separate the fine material fraction in advance. Firstly this material no longer burdens the mill and secondly overgrinding of such material is being avoided.
The NEUMAN & ESSER (NEA) air classifier GRC (Guide Ring Classifier) is such an air classifier allowing both types of above mentioned operations.
The initial GRC layout was designed for the classification of roughly 200 μm to 20 μm (1 μm = 0.001mm) particles.
The air classifier divides the so-called feed material into fine material on one side and coarse material on the other side. The size GRC 820 at the NEUMAN & ESSER Test Center achieves throughputs of several tons per hour for medium fineness. For classification in the higher fineness range, throughput is reduced to several hundred kilograms per hour because the number of particles to classify increases exponentially: if 0.1 mm sized particles are crushed to 0.01 mm, the number of particles increases thousand-fold at the same time.
The feed material is fed into the GRC from the top using a vertical pipe. After falling onto a distribution plate above the classifier wheel the material is thrown to the outer diameter of this plate. There, the material drops into a ring gap between the classifier wheel on the inside and the air guidance ring on the outside.
The inflowing air now carries the particles into the classification zone. Here fine particles are allowed to pass whereas too large particles are being rejected.
After passing the classifier wheel the fines leave the classifier housing directly beneath the classifier heading for the downstream filter where the finished product is being discharged from the system.
The rejected fraction drops to the bottom of the housing and leaves it via a discharge airlock.
Multiple improvements provide a revolutionary result
In order to improve the already existing high performance, NEUMAN & ESSER has now made essential improvements to the GRC air classifier.
Ideally a perfect classifier allows only a very specific size of particle and below to pass. Since this is technically not feasible on a production scale the range of particle size above and below the target value defines the quality of such a classifier; the so called “cut efficiency”. The smaller the range, the better the classifier. NEA experts focused on how to intensively separate fine and coarse in the feed material, dispersing as it is called by the experts and on efficiently guiding the material through the GRC classification process.
Only if the solids exist as individual particles in the classifying zone, the classifier can effectively remove the desired fraction from the feed material, thus classifying two precisely defined partial quantities.
The new GRC design features now a distribution cone in the inlet of the feed material above a significantly redesigned dispersing unit. After sliding down the cone and passing the dispersion zone, the material reaches the known ring gap. In contrast to the former design now a virtuously engineered guide vane ring handles the transportation into the direction of the classification zone.
Extensive and detailed testing with the new NEA classifier revealed an unexpected magnitude of improvements not only in yield, throughput and energy consumption but also in the range of achievable fineness. The new design now allows widening the possible fineness range from 200 μm to 2 μm instead of 20 μm!
Different sizes of the revolutionary new GRC air classifier are available for various throughputs and applications not only in plastics but also for minerals, paints and coatings, in the chemical sector or for applications in the food industry, wherever they are needed.
The Balanced Oil Sealing Solution BOSS, which is registered for patent approval, is a new development from the STASSKOL Development Center. The innovative design of this oil wiper system connects excellent scraping effectiveness with gas-tightness inherent in the product. The major components of the BOSS system are two oil wipers and a pressure ring which ensures an axial tension of the system.
This reduces oil leakage to a minimum. Each oil wiper consists of two scraping rings which overlap and have separate scraping edges. These scraping edges are in linear contact to the rod, reducing “oil film floating” and maximizing scraping effectiveness. Moreover, they have a special geometry, which enables a “back pumping effect” due to hydrodynamics.
STASSKOL uses in-house manufactured sealing materials for the BOSS oil wiper system. Comprehensive tests have shown that SK406 and SK901 are most suitable for this purpose.
SK406 is a PTFE (polytetrafluorethylene)-based material, whereas SK901 is manufactured based on PEEK (polyetheretherketone).
Both polymers provide mechanical stability and high wear resistance. This is important in particular because the scraping edges are in a line contact with the piston rod and are therefore subjected to a high contact pressure.
Most of the BOSS sealing elements are manufactured on the CTX800TC. The lathing and milling center from DMG Mori, constructed in 2015, is equipped with state-of-the-art 3D control technology.
