Technology-driven performance

With challenging market conditions set to continue this year, installers need to make sure their suppliers are stable and future proof, which means getting smart, according to Quickslide.

The last couple of years have fast-tracked inevitable changes in technology in our homes, offices, and factories, and the snowball is gathering pace.

In 2022, technology will continue to evolve and will become even further embedded into our lives. Concurrently, it will have an increasing significance for manufacturers. Factories have been getting smarter for a while now, but intelligent systems are becoming a necessity, not a nice-to-have.

The term ‘smart’ is part of our everyday vocabulary and has to date been associated with devices connected to the internet. However, smart is increasingly being used to talk about systems driven by artificial intelligence. No longer the realm of science fiction films, AI is fast becoming an integral part of the commercial world. Intelligent systems give manufacturers the capabilities to monitor, connect, and develop in ways that haven’t been possible before. These improvements are increasing in importance as labour shortages, price increases and supply challenges continue.

Quickslide has embraced smart to directly improve performance. Chairman Adrian Barraclough said: “We recognised the importance of building a smarter factory sooner rather than later, so are ahead of the curve in adopting intelligent systems to drive performance levels.

“We employ our own software developers to ensure we stay ahead of this evolving arena and to implement improvements as soon as the need arises. This means we have improved traceability, monitoring, quality control systems, and enhanced efficiencies across the entire business.

“The machinery in our factory genuinely helps our fabricators do their jobs even better. For example, stations will provide warnings to operators if the restrictors and hardware are different colours, or they will ask the fabricator to check the colour of a window that needs to be finished in a bespoke colour, before assembly. We programme our equipment to process only what is meant to be processed on that machine. So, if a seamless Graf-welded VS has been ordered, that window cannot be processed on a standard welder. The welder will simply refuse.”

Ben Weber, managing director at Quickslide, said: “As well as proactively programming our machines to support our staff, we use intelligence from our equipment to speedily respond to new matters that arise too. Everything in our factory is live and visible so if an aspect of the business isn’t performing at maximum efficiency, we can identify it quickly and put measures in place to rectify it. We also monitor downtime at each station to ascertain where production slows so that we can remedy a small hitch, before it becomes a problem. This is all done via machinery as staff scan themselves out of a station and provide a reason for leaving.

“Using this system, we previously discovered for example that employees were leaving a particular station for a long time to find components. The components were not being made available in time, so we resolved this before our staff even had a chance to bring it to our attention. It’s this level of efficiency that simply can’t be achieved without smart systems in place.”

Adrian said: “There are lots of ways you can use technology in a manufacturing business, but to use it to best effect and ensure smarter operational practices, you need to commit, and fully integrate it into the business. We have intelligent systems throughout the organisation, from the factory floor through to our office-based processes and are looking to further expand our online offering to customers to complement our level of commitment in-house.

“There is no question that smart is the future, so forward-thinking installers need fabricators that have already future-proofed their business and embraced intelligent manufacturing in the right way.”

Quickslide Ltd
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