Smart Metering: How WEPTECH ensures transparency in the energy crisis

Stephan Kimmel is head of SMD production at WEPTECH ©SmartRep

With a laser marker from SmartRep, the production of intelligent utility meters becomes traceable

Many are currently afraid of the next gas and electricity bill. Smart Metering creates transparency: Consumption data for water, heat, electricity or natural gas can be read out and transmitted automatically. The company WEPTECH from Landau produces these smart radio modules and uses a laser marker from SmartRep for traceability purposes. Click here for the video!

„Years ago, the German legislature introduced measures to ensure that our power grid is decentralized and that the consumption costs are recorded transparently on a monthly basis," explains Martin Posingies, COO of WEPTECH elektronik in Landau (Pfalz). Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck recently discussed with representatives of the energy sector how the rollout of smart metering can be accelerated and how this technology can be installed more extensively in households and businesses. Consumption data for water, heat, electricity or natural gas could then be read out and transmitted automatically and in encrypted form. This will allow the creation of a digital and transparent consumption bill at the end of the month or even daily.


„We at WEPTECH bring these smart metering systems to the most remote corners of Germany, to the deepest basement or to the farthest PV system – i.e. to places where data collection and transmission are difficult. The special communication modules are developed in our development department in Landau and manufactured and tested in our in-house production facility,” explains sales manager Wolfgang Esch.

Considering the acquisition of measurement data involves a sensitive infrastructure, special quality requirements apply to the production, e.g. the absolute traceability of every printed circuit board produced, including the components installed on it. For this reason, WEPTECH uses unique serial numbers in combination with the order-related data records in the ERP system, which are applied to the circuit boards with a laser marking system: “Each panel or circuit board is marked with a DMC code before assembly. The product keeps this “tattoo” for its entire life,” explains production manager Stephan Kimmel. Around 1.2 million assemblies roll off the production line every year. A laser-marking island serves all three SMD lines and ensures traceability right from the start.

“Since we were no longer satisfied with the precision and speed of our old laser marker, we looked at four manufacturers and compared them with each other," says the production manager while speaking of the benchmark. The integrated turning station on a small footprint was very important for WEPTECH, since the circuit boards have to be marked on both sides. Another criterion in the benchmark was the precision of the order: „WEPTECH has very little space on the PCB where the barcode can be placed. In this case, our laser marker from YJ LINK offers a ghost marking function, which allows the barcode to be projected onto the circuit board first and then precisely be aligned in the software, resulting in a clean marking in the smallest of spaces,” explains Nikolai Knapp, how SmartRep was able to prosper technically in the selection process. Finally yet importantly, the cycle time also played an important role, after all, the laser marking island has to implement the barcodes for three SMD lines.

Switching to barcode labels was not an alternative for WEPTECH: The serial numbers could become detached all too easily in the sometimes-harsh environments in which the Smart Metering modules are used. The laser marking is durable, allows smaller application, prevents manipulation and does not interfere with squeegeeing in the printing process.

“In today's energy crisis, we face the problem that consumption is not transparent. We are used to read the meter once a year, now we should actually read it every day. This transparency would help to be able to better control the energy consumption,” Sales Manager Wolfgang Esch ascertains. WEPTECH therefore develops and produces the high-quality Smart Metering modules, thus making an important contribution to the energy transition.

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