Fenestra Oy is the leading window and door supplier in Finland with 750 employees and 110 million euro’s revenue. Fenestra’s product range covers wood-aluminium-frame windows, exterior and interior doors and related services for both residential and public buildings. Fenestra Oy produces annually more than 220,000 window units and approximately 300,000 doors.
Fenestra was in process of completely updating and automating their two window component production lines, namely the production lines for wooden window frames and sashes. One of the most important requirements towards the production lines was the capability to customize each individual component according to a specific customer order. This requirement means that each component needs to be identified at each machine tool in order to determine the machining configurations (e.g. in case of a saw, this could correspond to the length of the component) for each manufacturing step.
Similar production lines have been previously implemented by using barcode technology. In Fenestra’s case the barcode technology had however severe drawbacks, namely: (i) the high amount of dust present in the wood industry environment disturbs the barcode readers lowering significantly the barcode read rates and (ii) the window components are painted and the applied paint would cover the barcodes, rendering them useless.
Vilant Systems developed and supplied an RFID based production control system for Fenestra’s window component production lines. The system is based on HF RFID and includes more than 50 readers.
In the system each individual component is tagged with a HF tag which enables their identification before each production machine. The manufacturing specifications for each individual product are then specified for each component at each individual machine tool based on this identification. The RFID system has very high read rate and is capable working also after the window components have been painted.
- Fully automated window frame and sash production lines allowing each component to be customized as per customer order (instead of “fixed model” production batches)
- System with over 20 million read events per year.
- Very high (over 99,9999%) read rate achieved in day-to-day operations (calculation based on daily average of RFID read failures and number of read events)
- Minimal manual labor required