Cutting Edge Investment at Crittall Windows

Crittall has become the only steel window manufacturer with fully integrated business management, order processing & fabrication systems following the completion of a project to introduce state-of-the-art software & machinery.

The installation of KLAES product configurator software and two new CNC machines will streamline the business operations from quote and initial order through manufacture and delivery cutting out time-consuming processes and paperwork. The result will be increased output, productivity and efficiency as well as new products brought to market more speedily.

“This investment in KLAES software and additional CNC machinery responds to increased demand for our thermally broken steel windows and doors as well as our Innervision internal screens,” says Crittall Windows Managing Director Russell Ager. The technology reduces lead-times, makes data accessible across the business and revolutionises the tracking of orders. It also feeds into the company’s advanced ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning software that controls all aspects of the business including finance and inventory. Once an order is placed the raw materials required can be ordered automatically.

The combination of CNC machines - now five in number - with the new software also aids product development increasing dramatically the speed - in months rather than years - by which new windows and doors can be brought to market.

Creating a prototype from an initial design used to involve time-consuming, not to say costly, re-tooling but now a model can be simply produced as with a 3-D printer.

Ager promises a number of new products and existing product enhancements coming forward later this year.

The installation of the new technology reduces what he calls “person dependency” but does not replace the importance of individual knowledge built up over many years. “This knowledge and the skills that are in peoples’ heads has been embedded in the new system,” he says. “This in turn makes recruitment and the transferring of roles much easier.” He adds: “But there is still an element of hand crafting in all Crittall products, and this will continue to be the case.”

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