MES: granIT for granite!

Finally – granIT (graphical numerical information technology) works with the natural stone granite! How MES can increase production efficiency even on compact production lines. An example from natural stone processing.

Innovative companies are often characterized by a certain curiosity. In other words: Those who know from experience that there is more over the horizon can focus on more potential and increased performance.
This is also the case with granIT. On the one hand, we are well occupied with our key activities “Development of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) for production lines in prefabricated house construction”. On the other hand, more and more companies from related industries are approaching us for clever MES solutions for their compact production processes.

Our MES at the RailONE turnout sleeper plant in Schwandorf is a fitting example of this (interview with project manager Stefan Hübner). granIT provided MES solutions for the entire production plant, which helped to significantly improve the qualitative output and the cycle rates in the production process.

From standard to individual sizes

granIT also became active for a medium-sized company that manufactures products made of natural stone for house construction. Among other things, the company produces (automated) granite window sills, which were previously delivered in standard sizes mainly to home improvement stores.
granIT’s task:: Expansion of the product range by the possibility to offer individual cuts to customer dimensions within the automatic production line – for example for new house construction.

As little waste as possible

Wolfgang Bock, CEO at granIT, describes how the use of granIT:flow-MES could result in up to 30 percent higher output through optimizations in the production process. What’s particularly exciting is that the use of MES for production optimization has been largely unknown in the industry!

“As always with the subsequent use of an MES, it is essential that all required data is available in electronic form. For this purpose, the first step is to generate the files via an input mask of the ERP system.
In order to be able to use our granIT:flow MES, a separate ERP interface had to be programmed in this case, since no established interfaces existed in the natural stone industry.

Our customer works with a relatively expensive raw material in relation to the “end product window sill”. Accordingly, one of the economically most important tasks in the production process is to produce as little waste as possible.
So we were initially dealing with a classic length or width optimization of the blanks – standard tasks for granIT:flow MES.

Good management saves money
At this point, the management of the “cut out” remnants comes into play as a resource-saving but also economic factor. Of course, these should not simply be thrown away, but intelligently controlled and barcoded and automatically stored in a high-bay warehouse until further use.
In this way, these remnants can be taken into account again for future optimization runs and used if necessary.
So when an order is placed with the system, it first automatically searches for suitable remnants to implement the new job.
However, this cannot be done with simple basic algorithms – an individual strategy is usually unavoidable in such cases. An example: In every production process, there will be residual pieces that can and will never meet the criterion for an initial part. Artificial intelligence in the form of a self-learning system should therefore be incorporated to prevent the storage capacity from becoming largely exhausted with unusable parts.

Barcode on “cut pieces”

Logically, a key point in the production process is order provisioning. Here, orders are received by the system and the corresponding, very heavy raw parts – in the natural stone industry they are called “cut pieces” – are provided by machine in loose order. An employee scans the barcode, the system searches for the corresponding order, and production as such can begin.

In the case of our customer from the natural stone industry, the production line consists of

two saws of the company Laiti,
an edge processing machine
two articulated arm robots for finishing
a commissioning system.

The production control system communicates with the individual MES software modules as well as with the workstations and machines. It ensures that each station receives the correct production data. Furthermore, production times are recorded for each station, on the basis of which detailed evaluations and optimizations are possible later during ongoing operations.”

With its MES solutions for prefabricated house construction and related industries, granIT can now look back on a broad spectrum of experience. Accordingly, it was only a small step for granIT and its MES granIT:flow to optimize production in the natural stone industry – for our customer it was a giant leap into a successful future!