Each of the 24 tool stations can optionally be equipped with four tools, meaning that all processing takes place on the main spindle.
That enables the manufacturing of the sealing rings using one single step. Manufacturing thus gains valuable time because set-up time is reduced. Work pieces with diameters of up to 320 mm and a turning length of 250 mm are processed on the CTX800TC.
Established in mid 2015, STASSKOL, Inc. located in Katy, Texas is designed to manufacture the full range of STASSKOL products for both the reciprocating compressor and rotary equipment industry. STASSKOL, Inc. is set up to service the US, Canada and South American OEM markets. The first components were produced in Katy in late 2015 using raw materials produced in STASSKOL located in Stassfurt, Germany.
The manufacturing equipment includes both manual and CNC state of the art production machines, and more will be added as business expands. STASSKOL, Inc. also holds an extensive stock of raw material in order to provide short delivery times as demanded by the US market.
STASSKOL, Inc. started with a total of three employees. Leon Alvarez, Sales Manager, Doug Day, Production Manager and David McFadden, Inside Sales Manager. This has now increased to five with two production operators and will continue to increase as sales and production increase with the addition of further production staff as well as engineering and sales support personnel.
Since production started, STASSKOL, Inc. has steadily increased its customer base and with its OEM only approach being well accepted by the US customers. STASSKOL, Inc. recently received ISO 9001 accreditation under the NEA umbrella and is working on a number of development projects with major new customers. The OEM culture developed by STASSKOL Group meets the expectations of an OEM like Dresser-Rand, a Siemens Business, and both companies are working closely together in providing solutions for this market.
In establishing this first satellite manufacturing facility, STASSKOL has become recognized as a global brand and is now regarded as a key company in the reciprocating compressor industry. The lessons learned will be invaluable as STASSKOL increases the size of its international footprint.
Celebrating anniversaries is a fixed part of tradition at NEUMAN & ESSER. The Official Reception ceremony on the occasion of the 125-year anniversary of the Peters family on June 9 again included several highlights for the approximately 250 guests invited. On this celebratory occasion, both the inner courtyard between the two new annexes and the foyer of the administration building were transformed into an inimitable event backdrop.
Adequate space for the celebratory blessing of the building by the theologian Klaus Ahlert, the ceremonial addresses and a culinary “flying lunch”. Each program item was stylishly accompanied by the cantor and professor Stefan Palm with his daughter Laura on classical instruments.
The speeches were riddled with sustainable messages. A real “hidden champion” was the term used by Marcel Philipp, Lord Mayor of the City of Aachen, when referring to NEUMAN & ESSER and he praised the company’s regional roots which also strengthen the local economy. This is often attributed to the top management of family companies, which is usually geared to a period of 30 years and longer, as Prof. Dr. Peter May, guest speaker and shareholder of his consultancy company of the same name.
During his speech, Klaus Peters provided evidence of this as he strikingly passed the crises and challenges encountered by the first three generations in review. Following this, Alexander Peters knew how to emphasize the catchwords Technology and Quality Leadership as vital prerequisites for the competitive ability of his fourth generation.
“NEUMAN & ESSER has a soul”, as Stefanie Peters resumed during her contribution to the tradition of values within her company and drew attention to the tradition of values within her company and the challenges of Knowledge Management and Digitization of the Economy at the end of the ceremony. In 2030, such a celebratory occasion should recur. Because then NEUMAN & ESSER much looks forward to its 200-year anniversary.
Just two days later, the entire company premises was prepared as for a folk festival. On June 11 the time was ripe for: opening the gates for the big Open Day for the staff and the general public!
No wishes were left unfulfilled by the family anniversary’s program. A look behind the scenes of the plant was also provided, as in the Test Center and the apprenticeship trades. 84 employees and apprentices helped busily with demonstrations of machines and products. Several show acts spread over the company premises ensured excitement, fun and games.
When the influx of visitors reached its record peak of several thousand, the stage became the focus of the event. Because the Peters family provided an insight into the stations of the company’s history and its tradition of values as well as showing its social commitment for charity organizations during the course of an interview.
