One of the key trends influencing the fenestration industry at present is the amount of energy required in the heating and cooling of households and commercial buildings, with the impact that current and future design and materials used in fenestration construction impacts upon the energy usage. According to the University of California at Berkeley, the annual heating and cooling energy loads through fenestration products in both residential and commercial buildings are a significant proportion of the national energy requirements.
The use of innovative and industry leading manufacturing software in the fenestration industry, however, is making a notable impact on the design and deployment of efficient fenestration products. With the ability to custom design windows and doors that meet both aesthetic and efficiency requirements, the combination of materials used can be designed and adjusted in accordance with customer requirements, while keeping the costs to a minimum in the design, ordering, manufacturing and selling stages of the process.
Furthermore, manufacturing software has empowered producers in the fenestration industry to streamline their operations, right from the ordering process to design, construction, shipping and invoicing. Industry leading fenestration manufacturing software enables complete factory automation, which is rapidly transforming the economic proposition and profitability of window and door manufacturers. Working to holistically automate a large component of the workflow, which has traditionally been very manual in the fenestration industry when building customised windows and doors, is revolutionising the industry. Furthermore, manufacturing software is able to preconfigure utilising unique designs that the business or other suppliers in the fenestration industry wish to offer.
As material costs are a significant component of the total costs of manufacturing windows and doors, manufacturing software plays a central role in generating initial designs and costings without the need to manually construct the end product. Once the order has been approved, the design can be released to the production line in a seamless process. As the software is a complete solution to the manufacturing procedure, it links with inventory and ordering procedures as well as invoicing. This results in a system that can automatically allocate resources to the production of the design, order more materials when and if needed as well as provide invoices to the client.
Some of the more advanced manufacturing software is loaded with functional areas which include estimating costs and design, order placements, the allocation of labour to complete the design, production scheduling, fabrication workflows, advanced shop drawings and machine control to allow full customisation and automation of the production process.