Smart Factory – Flawless Sequence


Overarching logistics where machines and workpieces exchange information directly via intelligent interfaces is the pivotal topic on the agenda at Industry 4.0. Together with the machine manufacturer Tecauma with its many years of experience in automatic glazing and glass packaging via robots, A+W software makes it possible to install glass directly from the transportation rack without any diversions over glass buffers. Read what other things continuous logistics can do.

Robot glazing is increasingly gaining acceptance in medium- and larger-sized window construction companies. Mechanical engineers estimate that using robots makes business sense upwards of daily production of 200 sheets. Beyond this, current technologies make it attractive to small and medium-sized businesses.

It used to be that automatic glazing was generally done from a buffer where the sheets had to be sorted manually. However, the costs of investment go through the ceiling if there is no buffer when inserting automatic glazing.

This is why a lot of construction element manufacturers want to do automatic glazing without prior sorting into a glass buffer.

Intelligent Automation Links up Production Partners

Together with the A+W software firm, the French machine and robot manufacturer Tecauma formulated strategies that make it possible to do glazing without glass buffers. FENSTERBAU demonstrated live how robot glazing could be done directly from the transportation rack.

But, glazing from the rack can only function if the Tecauma glass robot knows the precise order of the glass sheets called for. Therefore, the window manufacturer transmits this sequence to its insulated glass partner with the glass order. Ideally, this works with a Tecauma packaging robot at the end of the line, sort of like the glazing robot’s big brother.

The A+W Rack Optimizer software arranges the production of the ISO manufacturer so that the sheets at the end of the insulated glass line can be packed in the order required. This means without manual handling, time-consuming commissioning or any hazard of damage.

Furthermore, the packaging robot is “fed” through an interface with the data from the A+W Rack Optimizer that gently places the sheets on the transportation rack. Here, the order of placing corresponds to the reverse removal order of the window manufacturer. And, if there are technical restrictions (such as poor order of large or small sheets) preventing the desired sequence on the rack, it can be packed on two or more racks that the window manufacturer glazes.

The glazing robot is driven reliably with the construction element manufacturer using the data of the A+W Rack Optimizer. This is implemented with a software handshake between the insulated glass supplier and construction element manufacturer. It also includes any changes needed in the sequence that are automatically transmitted to the glazing robot. If there are changes in the sequence only with the window manufacturer such as glass breakage or rush orders, the robot also takes the changed situation into account so that it can continue to glaze without losing any time.

Klaus Mühlhans from A+W Software GmbH in Pohlheim, Germany has this to say: “Intelligent interfaces between the manufacturer, supplier and their machines are the secret stars in the world of Industry 4.0. The A+W Rack Optimizer and the interfaces they are based on are constantly giving machine/robot suppliers greater opportunities for automation that the glass industry is dependent upon.”

The glazing robot removes the sheets in the reverse packaging sequence. Thanks to the intelligent control system of the A+W software, it can glaze directly from the transportation rack.

The Tecuma packaging robot uses the A+W Rack Optimizer to package sheets in the window manufacturer’s desired sequence at the end of the insulated glass line.

With software-controlled logistics to the final customer.

The customer of the window manufacturer is at the end of the value-added chain. This makes it possible to supply the glazed and packaged elements to a construction site or building being renovated just in time. That means that continuous logistics includes intelligent supplier processes, thus saving time and money.

FENSTERBAU 2016 is the first time that this software house from Pohlheim, Germany showcased the A+W Logistic Optimizer for windows and doors. This new route planner enables construction element manufacturers to plan, handle and analyse their shipments throughout.

In other words, the A+W Logistic Optimizer does the route planning and optimization to guarantee compliance with scheduled dates.

This logistics software also plans the shortest route including all of the travel destinations so that the required time (and therefore costs) can be reduced to a minimum. Furthermore, this solution integrates the complete truck fleet and route parameters while analysing travel times to guarantee that deliveries or pickups can also be made within the schedules planned.

But that’s not all; the A+W Logistic Optimizer for windows and doors generates the order of products where high-priority destinations can be supplied earlier. Finally, it takes restrictions into account such as time-consuming and long-term construction sites, limited travel-through heights or maximum weights for bridges.

The A+W Logistic Optimizerfor windows and doors makes streamlined supplier logistics possible with its intelligent route planning.