Digitalisation was the main theme of this year's Domel Awards.
Today, digitalisation is no longer a choice. Digitalisation and the automation of business and manufacturing processes are the key strategic activities for our company's sustainable development. Digitalisation demands changes and the development of new modes of operation in all areas, and employees and corporate culture are the key factors in this.
The event's honorary guest was Vesna Nahtigal, General Manager of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In her opening speech, she congratulated our company for being among the leading businesses in terms of the number of innovation awards conferred by the Chamber of Commerce, with an impressive twelve golden awards over the last twenty years. Nahtigal also touched on the issue of digitalisation and the goals related to improving the current situation in this field in Slovenia. Innovation is key to raising the added value of Slovenian companies. An alliance among science, business and politics will contribute to Slovenia's greater resilience to various crises.
The following awards were presented this year:
- Ten bronze innovation awards to: Blaž Bernard, Borut Fejfar, Erik Omerzel, Kristjan Kostelec, Luka Romič, Tomaž Furlan, Tomaž Pečnik, Tomaž Pegam, Uroš Vrhunc and Tomaž Veber;
- Five silver innovation awards to: Jernej Trojar, Jure Benedičič, Matej Bevk, Robert Rovtar and Robert Špacapan;
- One golden innovation award to:Jernej Primožič;
- An award for the largest number of innovation proposals submitted to: Jernej Primožič;
- Professional innovation project team award to: ZKG motor R&D team, ZKG motors are high voltage motors.
Industrial software that is used in all manufacturing processes requires various modifications and optimisations and, when production needs to be adapted to new products, even entire programs written in various programming languages. This is precisely the area where Jernej Primožič excelled last year. By modifying the software, he improved the response times and significantly reduced the high costs of equipment maintenance. The next challenge Jernej focused on was writing new programs for the winding machines. He also came up with good ideas to improve machine vision and used 3D printing to produce work tools. The solution he introduced for mounting Husquarna motors is working, and the required software has been put in place. Moreover, Jernej earned the golden award both in terms of the ideas he presented and their implementation, as his innovation also saw the most registered and implemented improvements in the past year.
Martin Pintar, manager of the innovation activity, informed us about the number and quality of this year's innovative ideas. Compared to the previous year, there were fewer innovative initiatives, but they were of very high quality in 2022. They were submitted by employees from all departments in the company, which means that the culture of innovation is well established.
In his concluding speech the Chairman of the Board, Matjaž Čemažar, shared some interesting new facts about the practical application of artificial intelligence. He said that digitalisation was an opportunity that our generation can use to increase productivity, and a tool we can apply to achieve our main goal: to increase added value. However, digitalisation is much more than simply the automation of manufacturing processes. Artificial intelligence can write a speech, describe Domel's profile and propose a strategy for its digital transformation, which can include the following: introducing advanced data analytics, preventive equipment maintenance, advanced sensors that monitor energy consumption, placing digital orders and making digital payments, predicting trends and orders, reducing stock and so on. Domel is already using a lot of these applications, but we still have a great deal of work to do in this area. And we should never be afraid to embrace new challenges. Čemažar also highlighted the fact that young but experienced staff are key to our future. With regard to next year’s event, he said that he hopes women would also be among those recognised for their innovations, because they also have great ideas, as has already been proven many times in the past.
The event was accompanied by performances from students of the Škofja Loka Music School.
EC Systems, a business unit operating independently since 1998 under the able leadership of Mr Lojze Demšar, stands out as one of the most successful units within the Domel company. EC Systems manages its own sales, development, technology and quality control, while central services like planning, procurement and logistics support them.
Team and Work Environment
Currently, around 70 dedicated employees are involved in EC Systems’ programmes, primarily hailing from the Selška Dolina region and the vicinity of Škofja Loka. They operate cohesively as a team, conducting regular monthly programme meetings and weekly troubleshooting sessions. The department maintains a seamless flow of information, fostering a productive working atmosphere.
At the end of each year, the sales, development and production leaders present the results of the past year and outline plans for the upcoming year to all employees, including production workers. This inclusive approach ensures that everyone understands their roles and contributions. Additionally, the team comes together twice a year for a summer picnic and a pre-New Year celebration. In the winter, some colleagues even gather for Tuesday evening football matches, strengthening their bonds outside of work.
EC Systems predominantly specializes in fume extraction systems , followed by industrial vacuum cleaners, fuel cells, washing disinfectors and printing machines. Over the last three years, they have actively engaged in hydrogen technology, offering comprehensive solutions for air supply and pumps for hydrogen recirculation. This commitment aligns with their efforts to contribute to a greener future by reducing carbon footprints and preserving the environment for future generations.
In 2023, the largest markets for EC Systems are:
EC blowers find applications wherever:
a) long lifetime is essential, with their minimum expected operational time of 20,000 hours;
b) where the absence of brush dust is required, unlike traditional vacuum units;
c) precision control is required.
The EC blower&pump product range covers various voltages (low voltage, high voltage, DC and AC), with blowers ranging up to 2,500W in power. A global EC blower has been introduced operating at 100–240V, along with CAN communication capabilities for seamless integration with other systems.
EC Systems actively fosters innovation, generating numerous proposals, some of which have received awards. Notably, two Gold Award recipients hail from this business unit.
Since July 2020, a new expansion has been in place to accommodate increased production needs.
EC Systems establish a flexible medium-volume production approach, enabling the assembly of various products within a single shift. Since 2014, they’ve operated on two shifts. This year is expected to see a production increase of approximately 10%. They produce over 300 different blower concepts, necessitating an exceptionally flexible production process.
Sales and Development
Regular market trend monitoring guides EC Systems’ sales strategy, with a focus on identifying market needs before embarking on new product development. They currently serve over 250 different customers. All aspects of product development, including electronics and motor development, are carried out in-house. The development encompasses mechanical, electrical and software aspects.
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