Windows of opportunity
Durable plastic, weather-proof aluminum or versatile wood – when it comes to windows and doors, customers are spoiled for choice. Modular machines from Dubus process all of these materials but place tough demands on automation components. Together with B&R, they arrived at a perfect solution.
Over the last two decades, the introduction of new materials has brought big changes for the wood industry. Door and window frames are now predominantly made from PVC and aluminum rather than wood. These materials provide much better insulation and are particularly low-maintenance. Another advantage of aluminum is its appearance. Not only can it look remarkably similar to natural wood, but it is also available in a wide spectrum of colors.
Originally specialized in industrial assembly lines for the wood processing industry, Dubus recognized this trend early on and realigned its entire portfolio accordingly. Dubus machines now process aluminum PVC and composites as well.
Yet new materials are not the only challenge facing the wood industry; there are also some daunting economic forces at play. With close ties to the residential construction industry and household spending behavior, demand for doors and windows has always been subject to cyclic fluctuations. In response to a slight downturn in the construction industry and more conservative investments by customers, the Dubus Group has expanded its business to include production facilities for industrial profiles used in the automobile, railway and aviation industries, which are not subject to the same market trends as the wood industry. This has created exciting new opportunities for the company.
Modular machine concept for maximum flexibility
Dubus machines are primarily used for trimming, machining, assembly and handling processes. Each machine Dubus creates is customized for a particular customer and involves some combination of these processes.
It has become virtually impossible to quickly adapt specialty machines to the constantly evolving needs of customers. This can be attributed not only to the expanding customer base, but also to the expanding range of materials to be processed. In order to master these challenges, wood processing machine specialist Dubus began developing its new machines with an innovative modular design. Each machine represents a custom configuration of standard, reusable mechatronic modules.
Perfect match for modularity
The Dubus group trusted the task of automating these new machines to B&R. The systems and support provided by B&R have made it possible to complement the standardized machine modules with an equally modular automation solution. Xavier Demas, automation manager for the Dubus Group, explains the reasoning behind selecting B&R for this project: "B&R's comprehensive range of products is able to serve all of our needs for control components, servo drives and operator panels. Furthermore, B&R's Automation Studio is the ideal software tool for implementing our modular machine concept."
Dubus machines equipped with B&R technology
These days, Dubus machines come equipped with automation components spanning the entire spectrum of B&R products. This includes X20 PC-based CPUs, X20 I/O modules and Power Panels for all control and HMI tasks, ACOPOSmulti servo drives for CNC tasks and bar feeds, ACOPOSinverter VFDs for spindles and conveyors and stepper motors for the many settings needed during setup.
Extensive Soft CNC features integrated in Automation Studio handle all of the various processing steps, including trimming, drilling and milling. Like all of the other automation tasks, the corresponding CNC tasks are implemented modularly. As a result, these tasks can very easily be combined with one another, integrated seamlessly into other tasks such as conveying and handling or reused with different tools and profile formats – all by simply changing a few settings and without having to write any new code. In addition, all of the modular machine variants can be managed conveniently in a single Automation Studio project.
Dubus looks to the future with B&R's solution
All new Dubus machines now come equipped with B&R systems, thanks to the extreme flexibility of Automation Studio and the extensive range of B&R products. "We benefit greatly from our partnership with B&R and enjoy the flexible service and expert support B&R is able to provide at all of our locations," praises Demas. Satisfied with the collaboration so far, the Dubus Group plans to develop a new machine each quarter powered by automation from B&R.