Industry 4.0 is at the gates

10/11/2018

Investing in the future

Too many orders, too little space — that was the situation facing the enterprise Holler Tore from southern Styria. Holler Tore has built a good reputation as a company that is both innovative and flexible, so it is little wonder that it ended up receiving more orders than it could handle with the limited facilities it had available. The company decided to spend a substantial amount on a large-scale project for expanding its capacity, intensifying research on new materials and homing in on the Industry 4.0 trend.

[Translate to Englisch:] Foto von Schweissarbeiten bei Holler Tore

A malfunction of the factory gates is a more than unpleasant situation for any business — a situation that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. ‘We’re the only manufacturer in Europe capable of delivering an oversized and specially coated automatic industrial gate within 24 hours in cases of emergency,’ Ewald Holler, managing director of Holler Tore, proudly points out. With this know-how, Holler Tore has been able to help more than just a few enterprises out of a fix on short notice — for instance when a gate at a natural gas hub operated by the Austrian oil and gas company OMV was damaged so badly that it could not be repaired on site. Holler Tore was able to deliver a replacement the next day, finished in OMV’s corporate blue. ‘For jobs like that, our competitors have lead times of three to four weeks until delivery. It would have cost the client serious money to have guards patrol there during that entire period,’ says Ewald Holler.  

More space for innovations

After years of steady growth, Holler Tore eventually hit the limits of its capacity. It was clear that the company would have to spend a considerable amount of money on an expansion of its facilities. With a total investment of around EUR 1.13 million, co-funded by the IGJ/ERDF programme, Holler Tore built a production facility with a surface area of 1 200 square metres, purchased new machines and set up a central research and development workshop. ‘In our R&D centre, we’re working on new materials for gate construction. Steel is still the standard, especially for connecting elements, but we’re exploring alternative composite materials that are more resistant to wear and rust,’ Ewald Holler explains. In recognition of its achievements, Holler Tore has received the Styrian business award “Primus”.

Designing systems that auto-detect irregularities

Following the Industry 4.0 trend, Holler Tore also plans to create gate systems capable of transmitting data over an international network. Today, once a gate leaves the factory, the company usually no longer has direct access to the product. But that is about to change. Holler Tore plans to create networked systems to be able to inform its clients in due time about any irregularities that may occur. ‘If the motor tends to overheat, that may be an early warning sign of an impending malfunction. Or if the data shows that a gate is used much more frequently than expected, it may be a good idea to reduce the maintenance intervals,’ says Holler. It goes without saying that the data is transmitted in encrypted form and only with the user’s permission. Companies can also choose to analyse the data themselves.

Holler Tore sells its systems primarily to big manufacturing companies, governmental organisations and other public-sector institutions. The Holler Tore client list includes big names such as Airbus, the Royal Air Force, Mercedes, Siemens and voestalpine. The company’s biggest assets are flexibility and speed. ‘We’re an owner-managed business with a compact, streamlined organisational structure. This means that we’re able to make decisions on the spot, without having to ask a board of directors first.’

Ewald Holler points out that the support provided by the European Union was invaluable for the business expansion project, which allowed the company to create 15 new jobs and increase its headcount to 100. ‘We already have a new project in the pipeline. We’ll certainly apply for EU co-funding again,’ Holler says.

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