When a declaration of performance and EC certification are created, supporting documents must be kept for 10 years. Winterglas GmbH were faced with the challenge of how to cope with the additional workload that these regulations bring with them. The insulating glass and standard glass processing company contacted LiSEC in 2012 to work together on a solution. Today, Winterglas is able to produce declarations of performance at the simple push of a button. We show you how you, too, can adopt a hassle-free approach to the construction products regulation.
The Managing Director of Winterglas, Andreas Winter, relies on LiSEC's GPS.qms software for creating the declaration of performance.
The associated EU regulation number 305/2011 indicates that the construction products regulation was passed two years ago. The actual initiatives involved in implementing the regulation, however, have only come about in recent years. These have caused many insulating glass manufacturers to take the significant additional administrative workload seriously.
Winterglas GmbH, located in Leiben, Austria, looked into the matter back in 2012. They sought a solution that not only fulfilled the company's obligations vis-à-vis the construction products regulation, but also one that benefited the business and justified the additional workload and costs involved.
It was soon clear that it would be practically impossible to manage to issue declarations of performance (DoP), as required from 1st July, without the help of IT. This is why Managing Director, Andreas Winter, joined forces with IT partner, LISEC Software GmbH, at the beginning of 2012.
Quality management systems: the key to the construction products regulation
It soon became apparent that this project offered a great potential to transform manufacturing into a transparent process, including the different raw materials used, the process steps and testing procedures.
This would allow Mr Winter to check the manufacturing schedule, raw materials and relevant test results in the future – virtually at the push of a button! If a defect is discovered at the end of the manufacturing process or a complaint is received, this system helps pinpoint the cause and supports the internal quality control procedures. This results in a complete Quality Management System (QMS) which goes beyond the requirements of the construction products regulation.
Everything begins with the declaration of performance requirements
The first decision was to supplement the product's master data with the data required for the declaration of performance. This information comprises:
These values were determined for all of the company's standard products and frequently arising combinations using conventional software available on the market.
GPS.qms offers the Declaration of Performance at the click of a button
This allows Winterglas to generate declaration of performances for all order items during order entry, so that these can be issued at a later time. Perhaps an even more important feature is the fact that a list of all order items is issued straight after order entry, detailing items for which master data still needs to be recorded for the declaration of performance. This leaves enough time to determine and record the missing master data before the delivery documents are printed.
Every declaration of performance generated is given a unique number and stored in the system, where it can be revised and updated. The system ensures that labels showing the CE symbol also conform to the new regulations by bearing the reference number for the corresponding DoP.
How to win the paper war
The construction products regulation stipulates that the customer must be provided with one declaration of performance for each of the different items ordered upon delivery of the item. "Different items" in this instance refers to different glass structures, or varying types of spacer frames depending on material and thickness. However, separate declarations are not needed for glass of different dimensions.
In practice, this means that customers, from 1st July 2013, will need to be provided with as many declarations of performance as there are different insulating glass combinations on the delivery note.
This means that the delivery man must be prepared to wage war on a certain amount of paperwork. Bearing in mind that the construction products regulation only requires one declaration of performance to be provided for one insulating glass combination, Winterglas decided to file all declarations of performance generated for a particular customer under the customer's name. This avoids re-issuing declarations of performance for types of insulating glass that the customer has already received. This will keep the mountain of paper as low as possible.
The link between the declaration of performance and the items on the delivery note will be generated automatically on the delivery note. The DoP number and existing performance details can also be printed on the delivery note alongside the type of insulating glass, in addition to the usual information printed to date. These are, as shown in the table above, the U-value, G-value- Tv-value and the R-value at most, but the G-value at the very least.
If the delivery note contains only order items with an identical glass structure, same spacer frames and sealants, the performance data will only be issued once for all items to keep the document manageable and to minimise the waste of paper.
Transparent manufacturing begins with tracking materials
The where-used list for materials is regulated by both European EN and national standards and has been in place since the introduction of the CE symbol. As a rule, businesses rely on the manual recording of the materials used, e.g. on the production lists. The resulting documents are then filed chronologically in folders, and some documents will certainly be missing on occasions. Of course, not all standards require that raw materials be traced. However, in the event of a complaint about substandard quality, it is very important to be able to identify which materials were used in the manufacture of the product – even years down the line.
This is where Winterglas saw the potential of smartening up data generation in the future, saving it in a paperless environment for subsequent analysis. The existing LiSEC software "Purchasing" module was enhanced for this purpose.
When goods required for the manufacturing process are received, employees record the delivered goods, the supplier and their batch number via user-friendly templates. A printer then prints out a bar code label for every delivery, which is stuck on to the goods (crate, barrel, batch of glass etc.).
The goods are then stored with this means of identification.
If the company uses one of the latest LiSEC glass storage racks, the storage system software links in to the crane operations and manages all warehouse data. This data includes the transport of material to the adjoining automated cutting machines, as well as transfers within the warehouse and cover sheets that are lifted in front of batches of coated glass on other storage racks.
All of the data relating to the storage and movement of materials is sent via a documented interface to the LiSEC QMS software on a daily basis, where it is automatically linked to the manufacturing data from the production planning software.
If the storage system and cutting plant used is not equipped with such sophisticated control software, glass consumption is recorded manually by scanning the bar code on the label on the batch of glass. The same holds true for recording material data on the insulating glass line.
For example, when a barrel is changed, the bar code on the label of the sealant container is scanned by hand and automatically linked to the active manufacturing data for the corresponding insulating glass line.
The fact that all manufacturing and material data carries a time stamp allows all materials, machines and systems used to be linked to the corresponding insulating glass with sufficient precision. Critical machines also automatically generate an internal notice of completion after every manufacturing step, which is transmitted to the QMS to avoid any ambiguity.
Simple administration of off-line testing
The construction products regulation requires an internal manufacturing quality control procedure. The scope of these control procedures is defined in the corresponding standards (e.g. EN 1279 for insulating glass). Winterglas conducts typical tests at regular intervals, in compliance with standards, including
the precision of the cut,
the molecular sieve with temperature test,
the even and ample application of Butyl sealant,
the material composition of the unit edge,
the gas filling level of functional insulating glass,
the unit thickness of insulating glass sheets,
the fracture pattern in tempered safety glass.
The LiSEC QMS software provides Winterglas with the appropriate templates to allow these tests to be carried out regularly and test results to be recorded in an organised fashion, and linked to the corresponding manufacturing contract. The templates can be modified to a certain extent and designed for new tests.
A complete QMS makes complaints handling easier
These initiatives provide a solution to the Managing Director's more important need: at the push of a button, he knows
which materials are being manufactured
on which machines and systems,
by whom (optional) and when,
and what quality control tests are being carried out and their results.
If a customer contacts the company with a complaint, e.g. the laminated glass film is damaged, the batch number of the laminated glass can be used to immediately call up all contracts that were produced using the same batch. This is a simple and effective way of documenting supplier standards. Furthermore, being able to forewarn customers about possible defects strengthens customer relations.
GPS.qms – simple to integrate
The "Quality Management System" module, GPS.qms, is integrated seamlessly into the GPS.order and GPS.prod system package currently in use. GPS.qms is already available. Luckily, the implementation and training that it requires remains within tight limits in terms of budget and time.
Winterglas now has even more reason to believe that the construction products regulation and the obligations it brings with it are not only advantageous for market surveillance, but can be put to the benefit of both the company and its customers.