Smart Factory for Water Meters

Lorenz GmbH & Co. KG

Lorenz GmbH & Co. KG has reorganized its production digitally and transparently for the latest generation of wireless water meters. Software Factory was given the task to create a new production control and production line system of the new plant, which was adept with modern technologies such as IoT, IT security, intelligent apps and production data processing. In addition, it had to take into account the requirements of production for lots, which vary in size.

The goal of Lorenz, the leading German manufacturer of flow meters, was to implement a new, efficient production of intelligent wireless water meters that, in conjunction with networked water supply and billing, would improve Lorenz’s market opportunities. For the production of this new generation of water meters, a new production line was to be set up together with the sister company ITQ. Software Factory took over the necessary redevelopment of a fully integrated production control and production line system.

Lorenz wanted to network the data structures in the company so that not only the parameters in the production could be digitally controlled but also data security and encryption of the product data. The challenge was to integrate the different IT system worlds and to standardize the new forms of decentralized information provision from the planning to the shop floor level.

After the analysis phase at Lorenz, ITQ and Software Factory had been commissioned to develop the best possible combination of digitalization, shop floor management, production planning, material flow control and plant automation. The cornerstones of the system today are customized ERP and MES applications, including Scada functionality and augmented reality scenarios.

Digitaler Wasserzähler Lorenz

Digital Production with Augmented Reality and IIoT

ThingWorx continues to develop IIoT applications for production control and system monitoring. The machine and production data acquired via ThingWorx are transformed into AR experiences with the Augmented Reality solution, Vuforia Studio by PTC, and are then displayed to the user via Vuforia View. The model simulation and the construction of a digital twin were used and were realized with the PTC Windchill Modeler Suite (formerly PTC Integrity Modeler Suite). The digital twin is used prior to the production of the water meters to detect potential problems before production.

Since mid-2018, the production of intelligent water meters has been running, which can be integrated into common radio systems and automatically communicate the consumption to the water supplier for simple and economical cost accounting. Thanks to the successful digitization project of Lorenz, ITQ and the Software Factory, Lorenz was included in the list of ‘100 Places for Industry 4.0’ by Allianz Industrie 4.0 Baden-Württemberg. Furthermore, due to the innovative design of the production plant, the manufacturer received the award from the Württemberg Department of Economics as “A Model Company for the Production of the Future”.

„I’m impressed by our smart production process. Simulating changes using the digital twin allows us to detect potential errors in advance. It’s a very innovative way to increase productivity and quality.“

– Wilhelm Mauß, CEO at Lorenz

Learn more about Lorenz GmbH & Co. KG

Lorenz is a specialist for flow measurements and a technological leader in apartment, house and bulk water meters in Germany. Founded in 1963, the medium-sized family business today produces more than 1 million water meters per year with more than 160 employees working at the Schelklingen site near Ulm. Lorenz has received numerous awards for research and development as well as for corporate responsibility and sustainability. For instance, Lorenz has been awarded the VR Innovation Prize of the Volksbanken-Raiffeisenbanken, the value seal “Ethics in Business” from the University of St. Gallen as well as government initiatives such as”100 Companies for Resource Efficiency” and “100 Places for Industry 4.0”.

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