On global scale roughly 140 to 150 metric tons of consumer glass products are created each year. Glass is used in a myriad of consumer products ranging from food and beverage packaging, lighting products for homes and businesses, automobile windshields, and windows in buildings to insulation for buildings, fiber optics for communications, and tubes for televisions. The glass industry consists of four major segments:
- flat glass (windows, windshields, etc.);
- container glass (bottles, jars, etc.);
- fiberglass (building insulation and textile fibers); and
- specialty glass (cookware, flat panel displays, light bulbs, fiber optics, medical equipment, etc.).
The ton-production ratios are respective around 25, 60, 10 and 5%. Current Key investment drivers are costs, quality and increased productivity.
Immense float glass facilities are the suppliers for the flat glass industries. The continuous character of the production process in these facilities, in combination with the product diversity (color, thickness, coating etc), quality (unpredictable yields) and size, limited stacking devices and huge energy consumption place vast requirements to the planning and scheduling processes. Avoidance of scrap is a major point of attention. As total capacity is fixed, due to the mere process itself, production capacity can only be changed by changing the number of facilities, with huge investment consequences.
The industries using the flat glass (i.e. automotive glass, laminated glass for construction industry) are faced with special requirements in their production processes. Complex safety stock procedures have to be maintained due to the vast amount of product types and configurations in order to meet the requested short and strict delivery times implied by the (automotive) industry. The complexity of the processes with its typical long set-up times of the different ovens at various stages in the production processes, in combination with the diversity in quality and quantity of raw materials, job-sequencing issues and numerous set-ups and batch sizing issues, require specialized planning solutions to meet agreed delivery schedules.
The last issue is a common problem for all sectors. The distribution of the huge amounts (in weight and numbers) of products to be delivered to the customers, generally on very tight delivery schedules, is a logistic problem on its own in order to develop the optimum distribution network to meet the service commitments made to the customers while minimizing inventories.
ICRON provides solutions that helps to manage process manufacturing, and complex constraints in this industry and gives a range of industry-specific capabilities, such as:
- Campaign planning
- Multi Site aggregate planning to determine where to produce what taking into account the costs of production and transportation
- Strategic planning to determine potential production extension requirement and timing
- The ability to handle co-or by-products, and create plans that take multiple product possibilities into account
- Optimized production schedules that schedules orders to
- minimize set-up time a
- increase production capacity
- increase on-time delivery
- Integration with process control systems , which helps for the visibility of all process-related data and integrate information at the business, plant, and control levels