Future Architectural (FA) Glass is a commercial glass processor producing high performance insulated units and laminated glass products.
FA Glass has invested in a custom built factory based in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. The very best technology has been implemented from the UK and Europe including a Hegla Optimax Cutting Table with auto loading, Forvet CNC, Busseti double edge polishing, Lisec Sealing Line, Lisec Spacer Bender, and a fully automatic SeamMaX-X™ arising line.
To make the best use of the new factory and effectively manage enquiries and sales orders, FA Glass approached Jotika Software, among other glass software specialists. After many discussions and presentations FA Glass felt that Jotika’s Gtrak3 and OptimiserX products were best suited to their business.
Enquiries, Costing & Estimations
The standard Gtrak3 quotation entry was adapted to allow for cost estimations, meeting the needs of the unique pricing methods. Each job or project is priced individually taking into account many factors including material costs, labour costs, breakage factor, predicted waste and profit margin.
This was previously time consuming to prepare. Jotika designed an integrated estimate system with the ability to pre-optimise projects or jobs, to establish predicted waste – this would then become part of the costing model. The costing frame work within Gtrak was already more than capable of handling the complex product range. Full costing breakdown is now presented and allows manual overrides as negotiations are common. The overrides are then stored against each estimate for later review by management.
“Processing sales enquiries now takes less time, which means our sales team can respond to customer enquiries much faster. As a start up company in the region it is imperative that we are the first to respond and build a good reputation”. Firoz Kachawala – Director.
Pricing & Quotations
The Gtrak3 pricing system had to be very flexible to cope with the complex range of products and processes in the FA Glass range. An unlimited number of pricing tables coupled with various pricing methods can be configured per product or process and for individual customers, where required. Taking into account cavity size, glass size, process qty, glass thickness, hole diameter, spacer perimeter, glass perimeter and more.
“After spending time discussing the options available with Firoz, he was overwhelmed by the flexibility of Gtrak3 pricing and how well it fitted with his own pricing model. We spent time configuring the prices together to meet his needs exactly and this made all the difference.”
Brian Gold – Director.
Shaped Glass & DXF Processing
The ambitious architecture in the UAE meant that a fully featured shape designer was a must. The Gtrak3 shape designer has a wide range of library shapes along with the ability to design bespoke shapes from sides and angles. Options are also available to easily apply stepped edges for insulated glass products, holes, polished edge tolerances, arcs and radius corners.
Single and multi shape DXF files can be imported from Customers and edited directly in the shape designer. DXF files can also be exported for processing on the Forvet CNC machine. Larger holes are sent for cutting directly on the Hegla table.
Production Monitoring & Barcode Tracking
The type of work undertaken by FA Glass requires many different manufacturing processes including cutting, tempering, heat strengthening, lamination, drilling and polishing among others. Gtrak3 can handle an unlimited number of manufacturing processes all with individual units of measure such as qty of process, area, perimeter and weight. Tempering equivalence tables were configured to calculate area back to 6mm thick glass. This means that capacities are representative of actual tempering time equivalent to standard 6mm glass.
Several stations were setup to monitor production processes. The sales office has access to view production capacities to manage customer lead times more effectively. The production office has a view of major processes such as cutting, tempering and sealing. Live updating using barcode tracking will be configured on key processes and also for delivery loading. This means that up to date information is available for all departments - production for planning work, despatch for collating and delivering finished goods, sales and customer service to provide customers with up to the minute order progress on request.
Optimisation & Production Sequencing
Planning for production set new challenges for Gtrak in the UAE. Since almost all glass stock has to be imported and deliveries are very unreliable, there is never any certainty about which stock from which supplier will be used when production is planned.
Gtrak offers completely integrated pre-optimisation as part of the quotation process. This allows the operator to pre-calculate waste with many different stock sheet combinations, so that likely waste in actual production can be assessed in advance, and can be built into the quotation costings.
In actual production it is not uncommon for three or more different stock sizes to be optimised for 6mm Clear, just because these are the only sheets available – each with limited quantities.
In addition, due to its unique design, Gtrak offers “no-offcut” optimisation, whereby an entirely changed optimisation adds in work not yet required to ensure that as few offcuts as possible are generated. This is especially effective for backing glass.
Gtrak allows part optimisation down to Order Line/leaf level, so it is possible to part optimise with what stock sheets are available, and return later and re-optimise when new stock arrives.
The highly variable product mix common to commercial glass processing means that conventional approaches to glass sequencing do not work well.
Slot/harp racks do not work well, because of glass sizes and weight and because of the risk of damage to soft coated glass. Other ways to track the glass have to be found.
Gtrak allows the glass to be identified at cutting, and stacked randomly. Sequencing takes place only when required e.g pre-sealing for IG manufacture, and even then, only non-sequenced pairing is necessary. Gtrak uses the bar code ID carried with each leaf to load machinery such as spacer benders, saws in the sequence that paired glass is stacked, rather than waste time and energy forcing the glass into a predefined sequence.
Barcodes are also used to preload other machines such as double edgers , CNC drilling notching machines, allowing the glass to remain in the sequence it was stacked in, rather than being re-sorted.
The unreliable supply of stock glass means that frequently cut glass has to be stacked in part processed or finish state, and accurate tracking is essential. A range of tracking points will be supplied and installed by Jotika, to monitor glass in real time through the factory.