Digital Factory at ELABO

“The more that is visualized in advance, the easier it is for employees to imagine how they should work in the future.” Marcus Adolph, Technical Director ELABO

ELABO masters a smooth relocation with a detailed digital factory model

  • Situation: In view of growing demand, ELABO expanded its production facilities to an impressive 14,000 square meters.
  • The challenge: integrating new machines and restructuring existing facilities.
  • The solution? A digital twin of the factory that provides the latest information and a detailed model for precise planning.

The advantages of having a digital model of the factory are easy to see, but not always easy to implement. Up-to-date material data is required and often requires in-depth knowledge, CAD programs and time-consuming modeling work. Are you also interested in the benefits of digital planning, but don’t where to start with this seemingly overwhelming process? ELABO was confronted with a similar dilemma and found an optimal solution for the expansion of their new factory using NavVis and ipolog.

Das Unternehmen ELABO

ELABO GmbH is an internationally recognized supplier of industrial equipment which specializes in intelligent workstations and completely self-sufficient assembly, measuring and testing equipment for both contract manufacturing and series production. For example, the company produces ergonomic programming stations for refrigerator panels, thus demonstrating its extensive know-how in these special areas.

ELABO was founded in 1972 and is based in Crailsheim, southern Germany. The company’s goal is to continually develop new solutions and competencies to meet the needs and requirements of its customers. This entails a concentrated focus on customer service from design planning and installation of equipment to setting new standards in the field of Industry 4.0.

Initial situation and challenges for ELABO

Due to the increased demand for its products, ELABO decided to expand its production facility. The planned expansion would increase the factory size to 14,000 square meters. Due to this expansion, new machines had to be added and existing machines needed to be moved. This mix of rescheduling existing machines and purchasing new equipment was a major challenge for ELABO.

ELABO wanted to create a digital twin for its own factory so that it could later offer its own customers a similar service in their planning processes. However, creating a digital twin for the planning phase requires up-to-date information, a very detailed model and employees who understand how to interpret the data. This usually involves in-depth knowledge, CAD programs or other drawing programs and very tedious, time-consuming modeling work.

Goals and solutions for ELABO

The solution to ELABO’s problems was a result of the combined power of NavVis and ipolog. They created a combined digital factory solution for the planning challenges arising from factory equipment, machines and assembly lines.

  • NavVis GmbH is a leading provider of digital recording technology for large commercial and industrial properties. They use indoor mapping, visualization and navigation technologies to more easily visualize complex spaces such as production facilities. 
  • ipolog GmbH is a leading expert in 3D planning and visualization.

The factory building was first captured in a 3D model by NavVis. Then the data could be entered and visualized in the patented ipolog software. This allowed for the clear visualization of changes to the factory without requiring a CAD system or time-consuming modeling. Design changes could be applied and evaluated with the click of a mouse, and all planning information was summarized using one software. For example, ELABO was able to simply move existing machines around in the model, visually see the effects of this change and then find the ideal location.

This led to better cross-departmental cooperation and better insight for all employees. With the indoor mapping function of NavVis and the 3D visualization ipolog software, ELABO gained a complete overview of the factory expansion already in the initial planning phase.

See for yourself

Take a look at how the 3D visualisation of the factory has helped ELABO to plan and optimise its digital factory.

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Solution steps using digital factory planning

1. Scanning the site conditions

With the mobile chart system NavVis M6 for indoor use, a total of 14,000 square meters were scanned in only 6 hours.

2. Viewing the 3D data

The current status of the facility was visible to everyone with the help of the 360-degree panorama in the NavVis IndoorViewer.

3. Data integration

The scanned data was imported into the simulation software ipolog to create a realistic representation of the current plant layout.

4. Layout planning of the new facility

ipolog enabled optimized workflow planning before a single change was made to the shop floor layout.

5. New way of communicating

The digital factory model in ipolog enabled more holistic and open communication between management, employees, authorities, union representatives and plant safety engineers.

6. Implementation

After optimizing the model, the new factory was implemented and the planned changes in the production planning of the existing factory were made.

7. Continuous optimization

Once the new factory is completed and the proposed changes have been made, the factory will be rescanned to ensure that the plan is implemented correctly.

These successes speak for themselves

Model with actual data

The combined digital factory solution from NavVis and ipolog includes everything from scanning to visualization and simulation. This solution captures the actual data required to create a digital twin while minimizing production interruptions.

Shortened implementation time

The ability to plan the move, additional workstations and updated workflows in a highly detailed digital model results in a shorter implementation time and a much smoother transition.

Better involvement of employees

The 3D visualization also allows employees to be more involved, so that they can familiarize themselves with the changes at their workstations before the changes are implemented.

Continuous optimization through current 3D model

The 3D model can be updated regularly so that production facilities can continue to be optimized in the future. Following the successful transition to a digital factory, ELABO is now ready to help its customers do the same.

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