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MANUFACTORY the very beginning. “We were the first to provide solutions for both AC and DC charging for the American, European, and Asian markets. It is not for no reason that the CCS type 2 connector is still known as the Phoenix Contact connector throughout the world.” Demand grew exponentially. And it presented the young team, which was actually extremely accomplished, with some quite unusual challenges. “Setting up a production line is part of our daily routine at Phoenix Contact. The big challenge here, though, was that there were no templates, no blueprints. Not for the products, not for the tools, not for production. After all, who else had already started working in the field of e-mobility back then? Because of this, we first had to find suppliers for tools, machines, and cables. If we hadn’t had Phoenix Contact “Cable preparation is and will remain skilled work.” Bodo Finken, Production Manager Phoenix Contact E-Mobility on our business card, 99 out of 100 suppliers would almost certainly have turned us away without a thought.” Finken recalls, “Representatives from of the largest suppliers in the field of cable preparation sat right here and insisted on referring to their standard catalog. At the time, they were completely disinterested in the low volumes.” Since then, Phoenix Contact has found e-mobility partners with similar setups, and who are just as engaged in driving electromobility forward. The next step After one and a half years, the orders began to increase to hundreds of connectors per order. “We were now at a point where we had arrived in a small-scale-production world, with new demands on the organization of our work. Our charging connectors and charging sockets were high-quality, safe, and tested products, but not yet suitable for true series production.” A steep learning curve for the small team. Even today, developers, engineers, and production staff still come together in joint meetings to tweak the system to increase output. “Nobody is better than anyone else in these meetings; we use plain language so that we can achieve improvements together.” An exchange between equals – in Bodo Finken’s opinion, this is a decisive key to today’s success. “As always, we are in a situation where we do classic fundamental research here followed right immediately by building a prototype in a workshop right next door. Speaking with colleagues there is like taking part in a lecture on electrical engineering. It is fascinating when you think that our colleagues are already working on products that will not reach us for several years.” Developments that also led to fundamental research in production. What began back then with a few sketches on paper has now turned into intelligent worker assistance systems. What seems so obvious today is the result of years of fiddling around. “The workstations are designed mainly by those who use them,” Bodo Finken explains on a short tour of the vastly increased production facility. “But cable preparation is and will remain skilled work. Thanks to the close feedback – from development all the way to production at the individual workstations and employees – we have been able to significantly optimize a number of processes and products.” Bodo Finken is an expert in industrial engineering. With rapidly growing demand, the challenges placed on production increase 14 UPDATE 5/20 The Phoenix Contact innovation magazine