Photo: Marco Riebler

7. December 2020

All digital processes on screen

The company Meissl from Pfarrwerfen is the market leader in large umbrellas, wind protection solutions, and umbrella bars. Digitalization helps them stay innovative and service-oriented.

How much innovation can be packed into an umbrella? The company Meissl Open Air Solutions in Pfarrwerfen shows: a lot. From planning to finished solutions for large umbrellas, wind protection, and umbrella bars, the company is a market leader in its industry and is even considered the inventor of the umbrella bar.

Meissl’s umbrellas come in all shapes and sizes. No matter what the local conditions are, Meissl produces the appropriate umbrella: with different heights of roof slopes, an asymmetrical courtyard, polygonal, round – anything is possible. The umbrellas can be equipped with effect lighting, heaters, and a misting system as desired. In addition, custom rain gutters for house connections are planned and manufactured. The umbrella bars are also fully planned, and can be equipped with cooling systems, effect lighting, and a heating system. The wind protection solutions are just as innovative: retractable, with sliding doors or swing doors, and many other solutions are offered by Meissl.

Efficiency and precision through digitization

Meissl works very solution-oriented. In order to produce an individually adapted product, the employees measure the local conditions precisely, draw up the construction plans, and produce according to the requirements. These processes are complex and time-consuming. To make them faster, more accurate, and more efficient, the company has invested in digitization. “Through digitization, we don’t have less work, but we can be faster and handle more orders in a shorter amount of time. We are constantly improving to work even more precisely,” explains Hermine Meissl, managing director of the company.

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Meissl CEO Hermine Meissl (Photo: Marc Rieber)

Laser measurements and automated production

As an important step towards digital production, Meissl Open Air Solutions has invested in a laser scanner. What was previously done manually, such as measuring buildings, terraces, and surrounding areas, can now be automated. This eliminates the need for multiple site visits due to missing measurements. The laser measures faster and more accurately than is possible by hand, and the data can be transmitted to the design office in Pfarrwerfen on-site. Based on the measurements, the staff can quickly create 3D construction plans and send the corresponding offer. 3D visualizations allow customers to get an idea of the umbrella solution before making a decision.

The production process is also facilitated by the measurement data. The construction plans serve as a template for the textile and cutting workshops. The fabric for the cover and the aluminum or steel for the umbrella stand are prepared and cut to size using a waterjet cutting system, which cuts the materials according to the plan.

The production process, from measurement to planning to production, is already highly digitized, and many manual tasks have been eliminated. Meissl always has all the data at their digital fingertips. “Digitization has made our lives easier,” says Hermine Meissl. “But there is still a lot to do.”

Prototypes from the 3D printer

In addition to the production company, Hermine Meissl also leads the Meissl Research and Development GmbH in Pfarrwerfen. Here, innovation is constantly needed in production to maintain the company’s status as a world leader. This is where the 3D printer comes in, allowing Meissl to quickly and easily produce prototypes.

Innovation through service orientation

Innovation is in the DNA of this family business. “Our customers drive a lot of the innovations because they want custom solutions. Our focus on solutions always leads to new innovative products and processes,” explains Hermine Meissl. “We don’t produce in bulk, but instead provide individually tailored solutions for our customers. That’s what makes us the world leader in this niche.”

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