FRIMA Emden: CAE software and ECLASS product data for best results in switch cabinet construction

Comprehensive documentation, an extensive portfolio, varying uses: these are the challenges that FRIMA GmbH & Co. KG from Emden are part of their daily business. The company supplies customers worldwide with stone machines for a wide range of applications, from concrete block plants to finishing systems. Here, the “German Engineering” of the northern German company stands for quality. The CAE system ProPlan, which has been used from the beginning, has played a decisive role in this.

The success story began with the founding of FRIMA in 2004. In the meantime, the East Frisian family business is active worldwide and has a branch office in the United Arab Emirates, among other places. Johann Ottersberg, responsible for the electrical design of the hardware, was there from the very beginning. Also on board from the very beginning: the ProPlan CAE software from the AmpereSoft ToolSystem. And that pays off, because the challenges for designers have steadily increased over the years. Without the software, for example, the required documentation proofs could only be realised with disproportionately high effort.  Ottersberg and another FRIMA engineer use the solution to create assembly, terminal, connection and network diagrams and achieve excellent results.

Machine for the industrial production of stone products
FRIMA uses ProPlan for the engineering of a wide variety of production plants © Frima GmbH & Co. KG

FRIMA plants: rich in variants and in demand worldwide

FRIMA offers a comprehensive product portfolio – from small, easy-to-operate compact machines that can be loaded onto trucks and transported to different locations, to large machines weighing several tonnes for manufacturing a wide variety of products in large quantities. In addition, the stone machine manufacturer from northern Germany also responds to individual customer requests and is characterised by a particularly high degree of flexibility. This enables FRIMA to meet a wide range of requirements under varying conditions. For Ottersberg, this is one of the things that makes his work so appealing: “Our machines are used to produce paving stones, kerbstones, hollow blocks and many other products. That is varied”.

But it is not only the varying purposes that determine the respective requirements. The most diverse solutions are also in demand in the various target markets. FRIMA delivers all over the world, whether to Los Angeles or Myanmar, to India or the United Arab Emirates. One thing is clear: everyone has their own wishes that need to be fulfilled. Systems for the German market can hardly be delivered unchanged to Russia, the USA or the Emirates. The products have to comply with the special guidelines of the country where they will be used.

Large switch cabinet planned with the AmpereSoft tool system
The switchgear from Frima in Emden is characterised by a high degree of complexity.

The AmpereSoft ToolSystem combines helpful software tools that support the engineering process. Users benefit above all from the shared use of data that has been collected once. As part of the ToolSystem, ProPlan is linked to MatClass. The independent material management tool based on the cross-industry ECLASS ADVANCED standard organises the very detailed technical information for a product so precisely that the engineering process can be software-supported and automated. This applies to configuration (Configurator), flexible quotation calculation (QuotationAssistant), demonstrably reliable heat calculation in the control cabinet (TemperatureCalculator) and automated processing in the circuit diagram, right through to smart manufacturing support. In addition, the ToolSystem contains the ToolDataManager, a cross-project search and maintenance tool.

Specific requirements for different tasks

FRIMA systems have to fulfil different tasks and are designed for precisely this broad performance spectrum: Around 500 changeable parameters make it possible to achieve an optimal result for the specific demands of the users. This makes the planning of the systems, which are divided into four areas, all the more complex:

  • Mixing and dosing
  • Wet side
  • Dry side
  • Vehicle groups

Approximately 450 working hours must be calculated for the hardware design of the four areas alone. Accordingly, the selection of the CAE system used is of central importance. If problems arise, for example because the software used is not tailored exactly to the requirements, this could quickly lead to delays in the entire plant construction. The resulting delay in delivery would at least cause dissatisfaction on the customer side, but in the worst case it could also be the reason for serious financial losses. To avoid such a scenario, FRIMA relied on ProPlan right from the start of the company.

Portrait of Johann Ottersberg

“We knew about the qualities of the programme and knew the big price advantage over the market-leading product.” (Johann Ottersberg)

The decision in favour of the system was not difficult. “Our advantage was that we already knew the system from our previous employer and had used it there in practice,” Ottersberg recalls. “So we knew about the qualities of the programme and also knew about the great price advantage compared to the market-leading product.” To this day, FRIMA is happy with the decision it made back then.

Open interfaces and fast support

FRIMA’s ordering system was also automated with ProPlan. Thanks to open interfaces, the programme could easily be connected to the company’s ERP system. Thus, parts lists can be exported from ProPlan and fed into the ordering system to trigger an ordering process.

The high level of satisfaction on the part of FRIMA also stems from the comprehensive services AmpereSoft offers. Ottersberg reports that customer requests are always responded to promptly and in a solution-oriented manner. “AmpereSoft is much more agile and flexible than the market leader, for example. Thus, the cooperation is more like a partnership than a service provider-customer relationship. FRIMA can always rely on AmpereSoft’s fast and comprehensive support. “You immediately get to talk to real technicians who are noticeably interested in solving the problem instead of having to deal with an often unhelpful first-level support first.”