Manufacturing automation from batch size 1

by SOFLEX Fertigungssteuerungs-GmbH

  • 6/11/2021

Solution description

The goal of the automation project was to increase productivity, ensure quality, minimize downtime and shorten delivery times. A Kuka robot interlinks four DMG machining centers, the workpieces are provided via 4 central setup stations and temporarily stored for the unmanned shifts. This ensures optimum utilization of the machine tools.

At the center of the plant is the SOFLEX control system, which organizes and controls all manufacturing processes. Furthermore, the SOFLEX control system is integrated into the company's IT network, thus ensuring the flow of information between the company's organizational systems and the automated plant.

Project highlights:

  • A Kuka robot KR 500 R2830 F interlinks four DMG machining centers, loads and unloads the setup-stations, thus ensuring optimum utilization of the machine tools.
  • As a result, the four machining centers operate fully automatically around the clock..
  • For a maximum working area the Fortec robot is combined with a linear unit: it moves on the 18 meter long KL 1500-3 axis.
  • The SOFLEX control system has been fully integrated into the company network (organizational information flow) to ensure the automatic provision of NC and tool data for the machines. 
  • The control system also plans the production orders and is controlling the order flow, provides all the operating data for the manufacturing flow and supports the operator through the manufacturing process (display of work instructions, status of the plant components and alarms, etc.).


  • Automated production starting with batch size 1;
  • Control system integration into the internal digital data flow;
  • 24/7 production: the storage space with machine pallets enables provisioning of the machine even during unmanned shifts
  • Shorter cycle times for production orders through dynamic planning;
  • Time saving for setup operations through the automated provisioning of raw materials to the setup stations;
  • Support of the operators through display of information regarding standing operations, instructions, drawings and geometrical      data, status of the plant components, etc.;
  • Machine and operating data collection for the subsequent evaluation and process optimization.

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Integratred IoT services

  • Process planning & optimization

Application processes

  • Convey (e.g. intralogistics)
  • Measurement, inspecting, testing
  • Mechanical processing (sawing, grinding, deburring, polishing)
  • Load- & unloading of machine tools


  • Industrial machinery

Installed robot brands