Process optimization goes digital: ELiSLAB 2.0 and FloorMES E9
Success in precasting has always been about process optimization, and Elematic has always been at the forefront in this field. Over the years, Elematic has introduced new machinery and equipment to optimize production flows, and the current product catalog provides solutions for every aspect of the precasting process. In recent years in particular, the focus of optimization has seen a shift towards the digital side of the process, and Elematic’s ELiSLAB and FloorMES E9 are prime examples of these types of solutions.
“The revolution of automation and digitalisation is already well under way. At this stage of the game, precast factories can gain a real competitive advantage by bringing their disparate systems together,” says Jarkko Salmensivu, Product Director at Elematic.
The two upgrades not only make precasting more efficient and economical, they also do away with lots of difficult calculations and the need to shift between different software. The payoff is not just speed and precision, but also a more enjoyable job.
Structural analysis made easy
Structural analysis has traditionally been a cumbersome yet obligatory step in the pre-production stage of hollow-core production. Now, thanks to ELiSLAB, these calculations can be done with one piece of software, covering everything from load, stress and strand calculations to the handling of the coating process. All calculations are quick to do with factory-specific settings, and reports are generated automatically, making it easy to accommodate any requests by the authorities.
“ELiSLAB truly makes our job a whole lot easier. I’m especially pleased with the user interface, which progresses logically and allows you to perform virtually unlimited calculations,” says Ari Korhonen, owner and CEO of engineering company Laaturakenne.
Korhonen knows what he is talking about as pre-production engineering constitutes a substantial portion of his company’s turnover, and the company’s training activities are also on the rise. Laaturakenne has been using the new software with success for almost a year now and has also cooperated extensively with Elematic in the software’s development.
“The job still needs to be done by professional engineers, but with ELiSLAB it’s really easy to bring them on board. Just show them the functions and they’ll be using them like seasoned pros in no time at all,” Korhonen says.
Factory managed from one central location
Just like ELiSLAB is geared towards having all calculations done in a single interface, the FloorMES E9 production execution system visualises all aspects of a plant’s production in one central location. By combining historical data with real-time data from the machinery and equipment, work phases can be optimized to achieve a smooth, continuous precasting process.
“The benefits are truly multifaceted. Not only can you streamline different phases of the production cycle, you can also react to production deviations or machine alerts well before any bottlenecks occur,” says Salmensivu.
Cross-fertilization of ideas
The impetus to create ELiSLAB and FloorMES came from the realization that despite all the possibilities of automation, far too many tasks were still being done manually. Before the advent of ELiSLAB, it was common for structural engineers to sift through multiple Excel charts in search of the right calculations. Before FloorMES, many factories were using stopwatches to measure production line durations and then planning production changes on the basis of iterations.
“What was needed was to bring the right teams together. With FloorMES, our automation and digital experts got together and listened to our customers and partners to figure out how many aspects of operations could be integrated into a single interface. Similarly, ELiSLAB involved teamwork among our structural analysis and digital IT teams, with partners like Ari Korhonen’s Laaturakenne providing invaluable support throughout.”
With all this integration going on, one is tempted to raise the question of how far it can all go.
“No one can foresee the future, but it’s certain that tomorrow’s winners will be the ones who can make divergent systems communicate and work together,” Salmensivu concludes.
“The revolution of automation and digitalisation is already well under way. At this stage of the game, precast factories can gain a real competitive advantage by bringing their disparate systems together.”