There are windows... and windows. Styles, sizes, shapes and materials change. But one thing is certain: windows and doors are increasingly becoming part of an interior design project, a world constantly on the lookout for trendy solutions of high aesthetic as well as functional value. Above all, windows are evolving to give space to the most modern construction techniques in terms of safety and energy efficiency.
For windows and doors manufacturers, "customisation" is the new keyword for success over competitors, though reconciling the demands of flexible processing with those of high productivity is particularly difficult.
In order to keep up with market trends, the latest technological solutions become essential to allow fast processing even for small batches or "batch 1" and to contain costs and material waste also in the production of highly customised windows.
MéO, the leading French manufacturer of customised wood-aluminium windows and entrance doors for over 40 years, has succeeded in this challenge thanks to a high productivity integrated line for machining windows supplied by SCM and designed in every detail by the Engineering Team of the Italian Group. This investment has enabled the company to achieve excellent results in terms of productivity and volumes.
System 8 line of SCM plays the main role inside MéO factory. It offers the widest range of wood-aluminium windows and French windows, sliding doors, entrance doors, skylights and verandas on the market. Furthermore, always together with the Italian Group, MéO is investing in a new second highly automated line, which will increase production output by 60% within 2024.
The key advantages
The System 8 line consists of 8 stations linked by handling systems with buffer function for the temporary accumulation of pieces being machined, essential for balancing rates and flow.
The system's main strength point is its considerable flexibility in controlling the length of the processed pieces, an advantage that allows for the production of up to 400 finished windows per day.
Even the "batch 1" machining is reached with high performance compared to that offered by same category flexible production systems, with an instant productivity of up to four pieces per minute.
The line enables for the production of just in time windows in sizes that vary considerably from one another, from 350x350 mm up to 3100x3100 mm. It is also possible to achieve a wide and varied range of profiles and sections and execute every single operation from the rough piece to the finished product.
A detailed look at the line
An automatic machine is positioned at the start of the line for the cross-cutting of rough bars coming from the automatic storage and manually loaded onto the machine by an operator.
This is followed by the single elements of different sizes and lengths being conveyed along a transfer belt and taken to the next machine, the superset nt, the extremely versatile automatic throughfeed moulder for the perfect straightening of the pieces to be processed. Its SET-UP system allows performing adjustments in just a few seconds, making setup time up to 20 times faster.
From here, via a connection transfer, the pieces are conveyed into two celaschi tlv single-sided tenoners that perform tenoning and drilling operations on both ends of the pieces in succession.
Then, another connection transfer unit with buffer function conveys the processed pieces to two fleximat drilling and routing machining centres, positioned one after the other. Here, the accessory machinings are executed, as the routing for the windows lock, the holes for the handle, the hinges grooving, and all the other operations required for the next assembly phase.
After that, two profitech profiling machines perform the internal and external profiles for the window sashes and frames. Even at this stage, it brings remarkable advantages in terms of versatility and productivity, thanks to machining units fitted with tool stores and automatic tool changers.
360-degree tracing and control of the entire process
Before the unloading system and the quality control station, a laser printer marks a QR code and alphanumerical codes containing information on each work-piece. This makes it possible to trace all the pieces processed in the factory and assigned to the final assembly. If a work-piece is faulty or damaged, it is instantly identified in order to return it back to production easily, rapidly and automatically.
Another considerable advantage of the line is given by Maestro active watch, the supervisor software designed for easy use, allowing the management of the entire production process and the dialogue (orders import, production data exchange, etc.) with the company management systems. This permits constant real time monitoring of the progress status of the pieces and the process times (checking the real production cost of each piece), promptly identifying any "errors" compared to the times given in the order.