Thus, this year’s donation of 5,000 EUR went to the Förderverein für Kinder und Jugend Frelenberg. [Booster Club for Children and Youths] As a thank-you the dance groups of the booster club demonstrated their abilities and contributed, in addition to several further attractions, to an unforgettable day. However, the day only ended after sunset for the workforce because the cover band Night in Paris had the task to heat them up with trendy pop and rock. The “NEUMANS” only let the band go after three encores.
Anniversaries never rain but pour at NEUMAN & ESSER. Thus, Maschinenfabrik Wurzen also celebrated its 25th company anniversary as part of the NEA GROUP this year with an Open Day and celebration with the workforce. The course of the program in Wurzen was by no means outdone by the sister company’s at the headquarters.
Thousands of Saxonians were drawn to the company’s premises in order to gain an exciting insight into working life at the machine factory and to have fun with buffoonery and experiments as well as enjoying the cover band Die Eis Boys. On the stage, Lord Mayor Jörg Röglin and County Commissioner Henry Graichen addressed the Peters family with their words of thanks and referred to the importance of the company for further regional development.
As it is also a concern of the Peters family to engage itself socially in the region, the family used the anniversary to hand over a donation of 5,000 EUR to the sports club ATSV “Frisch auf”. The freshness continued in the evening in the festive marquee during the workforce celebration. In addition to the ceremonial speeches by Klaus Peters, Alexander Peters and Chairman of the Workers’ Council Frank Perner, the accolade of the jubilarians who have remained loyal to NEA for 25 years, was a highlight of the event.
Stefanie and Alexander Peters were delighted to congratulate each of the 29 jubilarians personally. Following the official program, the charming singer Telleen together with DJ Steffen knew how to keep the Wurzen colleagues and the delegations from Übach and Stassfurt on tenterhooks until the dancefloor was on fire. At daybreak, the “hard core” maintained with a deep sigh: “We won’t enjoy such a fantastic celebration again so soon!”
For the 4th time, STASSKOL exhibited at the POWTECH, international trade fair for powder and bulk solids technology. At the 3-day trade fair in Nuremberg, primarily shaft seals were in demand. Therefore, the experts from Stassfurt brought along the innovative shaft seal SDP500 in addition to proven standard seals.
This shaft seal was specially developed to seal mixers in vertical installations. Together with other sealing elements and buffer gas, the PTFE core lip seal hinders that powder or dust escape at the mixer’s drive shaft.
Regular customers and potential new customers showed active interest in the innovation. New contacts were made and even first orders written. A further reason for STASSKOL to return to the POWTECH 2017.
As a kick-off to the 3rd International Rotating Equipment Conference IREC, the Peters family had invited the visitors of the 10th EFRC Conference – as one of the three forums – to the Welcome Reception.
Some 250 guests accepted the invitation to the lively Schlösser Bohème in order to drink a toast to the family’s 125th anniversary with Alexander Peters whilst enjoying snacks & beer. From Sept. 14 – 15, the NEUMAN & ESSER GROUP was presented as a double sponsor of the IREC with two booths, lectures and a team of 25 persons.
With some 750 professional visitors from 30 countries, were provided with a wide-ranging program consisting of 141 lectures on compressor, pump and vacuum technology. During the breaks, the visitors used the generous exhibition to obtain information regarding the latest product developments. The Technology Updates sessions enjoyed a large audience.
The conference sponsors placed their advertising messages for their products and companies there – for NEA and HOFER the best platform for the launch of their common “hybrid”. The video provides an overall impression on: www.introequipcon.com
The main topic of the Health Day in August at the German locations this year was preventive health and stress management. Therefore, individual preventive examinations and consultation constituted a large part of the program.
As always, kick-off was opened by Stefanie Peters with a healthy breakfast and plenty of suggestions. This was followed-up by interesting lectures, workshops and trial lessons, intended to sensitize the employees for different topics.
In the keynote speech “Better prevention and care“ by EAP-Assist, a closer look was taken at the topics of general powers of attorney and the redesign of living wills. Both sets of rules ensure that those affected, such as family members, are correspondingly prepared.
Not only were valuable tips provided after vein screening, but also following a heart check-up, during which also the personal stress index was determined, which showed who should take measures to “wind down” a little. The opportunity for this was provided in the “Power napping” workshop, which provided professional instructions for a short power break.
