Digital manufacturing and its role in W.A. Pfeiffer’s business growth [VIDEO]

By Alessandro Cereseto

W. Andreas Pfeiffer – Maschinen- und Apparatebau manufactures precision components for a wide variety of applications such as optical devices, machinery, and medical technology. This relatively small but highly successful company competes globally with only 25 employees and 16 CNC machines in their production facility in the picturesque town of Zirndorf, Germany.

By using the digital manufacturing capabilities of Siemens Xcelerator, W.A. Pfeiffer transformed their operation, manufacturing high-quality products and continuously growing the business, despite the highly competitive global market. 

Building a seamless digital manufacturing process

Operating as a small company, W.A. Pfeiffer faced difficulties in growing and increasing new capabilities at their location, as the facility cannot be physically expanded further. Andreas Pfeiffer, CEO, recognizes  the challenging circumstances but knows embracing digitalization would provide its operations with a competitive edge. “The goal is to achieve higher production automation and end-to-end connectivity so that we can reduce set-up times and minimize throughput times,” said Andreas Pfeiffer, CEO.

To eliminate these challenges, W.A. Pfeiffer now operates as an all-encompassing digital CAD/CAM/CNC chain to transform the business into a digital machine shop.

For W.A. Pfeiffer the Teamcenter PLM software helps with the management of all the data for the part manufacturing process, which begins with the incoming customer order. 3D data is seamlessly transferred from Teamcenter to NX CAD/CAM to generate programs for the CNC machines. Using Mcenter, formerly SINUMERIK Integrate, the CNC programs and tool lists are seamlessly transferred to production.

By integrating order planning into the digital manufacturing process, W.A. Pfeiffer witnessed immediate improvements with setup and throughput times. Opcenter APS helps them to access detailed information about production orders and monitor resource utilization.

W.A. Pfeiffer’s customer and supplier relations have significantly advanced, and internal collaboration is better streamlined by using Siemens’ range of software solutions.

Opcenter APS

Integrated order planning with Opcenter APS

W. A. Pfeiffer’s integrated process begins with incoming customer orders. Once the order is created in ERP and Teamcenter at the same time, Teamcenter imports the design data for the product to be manufactured.

Needed materials are then ordered, and due dates are planned to use the Opcenter APS software.

“With Opcenter APS we can look at detailed information about the production orders and immediately see which resources are utilized when and how. Our customer and supplier relationship improved significantly, as well as internal communications. All tools work together seamlessly, which makes it much easier to coordinate.” says Mr. Pfeiffer.

The digital machine shop advantages

This highly successful yet lean company relies on the Siemens’ digital solutions to continuously grow and scale their manufacturing business. With the introduction of NX CAM, Teamcenter, Opcenter APS, and Mcenter, W.A. Pfeiffer achieved higher automation, seamless end-to-end connectivity, and shorter lead times.  

Using advanced toolpath technologies helped to reduce the machining cycle by 25% while extending tool life. I expect that we will be able to reduce setup times by up to 50% overall.

Andreas Pfeiffer, CEO

Learn more about W.A. Pfeiffer’s expansion strategy through digital manufacturing in the video below!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at