Besides forming strong relationships with our customers, to be awarded or recognized by leaders and periodicals within the industry is always a welcome and appreciated additional affirmation that we are still moving in the right direction as a fenestration company.
Most Innovative Machine : 2010 Crystal Achievement Awards
The Bystronic Sashline™ produces Sashlite® integrated sash units, which eliminate separate IG units by integrating the spacer directly into the window sash.
Configured in the form of a "Y" the Sashline™ features a glass processing line on one leg and a sash processing line on the other. Glass and sash elements move down the line via a flat belt drive and meet at the junction of the legs at a swivel station where they are positioned for final assembly. The glass processing line incorporates a washing machine and a glass inspection station. The sash processing line consists of an automated desiccant applicator, a muntin station and an automated sealant applicator.
When the two lines come together, before reaching an assembly robot, a "preparing robot" postions the sash in the center of the assembly and the two glass lites on the outer sides. Once the units are in place, the assembly robot creates a vacuum in the chamber, and with suction cups, grabs one edge of each glass plate, bending them out slightly. At the same time, gas is introduced into the air cavity while sensors measure the amount and flow of gas. Once the air space has been filled with gas, the glass is released and robotic "fingers" press the plates onto the sealant for a perfect seal and a complete, precision created window unit.
From start to finish, the Sashline™ requires only four to five workers to operate and has a throughput of up to 800 integrated sash windows per shift. The new line, capable of producing both dual- and triple-glazed units, is said to feature the highest level of automation in the industry and allows the fabricator to achieve maximum efficiencies and a superior ROI. The automated equipment also allows manufacturers to make windows that comply with any current standards, as well as future standards such as R-5 and beyond.
Since its founding in 1975, Northeast Building Products has grown from a small 1,800-square-foot jalousie and glass block basement window manufacturer to a fullservice fabricator and distributor of vinyl, wood and aluminum windows and doors. Today, the company serves 9,000 customers including distributors, dealers and contractors, and produces a quarter of a million units per year. The company’s present day 165,000-square-foot facility houses more than 200 employees and is the scene of a recent innovative redesign of the company’s operations into a lean and efficient, state-of-the-art plant.
In 2007, Northeast Building Products embarked on the first stage of a complete organizational overhaul, with the goal of improving operational efficiency, employee productivity and workplace safety. All of the company’s objectives were met, and by the time the process was completed, it had increased its productivity by more than 25 percent, reduced its costs by more than 15 percent, decreased downtime and defects, increased employee satisfaction, and even freed up plant space to allow for future growth.
In 2008, Northeast Building Products continued with the second stage of its organizational redesign, and implemented new programs that have further increased the company’s efficiency, product quality, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity, contributing to record growth at a time when many others are scaling back. The growth has been so dramatic that it has had to move to an A/B team structure, and now operates 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with an increase in throughput of more than 100 percent and overall productivity improvements of more than 20 percent.
In the first stage of the operations redesign, the company instituted a work cell based 5-S lean manufacturing program (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain) and Kaizen continuous process improvement system to reduce inefficiencies while streamlining the production process. In stage two, the company underwent a complete work cell redesign, which further streamlined its operations and instituted a standard work sheet program.
FULL ARTICLE : "Most Innovative Plant - 2009 Cyrstal Achievement Award"
GONE GREEN : Winner of DWM's First Annual Green Awards
In one sentence describe what green really means to your company?
Actively identifying, developing, implementing and sustaining green manufacturing principles and techniques that have put us in the leadership roll for the conservation of our natural resources.
Please list some of the things your company does to be green/environmentally responsible?
• The innovative Sashlite® technology used to manufacture our windows contributes to the environment by reducing energy consumption at the consumer level. Because the vinyl spacer is integrated directly into the sash profile, windows made with Sashlite® technology provide the best warm-edge ratings. As a result, homeowners can lower their energy consumption during both winter and summer, thus contributing directly to the environment by reducing household based carbon emissions;
• Energy reduction project helped identify facility lighting not needed to manufacture during off hours. This project cut lighting usage in one building by more than 50 percent;
• We recycle packaging materials from our vinyl manufacturer by returning it on back hauls;
• All non-contaminated glass, alumimun, vinyl and cardboard are recycled; and
• We currently are working on reducing the total number of work center computers on the manufacturing floor. by centralizing the CPUs and utilizing a virtualization program to communicate with the work centers, the need for independent computer systems will be eliminated. This will result in a 75 percent reduction in the number of CPUs on the shop floor. We currently have four in testing.
What's the biggest green initiative you've undertaken?
Our largest consumable is vinyl materials. We use millions of pounds per year of vinyl and we have worked with our recycling vendor and engineers to reclaim and/or recycle 99 percent of the avoidable and planned scrap. Other efforts to help eliminate avoidable scrap are underway.