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New software for faster and more cost-efficient production

24.02.2009: LIGNA HANNOVER 2009, 18 to 22 May Today's end consumers of furniture and interior fittings demand high-quality, tailor-made products at affordable prices. For manufacturers this means more flexible

LIGNA HANNOVER 2009, 18 to 22 May

Today's end consumers of furniture and interior fittings demand high-quality, tailor-made products at affordable prices. For manufacturers this means more flexible production processes and shorter tooling times as well as increased precision and cost efficiency. And in these times of rising energy prices, cost reduction and energy efficiency go hand in hand.

To achieve this, suppliers need to invest in state-of-the-art software, which controls and documents all stages of the production process. More than ever, they also need to consider one-stop solutions which integrate all of a processing operation's machines and modules. These concepts apply to all parts of the wood processing sector, but especially to solid wood processors, producers of wood-based materials and furniture manufacturers.

For many years, software had been developed on a modular basis for the specific parts of a processing operation: purchasing, warehousing, construction, production and sales - to name but a few. Today's market and cost efficiency demands on manufacturers as well as further developments in production technology have rendered such modular divisions obsolete.

Instead, external customer demand for individually-designed products has to be reconciled with internal, cost-efficient standard solutions. This calls for integrated systems solutions, rather than the traditional modular software approach, which has been fraught with interface-related problems. However, such systems solutions need to be user friendly, not least because customer services staff are generally not technical specialists.

Effective internal standard production solutions call for software that allows for efficient operation of production plant and easy programming of individual machines as well as integration into the overall production control system and re-tooling management. Continually updated production data ensures optimal use of plant and equipment. It is the key to targeted, usage-oriented maintenance that minimizes downtimes.

To effectively boost productivity, software also needs to have a diagnosis function that issues targeted error messages to the relevant users and graphically displays the state of processing plant. Intelligent systems that suggest appropriate remedial measures for any problems that arise can make a significant contribution to helping operators remove the causes of faults without outside assistance.

Remote diagnosis and remote servicing and control systems can also deliver major cost reductions. A major help in this regard is the ability to change the language of the operating system, for instance from Chinese to English, at the push of a button - without needing to interrupt operations.

Modern production software can also monitor and control the supply of raw materials and energy. For instance, when production is interrupted - for whatever reason - the software can switch off machinery or put it into stand-by mode. The rule of thumb for energy-efficient powering down of processing machinery and peripheral systems (e.g. hydraulics, ventilation, lighting, chip extractors) is that the downtime ought to be at least five times the period of time required to power up the processing plant concerned. Downtimes that are shorter can be bridged energy efficiently by reducing processing and feed speeds.

Productivity gains in most manufacturing operations today can only be achieved by way of regular software upgrades. For instance, the 35 percent productivity increase recorded by German furniture manufacturers over the last ten years can be largely attributed to investments into new processing control technologies and the associated software. Innovations in the fields of tool, machine and material technology have given rise to new products and significantly improved quality standards.

Together, these trends have put the German furniture industry in a position of strength, both domestically and internationally, that was unthinkable ten years ago. The same can be said for other parts of the German wood processing industry.

Visitors to LIGNA HANNOVER 2009, the world's biggest trade fair for the forestry and wood industries, can look forward to a multitude of innovative software developments for all parts of the sector - from navigation systems for harvesting operations, energy-efficient sawn timber drying systems, design software for the timber construction and furniture industries, through to end-product dispatch systems.


Anja Brokjans-

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/ligna-hannover-software-for-faster-cost-efficient-production-furniture-manufacturers---56092.html

24.02.2009 / MaP

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