Customised manufacturing is being digitised and automated
11/8/2023 Experts Know-how HOLZ-HANDWERK

Customised manufacturing is being digitised and automated

Read about the benefits of introducing these technologies to window and timber construction and the factors you definitely need to consider.

Do your customers have special requests? Is it hard for you to find suitable skilled workers for the workshop and assembly? Is the demographic transformation making it difficult for you to fill positions as they become vacant? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you need to learn why automation, robotics, and even artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming essential for craftspeople.

This article describes the benefits of introducing these technologies to window and timber construction and the factors you definitely need to take into account.

Automation enables customisation

Modern architectural design, climate protection regulations, and customer demands for modern living environments are challenging for the window and timber construction sector. Consistent use of a digitally controlled machining centre for automated component production can cover everything from BIM planning data transfers and measurement acquisition to window production using modern CNC systems. It allows you to achieve customisation, higher quality and autonomous machining through the automated loading and unloading of parts. You’re also able to manufacture more complex products faster, which makes you more competitive.

Digitisation strategy for expanding automation

According to an IDC study (2022), automation is a permanent part of the digital transformation. This makes it an essential component of a digitisation strategy. Automation can’t function without comprehensive data from the product and its production.

By the same token, process automation also can support the digital transformation:

  • The quality of data is improved, and systems that operate separately are linked.
  • Documentation is predominantly digital, in real time, and automatic.
  • Manual tasks and tasks that are physically demanding for employees can be performed by machines.

Other direct benefits of automation include:

  • Your company presents a modern image to customers and business partners
  • Improved quality and efficiency
  • Cost reduction
  • Standardisation and simplification
  • Connectivity
  • Transparency
  • Responsiveness
  • Better resource planning
  • Higher customer and employee satisfaction

Pay attention to data interfaces!

In the context of digitisation, standardised data interfaces make it easier to configure and align functions with your company’s automation requirements. They provide connectivity and allow you to constantly expand systems with new functionalities. When these prerequisites are in place, you’ll also be able to meet future requirements with the help of automated production using modern, flexible, and integrated machines.

Incorporate artificial intelligence

Adding artificial intelligence (AI) to automation and robotics takes manufacturing to a whole new level. Here’s a practical example: In an Environmental Innovation Programme project, Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency demonstrated how the AI-supported, fully automated lamination of geometrically complex PVC window profiles can result in considerable resource savings, both for the company and in terms of climate protection.

To achieve this, Schüco PWS Kaschierungs KG commissioned a robot system that can be adapted to almost any PVC profile. Processes for the pre-treatment of profiles and for foil feeding were also automated.

Preliminary results of the project have already shown how automation and AI can reduce carbon emissions. With a 44 percent capacity utilisation, the plant was able to reduce carbon emissions by about 105 tons per year. This technology can also be used in other companies in the industry or in other companies with similar application scenarios.


Before automating processes in your company, you need to observe technology trends and evaluate their use in your business:

  • Find out which trends may become important over the medium or long term for automation in your sector or in your field of activity.
  • Actively share your experiences with industry colleagues, the broader industrial community, and research experts.
  • Find out what other companies are doing and the approaches they’ve successfully applied or rejected and for what reasons.

Check out the expert interview “Integrierte Bearbeitungssysteme machen die individuelle Fensterfertigung wirtschaftlich!” (“Making integrated machining systems profitable for customized window manufacturing!”) that will be conducted on Thursday, 21 March 2024 from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. It will take place at the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITIZATION Forum. An expert will tell you about the best ways to approach the challenges of the digital transformation and what specific requirements your automated machining system will need to fulfil.

For information on all the practical interviews and discussions, including times and information on participants, consult the event schedule for the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITIZATION Forum that will be held from 19 to 22 March 2024.


Portrait of Jasmin McNally

Jasmin McNally

Public Relations HOLZ-HANDWERK