Industry 4.0: Embracing Software and Automation at Hegla for Streamlined Glass Processing
The glass processing industry is witnessing a remarkable shift towards full digitalization, interconnectedness, and automation. Industry 4.0 concepts, smart factories, and digital twins of production are shaping the future. While the grand solution may seem overwhelming, Dr. Jan Schäpers, Managing Director of HEGLA-HANIC, the leading software specialist for the glass industry, emphasizes the importance of taking incremental strides to reduce costs, enhance processes, and unleash the potential of software and automation.
Unveiling the Potential: Where Paper Trails Still Linger
Are there areas where paper usage persists? Dr. Jan Schäpers suggests starting the digitalization journey by identifying processes that are controlled manually or lack software integration. These manual steps are prone to errors and often slower compared to system-controlled sequences. Integrating the required data into Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and production planning software through interfaces or centralized input eliminates errors and unlocks the full potential of the organization. Alternatively, information can be transferred via scanning, leveraging machine-readable stickers or laser markings for data capture, enabling product traceability and facilitating efficient production planning.
Efficiency at Its Best: Dynamic Continuous Optimization to Slash Offcut Costs
Optimizing offcuts has long been a priority for glass processing companies. However, with the escalating costs of glass, the need for efficient utilization is more critical than ever. Dynamic continuous optimization presents a solution by continuously adjusting optimization for multiple batches, accommodating remade panes or new orders. This approach maximizes resource utilization, reduces waste, and enhances operational efficiency. Augmenting the optimization software with an automatic remnant system further streamlines the process, ensuring usable panes are readily available for cutting operations.
Empowering Employees through Transparent Information
The digitalization and automation of systems generate vast amounts of data, which can be leveraged to enhance employee engagement and understanding of production processes. By implementing an intuitive monitoring system, real-time information on stock levels, cutting or insulated glass production progress, and priority batches can be displayed on monitors in the production area. This transparent information flow fosters improved communication, ensures synchronization, and enables timely actions if deviations occur.
Towards a Fully Integrated Ecosystem: Unleashing the Potential of ERP and Production Planning Software
Seamless integration from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to production planning software and machines unlocks further possibilities for optimization. Dr. Schäpers advises focusing on areas not directly integrated or reliant on manual paper-based controls. Streamlining the ordering process in the ERP through automated importation of customer orders, plausibility checks, and requesting missing information can enhance efficiency. Real-time stock level checks and automatic control code generation optimize operations. Embracing automated or manual scan-based shipping document creation further streamlines processes. As systems and departments communicate directly and software control prevails, the entire ecosystem becomes more resilient, minimizing errors, and improving operational agility.
Embrace the Journey of Incremental Progress: Unleashing the Full Potential
In the quest for Industry 4.0, every step matters. Alongside the grand vision, organizations can reap substantial benefits by focusing on incremental improvements, error reduction, and flexible adaptation to evolving requirements. Dr. Jan Schäpers highlights the value of embracing smaller, yet impactful, intermediate steps that enhance processes, minimize errors, and boost efficiency. The era of Industry 4.0 beckons, and Hegla stands ready to guide glass processing companies towards a digital future.
Source: HEGLA GmbH & Co. KG with additional information added by Apazone