Kempower – a digital twin enables a leap in productivity

A digital twin helped Kempower simulate different production scenarios in advance and make productivity-enhancing decisions regarding the layout and resourcing of its production facility. This improved overall lead times and kept production up with the rapid growth of the business.

The cooperation in brief

Rapid growth requires optimization of production

Kempower is constantly striving to improve production flows and remove bottlenecks, as production needs to keep up with the growth prospects. In early 2023, it was decided to rationalize the layout of the plant.

A digital twin offered crucial information to support decision-making

A digital twin built with Pinja helped to simulate different production scenarios and see in advance what kind of layout and resourcing would optimize production and increase productivity.

Productivity jumped to the next level

The digital twin provided a much-needed fast track to quickly jump to the next level of productivity. Without the digital twin and the simulation it enabled, decision-making would have required testing changes in the field in an already busy production plant.

Finding the best layout was much faster with the help of Pinja’s simulation. A big advantage was that the simulation model provided a direct visual representation of how production runs with a realistic workload.

Jyri Ruotsalainen, Production Manager

Towards a cleaner and quieter living environment

Operating in the Nordic countries, Europe, and the United States, Kempower wants to be at the forefront of sustainable production. It is committed to full carbon neutrality by 2035, and full recyclability of its products by 2025. Already today, its products have a 99% recyclability rate – considering the entire life cycle of the EV fast chargers.

Demand for Kempower products is driven by their timeliness and the growing necessity: electric transport helps make living environments cleaner and quieter. Important elements in Kempower’s success include a modular and scalable charging system and world-class software designed by electric car drivers for electric car drivers.

Rapid growth requires clear decisions in production

Kempower is a relatively young company but has had a positive and rapid development. A key element of the production arrangements has been to prepare for growth. To produce products at the pace required by growth, production capacity and resources must be in line with demand – without compromising quality.

– Our goal is to be a major player in the rapidly growing electric vehicle charging market. The opening of new production plants in North Carolina, USA last year and in Finland this year is a testament of our growth. The market is very broad, so we also have great potential for growth, says Production Manager Jyri Ruotsalainen.

The cooperation with Pinja was started explicitly to prepare for growth. Kempower wanted to know how to manage production, where to invest resources wisely, and how to avoid potential bottlenecks. Together, Kempower and Pinja built a digital twin to simulate and pre-test different production scenarios.

– Finding the best layout was much faster with the help of Pinja’s simulation. A big advantage was that the simulation model provided a direct visual representation of how production runs with a realistic workload, Ruotsalainen says.

Optimizing resources, minimizing intermediate stocks, and improving overall lead times

At Kempower, the issues studied in the simulation included staffing needs, workstation needs, machine times, production efficiency, and waiting times. The combination of the practical experience of the staff and the digital twin resulted in increased productivity, optimized resources, and minimized intermediate stocks.

– Simulation is a good way to highlight redundant work, so in terms of Lean thinking, it helps to eliminate waste. This helps improve overall turnaround time by avoiding unnecessary intermediate stocks between different stages of the work. It is never desirable for products to stand still, Ruotsalainen says.

Ruotsalainen was responsible for the project implementation, testing and usage of the digital twin in practice on Kempower’s side, and acting as a developer in production. He says that the project required work within the organization, especially at the beginning, as he did not have all the information ready for the project.

– However, I didn’t find the project too demanding, as we were told in advance what the project required of us and why. We understood the impact the information that we acquired had on the process. For example, you need to know the working times before you can simulate production, Ruotsalainen says.

Productivity jumped to the next level

Ruotsalainen describes the digital twin built by Pinja as a tool to support the development of their production. Seeing and analyzing production visually through the system is much faster than having production staff test the same things themselves at the plant.

– The digital twin guided us to focus on the right things. It also confirmed and visualized our own conclusions. We could immediately see if something was becoming a bottleneck. With one click, we were able to add, say, one employee, and see if it was enough to ease the situation with the same workload, or if more workstations were needed, Ruotsalainen explains.

The building and deployment of the digital twin was a project that took about three months in total. During the project phase, work was carried out closely together, and progress was monitored on a weekly basis.

– Overall, the project went well, and we were kept informed about the progress of the work. We had just the right number of meetings and the work stayed on track. This was a great help for us in our strong growth and in taking our productivity to the next level, Ruotsalainen says.

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