On the other hand, other employees found compensation in “Qi Gong”, a traditional art of movement in Chinese medicine, which promotes concentration capability and increases stress resistance. Many of the participants were so impressed by the trial lesson that they immediately registered their interest in an intensified course. On the other hand, in Staßfurt and Wurzen, a question was pursued which is both posed in working life and everyday life: “What happens to the body when you jump off the forklift or from a staircase?”
For this, the Employers’ Liability Insurance Association provided jump scales in order to visualize the individual forces and loads on the joints and to provide individual recommendations.
The annual event series since 2012 with its multitude of ideas and instructions once again demonstrated this year clearly what is important for a healthier life: the health of each and every employee is a matter close to the heart for the Peters family!
The Apprentices Tour 2016 had highly interesting contents with its focus on guided company tours and the know-how transfer within this context. For this purpose, at the end of September the apprentices and trainers traveled from Übach-Palenberg to Leipzig with an intermediate stop at HOFER in Mülheim. Their new colleagues welcomed them there, and the busload of 50 was able to use the long bus journey to get to know each other. The newly made contacts were furthered during the course of the evening in the lively district in the vicinity of the “Barfußgässchen” in Leipzig.
After meeting the Wurzen and Stassfurt colleagues again on the next day, several guided company tours were on the agenda. Thus, the team, which in the meantime had grown to 95, was able to discover several innovations at STASSKOL when they were familiarized with the mill room, the 3D gauge arm and the hydraulic press with a press capacity of 630 tons.
The program was topped by a visit to the NEA supplier of many years’ standing EMDE Industrietechnik who provided a deep insight into model shaping, the casting of molded parts weighing several tons and in one of the largest NEA crankcase to everyone’s surprise. What an experience, these “physical elemental forces” when compared with the utmost precision of NEA machining mechanics!
Despite the “lively” night in a karaoke bar, the Wurzen apprentices presented their location and with it their workplaces to their young colleagues early next morning. They mastered that brilliantly. With a feeling of having gained thousands of impressions, everyone started the homewards journey and asked themselves: “Are we going to exceed the 100-person mark in 2017?”
In September, Stefanie und Alexander Peters welcomed 30 employees from Germany, the USA, Brazil, Italy, Thailand and India for a one-week NEA Engineers Meeting in Übach-Palenberg, Germany. Karl Josef Kremers from NEA Deutschland, the organizer of this event, used the new open-plan office in order to prepare it for multimedia in accordance with his purpose.
The meeting was mainly concerned with the work processes and the question as to how the NEA GROUP will develop under the influence of the new CAD and SAP tools.
Within this context, the motto “Single Source of Truth”, which says that technical data on a drawing, order or dispatch list need only be entered once in the future was given particular attention. Rüdiger Schaaf and Mike Gorgas illustrated the data flow for it with the new software tools, most impressively, from creation of the drawing up to delivery.
The meeting was supplemented with further expert contributions by colleagues from international locations, but also from the headquarters. Thus, Franz-Josef-Ritzen also shed light on the compressor business markets and Andreas Hirschter several new areas of application. However, the highlight was the common trip to Mülheim. There, the new HOFER colleagues presented the product range, manufacturing as well as the innovative concept for the new hybrid.
The final conclusion: following the intense exchange, we are all looking forward to the SAP start at NEA Deutschland and NEA Mahl- und Sichtsysteme at the beginning of next year and also the colleagues far away from the headquarters are impatiently waiting for the “go-ahead” at their locations.
In 2015 Stefanie and Alexander Peters launched a structured process to develop Strategy 2020, involving all members of German senior management and the Managing Directors from the GROUP’s international subsidiaries. The individual goals and activities envisaged in this strategy for the three business segments of Compressor Technology (CT), Mechanical Processing Technology (MT) and Sealing Technology (ST) were then condensed into a single all-encompassing brochure.
Five primary strategic aims, each closely connected to the fundamental values of NEA GROUP, were formulated for each business unit. These include the flexibility to market requirements and a 360° quality of products and processes. The development of intelligent solutions, and the resulting product and process optimization, are intended to increase customer value even further. The primary aims have been broken down for the individual business segments and regions.
