GPAD Keys in on Downtime and Automation

April 3rd, 2019 by Jordan Scott

Automation is a growing trend within the door- and window-related industries—including glass. It was no surprise, then, to find the topic a key focal point among presenters at the 2019 Glass Processing Automation Days (GPAD) Conference. Held in San Antonio last week, many of the event’s speakers focused on the advantages of full-duplex information and the ability to dodge downtime.

Ron Crowl, president and CEO of FeneTech, and Horst Mertes, vice president of sales and marketing at FeneTech and CEO of FeneTech Europe, welcomed attendees by framing automation within the contexts of what some are describing as “Industry 4.0.”

“We believe that only by closing the gap between software and machinery you can eliminate islands of automation and an efficient work flow can be achieved,” said Crowl.

Dave Miller, business development, glass fabrication North America for FeneTech, continued that frame of thought in his presentation, titled, “This is Where the Digital Factory Begins.”

Miller explained that, through full-duplex communication capabilities, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems aren’t solely for pushing data to individual work cells, but should also be leveraged to receive information back for reporting.

“We want to know when units are complete and what the status is, so we’ll know if we will have the work orders done on time,” said Miller.

He gave an overview of the company’s FeneVision program, including its ability to integrate with computer-aided design (CAD) applications. Together, he said, both systems improve the efficiency of fabrication processes. Companies can also identify the most common fabrication configurations used, he said, and make them more easily available.

Terry Hessom, vice president of operations at HHH Tempering Resources, speaks about how automation minimizes downtime.

In his presentation, “Minimizing Downtime During the Automation Age,” Terry Hessom, vice president of operations at HHH Tempering Resources, spoke about how automation minimizes downtime, which he said robs manufacturers of 800 hours per year, on average. Downtime also impacts a company’s equipment and labor costs, he explained.

“You’re paying people for a lack of productivity during that downtime,” Hessom pointed out.

Companies also pay for reallocated management time, as production supervisors and quality control managers focus on fixing problems, rather than on production. And that’s just the beginning of it, Hessom explained, as downtime also places stress on personnel and has other hidden costs.

“When a company’s focus is on fixing machinery, they’re not focused on innovation,” says Hessom. “A potential loss in customer trust is another hidden cost.”

He stressed the importance of buy-in among managers for strategies that schedule downtime and using automation systems to identify needs for preventative maintenance in order to mitigate unscheduled and shut downs.

“Invest in training tailored to each teach member,” said Hesson. “Train for machine-specific troubleshooting and maintenance and cross-train to reduce wasted labor costs.”

In the end, he suggested that companies augment their decisions by using the data provided by machines to analyze improvements. That same information, he explained, can identify weak links in production processes.

This article is from Door and Window Market [DWM] magazine's free e-newsletter that covers the latest door and window industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to [DWM] magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave Comment