The modern production line of Finnish window manufacturer SAAGA Ikkunat breathes new life into the industry – Laser Marking of wood with Cajo’s CO2 Laser improves the highly automated window manufacturing process
When the Finnish window manufacturer Saaga Ikkunat automated the company’s production processes, an advanced Laser Marking unit by Cajo Technologies was integrated into the new production line. High-quality markings by Cajo Laser ensure readability throughout the product’s lifetime and can store a massive amount of information, such as full traceability and reliable product identification. This data can be read by intelligent Cajo Machine Vision solutions at different manufacturing stages increasing production efficiency.
Saaga Ikkunat is a Finnish window manufacturing company specialising in motorized smoke exhaust windows and interior windows. The family-owned company has a highly automated production line at its production facility near Hämeenlinna in Torvoila, Finland. Originally, the production line was designed and built to increase production capacity.
A Cajo Tailor CO2 Laser was integrated into the production line to mark wooden objects with data matrix codes and a human-readable code with 1-5 digits. At later stages of production, the Laser Marking code is read several times with Cognex code readers. Intelligent machine vision is designed to automate and improve production processes by providing reliable traceability and product identification data. The production line’s control logic automatically retrieves the desired parameters for each production phase from the production control database. The most important information found in the database is the processing rounds that go into manufacturing a product. In addition, the location of the object in the transport cage is stored in the database.
“We are sincerely very proud of the current solution. We cooperate closely with almost all Finnish window manufacturers, and we constantly have industry operators here on a visit to observe how modern and technologically advanced our production is”, says Saaga Ikkunat CEO Ville Salminen.
The modern production line of Saaga Ikkunat uses a Cajo Laser to mark even organic products with high-quality, precise and permanent product markings.
The smoke exhaust window must pass strict quality standards
The motorized smoke extraction window is the primary product of Saaga Ikkunat. The window can be installed, for example, in the stairwell of an apartment building, in a public space or in an industrial plant. In the event of a fire, the window is intended to both ease the work of the rescue service and limit property damage. The window opens by pressing the switch and vents out toxic fire and smoke gases, soot and heat that otherwise would remain indoors.
“The smoke exhaust window is a product that has been CE-marked according to two different product standards. The notified facility performs the initial testing of the product and monitors the production with annual audits. These inspections monitor how the high quality of the product is ensured and how the components are traced from the finished product all the way to the source”, Salminen says.
Saaga Ikkunat always carefully studies the location for which the customer needs windows. In order for the smoke exhaust windows to work in the best possible way in the case of an accident, Saaga Ikkunat starts working together with the customer already in the planning phase.
“We do not just manufacture and deliver the product, we go through each case thoroughly with a designer and ensure with our own expertise that the product is the best for the customer’s needs and that the necessary requirements are met”, Salminen explains.
In addition to smoke exhaust windows, the company manufactures interior windows and partition windows, which can be used, among other things, to divide space and limit sound, noise and fire. Products are delivered to hospitals, schools, kindergartens and offices, for example. The partition window is an agile product that can be used to easily customize a space.
“The window can be manufactured more easily with the new line in accordance with architectural plans and, for example, using a more special type of wood. We are able to process this product very flexibly and take into account special requests from the customer”, Salminen says.
Why it’s important to be able to customize a production line already in the design process
Originally, Saaga Ikkunat made the windows by hand. However, the company wanted to respond to the market requirement for greater production capacity and implemented massive automation in its production facility. Line investments have been designed to double the capacity already in a fairly short term. Another Finnish company specializing in tailor-made woodworking machines, Finnbaum, was selected as the designer and supplier of the new production line. Finnbaum had already implemented product traceability by integrating Cajo Lasers into the production lines supplied by the company.
“I was intensively involved in the design process together with the project manager hired for the project, and we deftly challenged all the offered solutions and brought our own solutions to the table. From these pieces, the definite solution was refined together. I believe that for example for these reasons I am very satisfied with this line because I was able to influence things at a very early stage. In addition, it is easier to make decisions about substantial matters when you understand their inner workings”, Salminen recalls.
First, Cajo Laser marks the wooden objects moving along the line. The markings are then read at different stages of production. Wood always naturally has some color variation, so each object is marked with an additional confirmation marking in addition to the primary marking. Marking twice ensures the completion of the object even when the first laser marking sequence hits, for example, a spot in the wood darkened by pitch or a branch.
High-quality and permanent markings by Cajo ‘s patented Laser Marking technology improve production efficiency and reduce risks thanks to reliable traceability and product identification.
When the Laser Marking time was optimized, all the parts could be marked
When the line and Cajo Laser were implemented over a year ago, production processes were optimized to guarantee the highest possible marking quality. In order to build the production line that suited the facilities of Saaga Ikkunat best, the Laser was placed immediately in front of the painting machine. After the Laser Marking process, the part gets an immediate paint layer on its surface.
In contrast to other objects, the markings on the parts of the smoke exhaust window frame are lasered on the ends of the parts. When the marking is complete, the part has already partially entered the painting process and cannot be slowed down, stopped or moved in reverse on the line while being marked.
“We had to readjust the marking time of the Laser so that the part can pass through the painting machine without stopping. The other objects can be stopped to be marked or even moved back on the line to be marked again, but marking the parts of the smoke exhaust window frame and a frame part of maximum length produced some challenges. In the end, even this special situation was resolved surprisingly well”, Salminen recalls.
Each part moving on the production line is marked by Cajo Laser with two data matrix codes, and a clear human-readable code consisting of 1-5 digits. Virtually an infinite amount of information can be stored behind these five numbers by utilizing advanced database solutions behind the traceability system.
“We have an open-source production control system that we have customized to a very large extent ourselves, which we continuously develop even further with our own coder. This gives us enormous opportunities for utilizing the marking, for example“, Salminen says.
When a part is marked, the code reader camera using intelligent Machine Vision reads the permanent markings done by Cajo Laser to confirm the processing rounds required for the object. Processes can include, for example, hole drilling, machining and embedding of the counter-iron of a lock or hinge, and quilting at the ends. The processed and painted parts end up in the transport cages and from there finally to the assembly.
“Four different parts of the window may be in four different transport cages, and one manufacturing series may contain as many as 200 different objects. We can view up to eight different end views of transport cages on a large screen. The assembly program locates the parts coming into one window with the help of markings from the sides of the different cages, and the assembler has an easy job of picking the parts for the press”, Salminen says.
Thanks to automated and modern technology, the door is open for larger window markets
Saaga Ikkunat stands for local sourcing, environmental friendliness and sustainability, and constantly strives to develop both its products and working methods. However, customer orientation is at the centre of all the company’s activities.
“We work here and make our windows so that the buildings are safer,” Salminen says.
Saaga Ikkunat requires the same values from its partners. With their long-term work, Finnbaum and Cajo Technologies have proven themselves to be reliable partners and have shown that the systems can be made to function together as a comprehensive solution with the customer’s production and software. The cooperation will continue also in the future – Saaga Ikkunat is happy to act as Cajo’s brand ambassador.
“We are committed to using Laser in the long term, and we are happy to proudly present our production processes to Cajo’s potential customers as well. Even though we are still a minor operator in the industry, our exceedingly modern and technologically advanced production processes have attracted interest, which also presents us with the opportunity to grow our brand awareness and networks”, Salminen summarizes.
If you want to advance & automate your production processes to the max reliably by using high-quality Laser Marking technology & intelligent Machine Vision, request an offer from Cajo here.