Articles
Jan 7, 2021

Major manufacturer equips new automatic window fabrication facility

When a major window manufacturer decided to open a new plant, they needed a system that could fabricate 95% of a window within a 60-second cycle time.

The customer wanted to increase throughput by designing an automatic fabrication system that would allow one person to operate two machines, producing almost twice the parts with the same quality, safety and labor cost.

And they knew Joseph Machine could get the job done, because they’ve worked with us before. Their preferred machine layouts were already templated in our files for quick customization as new applications arise

Made to order

Their processing engineer was charged with laying out the new facility and came to us with the initial RFQ.

We began the quoting process by analyzing their fabrication prints and profile drawings. Engineers prioritized the fabrication tooling within the machine and decided if anything can be left to a secondary operation.

Diving into design

We jumped into the plans and regularly emailed the client for feedback on our ideas.

Our engineers started with a Compact SFMC Flexline Processor and customized it to meet the customer’s requirements.

The system pushes lineals through a series of seven in-line tooling stages. With such a tight cycle time, multiple tasks like drilling the installation holes and sawing the end cuts were set to be performed simultaneously.

The customer requested a preloading conveyor that allows a single operator to load 16-foot lineal extrusions into two machines, almost doubling the productivity of a single operator.

The lineals are automatically measured as they enter the machine. The system notifies the operator before a cut is made if they’ve loaded a lineal that isn’t the correct length for the order.

The processing software drives the machine, deciding when and where to make each cut to turn one lineal into multiple windows. The operator monitors the lineals as they are cut and drilled into a pair of jambs, a head and sill.

Finished parts exit the machine on a powered outfeed conveyor for the operator to move down the production line

Surprise changes

It pays to be nimble in the engineering world.

Midway through the design phase, the customer requested we add another dimple punch to the system.

We worked with them to make sure that the tooling fit in the machine without extending the cycle time. Our prior designs allowed for enough spare space to add the punch, and there was adequate cycle time to spare for the fabrication to take place within the 60-second limit.

Additional cost

Scrap reduction is one of the biggest benefits of Joseph Machine fenestration equipment.

The infeed and outfeed cuts are performed by Zero Scrap saw systems, which only remove as much material as the width of the blade with each cut. End cuts are positioned to line the outfeed cut perfectly with the next infeed cut, minimizing the waste produced with each cut.

We also helped save material and time by including sill end notching inside the machine, rather than mitering the end completely and requiring an operator to notch the jambs in a secondary operation.

When there is leftover lineal after completing an order, the automation system looks forward to where the leftover material could fit into an upcoming order, which also reduces material waste and increases overall throughput.

Safety first, safety last

Safety is very important to this client, and every aspect of the machine had to be fail-safe.

We added safety options like extensive guarding or light curtains over the infeed and outfeed areas to protect workers from injury and operations from the dangers of downtime.

We also included additional screens and software to the human-machine interface (HMI) so operators can view functionality and production data simultaneously.

Presentation time

Complete capacity calculations are presented to the customer to assure all of the desired fabrications are included.

An estimated footprint is also provided to make sure the unit will fit existing floor plans.

We can customize almost anything on our machine to fit your footprint. While it wasn’t necessary in this case, we could have shortened the outfeed conveyor or tightened the frame around the tooling.

The proving grounds

After designs were approved by the customer, we built the customized SFMC Flexline Processor and tested it in our facility. Fabrication samples were sent to the client to verify that they met the desired specs.

All of the samples were approved, the fabrication process proved clean and within our one minute cycle time. All that is left to do is delivery and install the system.

Work still to be done

The machines are ready to deliver as soon as the customer has the new facility ready for them.

We’ve sent them the system’s finalized footprint and electrical requirements so they can double check that it will fit final facility designs.

As soon as everything is ready, we’ll box up the system and ship it out. Our technicians will arrive on site, set up the machines and train the customer’s team. They’ll stay on site for a day after setup is complete to perform any final troubleshooting and assure things are running smoothly.

What could you do with improved production?

If your fabrication line could benefit from a Joseph Machine system, reach out and we’ll see how we can help. We work with manufacturers large and small to customize the perfect lineal fabrication systems for their facilities and operations.

Reach out to us and tell us about your production goals.

Let’s talk about your dream project

Our mission is simple: To understand your unique requirements, and then engineer, build and install a lineal processing line that meets and exceeds them.