When it comes to patio covers, carports or façade and garden elements, family-run Belgian company Renson has always been ahead of the competition. To make sure it stays that way, a brand new production facility is being built ten kilometres away from the company’s headquarters – and the SBZ 628 XL profile machining centre is set to play a crucial role. “Thanks to elumatec we are bridging the gap between innovation and production”, says Pierre Balcaen, the man responsible for the digital transformation of the new Renson facility.
This factory of the future is currently under construction at the ‘De Prijkels’ business park in Kruisem, a short journey along the E17 motorway from Renson’s headquarters, and is scheduled to begin operations in 2020. The actual headquarters is located in Waregem, a town in the Belgian province of West Flanders renowned in Belgium for its Hippodrome, where every year the “Waregem Koerse” steeplechase is held. And Balcaen is responsible for negotiating all the hurdles involved in building the new three-storey Outdoor Experience Centre – the factory of the future – which accommodates a total of 50,000 square metres of production space on a greenfield site.
Image copyright: Renson, Waregem
But the challenges don’t end there, as the overall project also includes creating a new IT infrastructure and installing new machinery. Balcaen explains why this transformation is so important: “Product innovation has always been a key part of Renson’s DNA, but we need to reduce the time it takes to get these innovations onto the market.” Renson is therefore switching to the state-of-the-art SAP S/4HANA communications infrastructure, SAP EWM with a user-defined MES (Manufacturing Execution System) on the SAP MII (+ PCo) platform. “We have to be able to integrate the machines we use into these new workflows”, he says. “That means they have to allow automation, connectivity and transparency in production.”
Three SBZ 628s for efficient profile machining
Tasked with identifying suitable machinery, the Renson team found what they were looking for at elumatec. Three identical SBZ 628s are planned to be in operation in Waregem for efficient profile machining by 2023, with the first SBZ 628 already on site at Renson headquarters, set up (a process taking less than a week) and currently in preparation for use. But why did Renson choose to invest in elumatec machinery? A look at the company’s current production systems provides the answer. Renson works with conventional saws and routers, which means multiple steps are required in production: first the workpiece is sawed, then it is sent to the router, then it is transferred to the paint shop. “This is complex and time-consuming, so for the new facility we will work with profile groups. We only have to configure the SBZ 628 once, and then we can machine between four and six groups at any one time – for us that was the clincher”, explains Balcaen.
The SBZ 628: the profile machining centre can handle multiple machining steps, making it a key element in the new Outdoor Experience Centre
Renson manufactures custom-made products, which makes it even more important that the machines can be used at full capacity as continuously as possible. The SBZ 628 uses eluCad software, developed by elusoft, to integrate into the Renson SAP infrastructure. eluCloud, the new software package for monitoring and analysing machine data, is also used. “The aim is to collect data in real time and use a real-time API to transfer it to the system”, explains Stefan Huster, Head of Software Development at elusoft, who is helping the team at Renson to configure the SBZ 628 so that it meets their specific requirements perfectly.
The starting point is to analyse the cutting surfaces, and the result will be fully automated, continuous machining of workpieces – and all the while, eluCloud will be analysing relevant parameters such as machine status and wear. How long does the SBZ 628 take to complete a job? eluCloud provides the answer, and the software also offers the potential to optimise production through status analyses.
eluCad and eluCloud – a digital transformation
“The pioneering technology in the SBZ 628 is particularly important”, says Balcaen, given Renson’s desire for fully automated production, “as all the company’s systems are produced as individual parts.” Take the Camargue patio roof with rotating slats, for instance, which has over 300 options for the customer to choose from. In future, a 3D model will be generated once the desired configuration is chosen. If the customer confirms the order, the 3D data for the individual parts will be sent ready for production, and eluCad allows this data to be used for fully automated machining. When the potential of eluCloud is combined with Renson’s SAP environment, which among other things calculates material costs and manages the sales process, the vision of a networked, extensively automated factory of the future starts to materialise.
When we interviewed the Renson team, they were still in the learning phase and were testing new profiles on the SBZ 628. The second profile machining centre will be commissioned in the new building in June 2020, “as an exact copy of the first machine” in Balcaen’s own words. This will guarantee a smooth transition, as both machines will operate with exactly the same configuration. And when production begins in September 2020, Renson is keen for the collaboration with elumatec to continue. “We are looking for a long-term partnership”, says Balcaen, and with the new opportunities enabled by networked machines – think the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 – he has no hesitation in saying: “We’re building for the future with elumatec.”
Renson currently showcases its pioneering interior and exterior solutions for healthy spaces on site,
and will do so in the new Outdoor Experience Centre too. The aim is to offer customers a personalised
overall package, working alongside other providers when required.
CREATING HEALTHY SPACES
Whether it’s sun shading integrated into the façade, intelligent ventilation or smart living, the family-run Belgian company Renson has become an international trendsetter, making its dream of “creating healthy spaces” a reality in over 80 countries with its customised ventilation, sun shading and outdoor living solutions. Founded in 1909, the company has become a byword for high-end design and innovation, with 10 per cent of its staff employed in research and development.
The rapidly growing Renson Group employs 1,200 people in total, and its products give customers healthy and comfortable outdoor living spaces with clean air and emperatures to suit their needs. Renson’s product range includes ventilation systems, fabric sun shades and aluminium awnings, patio covers, carports, façade cladding and garden elements.
Renson’s headquarters in Waregem:
the family-run company has an annual turnover of over 220 million euros.
For more about Renson, visit: