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Efficiency from automation

How to digitalize and automate a precast plant?

Every precast manufacturer ponders how to improve productivity and quality and increase the efficiency of their production. Better machines, strict concrete mix and process control, well-trained personnel, and other improvement measures are all good. But can digitization and automatization of the plant’s processes help? What is worth being automated, and how to start?

General benefits of automation

Any digitalization and automatization steps you will take help to

  • optimize precast production
  • enhance the product quality
  • decreasing error occurrence
  • streamline the whole process
  • improve safety
  • increase competitiveness
  • create more sales
Automatic hollow core plotting, Plotter E9 user interface
Elematic Plant Control precast software: wall production module in use

What is the difference between digitalization and automation?

Simply put, digitalization is digital support of processes and tasks, while automation is running processes and tasks automatically. The former means replacing manual processes and paper documents with computer-aided, digital ones, and the latter utilizes computer data and transfers functions or entire processes from human to technical, computer-managed systems.

Suppose before your team operated precast production machines physically and marked openings manually to each product directly, and now all this is carried out independently without human intervention. In that case, you can say that the operation has been successfully automated.

There is no automation without digitization

For automatization of any processes, first, you need digital data. The machines need correct data to work; they do not run themselves.

Furthermore, the design and production software data needs to be compatible. Engineers should design precast concrete elements using CAD or BIM software to make technical drawings and support the elements’ automatic manufacturing.

What is worth to be digitalized?

Using the right kind of software, you can digitalize step by step processes related to production based on digital product information like quality control, storage yard management and truckload planning, material purchase orders or prices calculation.

Software for transportation planning will tell you where your precast concrete elements need to be delivered to and in what order.

Start with the most time-consuming processes

Where do you repeatedly have problems? For example, planning production sequence manually, even using Excel, is quite an effort. If a small change occurs in the production, you need to repeat the whole planning process.

Using a manufacturing execution system like Plant Control  Floor or Plant Control Wall in Elematic Plant Control, you can quickly and efficiently re-plan the production schedule.

Learn more about Elematic Plant Control

Investing in a new fully automated precast plant

Precasters, who want to establish a new fully automated precast plant and plan high production volumes from the very beginning, reap the rewards from automation’s full potential. Automatic machines, combined with fully automated production lines and all plant operations, bring significant long-term benefits.

Elematic EDGE production lines and machines are specially designed for precasters seeking very high capacity, a wide product range, and highly automated precast production. EDGE is the ideal solution in markets where precast is generally adopted as a building method and demand is high.

EDGE includes state-of-the-art machinery, the highest possible automation level, and a Plant Control precast production planning system– a cost-efficient solution for optimized production control, real-time production flows, secured uptime, controlled material consumption. BIM software can be connected to Plant Control and extend control from structural design through production and to the construction site.

Elematic offers automation solutions in PRO and EDGE production lines



At Bauma in October 2022, Elematic launched highly-automated production lines for double wall production, the EDGE and PRO double wall factories. The solutions in the layouts are based on decades of experience in wall production lines and dozens of hours of layout simulations.


Elematic double wall lines


Since spring 2021, the Norwegian precast producer Contiga has manufactured hollow core slabs on the Island Askøy. It only takes 10 operators to run the daily production of three beds.
“The layout of the factory is very good, and the speed of the machinery is impressive. I am proud of the level of automation that we have achieved. We can do a lot with quite limited resources,” says Production Director Hilde Fløgstad.


Automatic machines require changes in many processes

Upgrading the precast production to an automated level is not just purchasing automatic equipment and necessary software. It will help if you acknowledge that the new plant practices affect the whole process. The automation will require changes in personnel’s skills, data treatment, setting up and running, and maintenance of the automatic machines.


Move from existing mechanized production to automation step by step

If your existing production runs entirely on regular machinery without automation, changing a single machine to the automatic one is possible, but it does not work without data processing and management changes.  For example, the automatic Modifier cannot mark any openings if it does not receive digital drawing data for that.

Elematic can consult you on how and where to start.

You may plan to increase capacity and expand the existing lines – consider making the new line automated!

Automatic hollow core slab transportation with Wagon E9

Automation helps to attract and keep a skilled workforce

One more advantage of automation is a clean, safe, and convenient working environment. Automation allows the industry to be more attractive to the new generation. Fewer workers on the production line mean fewer risks of injuries. Minimized amount of dust and dirt also make the precast plant a more attractive workplace for the workers.

Finally, satisfied and loyal employees stay, learn and gain experience, which, in turn, helps the precaster to adopt new, more complex processes continuously.


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