Both strategic and operative actions were devised to help achieve the objectives within the planned time frame. These were split into general and department-specific actions for each subsidiary, so that now a list of relevant measures that will help employees achieve the targets is available to every member of staff.
This year the goals and activities were reviewed for the first time across all business units and companies within the GROUP. Some measures have been completed, and new ones will follow – this is a rolling process, with a time frame of about five years envisaged. Every member of staff at NEA GROUP identifiying with and implementing the targets of Strategy 2020 is now of prime importance. The brochures set out in the appropriate local languages for our worldwide employees, along with regular updates are playing their part in achieving this.
As the networking trend in the world of work continues, even more traditional industries such as mechanical and plant engineering cannot help but embrace it. In this spirit, Managing Partners Stefanie and Alexander Peters organized a workshop to sensitize NEA’s senior management for “The Potential of Digitalization for NEA GROUP”.
Under the direction of the Institute for Industrial Management FIR, the one-day event featured a keynote speech and four subsequent workshops, run as a “World Café”. The open atmosphere inspired lively exchanges on the current status of the various business areas and their strengths and weaknesses.
This discussion not only helped to identify potential for development, it also revealed that, in terms of internal transparency and data networking, NEA already stands on a solid foundation. Three thematic blocks will now build on this basis to quickly create added value: the digital type plate, the NEA App, which will provide a handy calculation tool, and the Smart Services, all of which will be implemented with the help of partners.
It is no secret that networks and platforms help to explore and realize digital potentials through best practice examples and cooperation. NEUMAN & ESSER is therefore involved in the digitalHUB Aachen e.V. network, an association of 100 representatives from various industries, who all appreciate the importance of digitalization for their businesses. Founded in July, the digitalHUB brings together start-ups and mid-sized IT companies with potential clients for digital services in industry, commerce and science.
By providing practical support throughout the digitalization process and help with reviewing and developing business models, the association actively contributes to improving a company’s standing. As an easily-accessible meeting point for users and service providers, the HUB offers services from a digitalization checkup to launching joint innovation projects. It is now in the hands of everyone involved in the hub to make sure it picks up speed – there certainly is a market for it!
The campaign to sensitize staff to data security has now been launched at all NEA sites worldwide. The leaflet that helped to get it off the ground, with its clear message and innovative flap mechanism, triggered a very positive response across the board.
Stefanie Peters and Thomas Kloke explained the aims and technical context of the campaign in detail to the staff in Germany. Using clear examples, they illustrated how easily users can fall prey to elaborate scams. One potential weak link is formed by social media platforms, which fraudsters target to harvest personal details about an employee’s life. This information is then used for “social engineering”, i.e. to send seemingly trustworthy emails from what appears to be a familiar sender. Whichever approach the fraudsters take, they all share the same goal: tapping sensitive company data for blackmail or other illegal purposes.
Thomas Kloke explained the technical precautions NEA GROUP takes, against hazardous malware, or ransomware. However, he emphasized that it is the individual PC user who forms the only effective firewall of last-resort, preventing viruses from infecting the company network. This means it is crucial for each and every employee to be aware of this responsibility and adjust their habits accordingly. The tips given on how to protect a computer proved valuable advice for all NEA users, and equally useful for private internet use.
From now on there will be regular updates on potential hazards and technical measures. The data theft market is rapidly evolving – keeping a watchful eye is the best way to face this challenge together.
■ Since November 2016: General Manager at NEUMAN & ESSER (Beijing) Co., Ltd.
■ Born on March 19, 1979, in Tianjin, China, married, one son
■ Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering & Automation at Beijing Information Science and Technology University
■ Sales Director for Industrial Steam Turbine at Siemens Limited China
■ Head of Proposals for Turbo Compressor at Siemens Limited China
■ Technical Support & Project Manager at Triastoria Group
■ Project Engineer and Commissioning Engineer at SHC Globe Energy Ltd.
■ I&C Engineer at AT&M Co., Ltd.
■ Running, Basketball, Reading