We’re in one of the CUF’s industrial site’s control room – the true heart of the factory, where many technicians sit watching various screens placed at different levels. Translated into easy readable text, all of the different stages of production can be seen on these screens.
Everything is controlled and anything happening can be analysed in real-time and intervened in a way to optimise all of the manufacturing process.
Although in CUF’s industrial hub there are buildings of varying ages showing the best that has been done in this sector throughout the Portuguese industrial history, current factories, full of operators working under adverse conditions, are far from being units of the 19th century – these days in the centre of the factories you see few people, everything is controlled by machines.
Outside, throughout the zone of factories, workers cycle among the buildings, fitted with helmets and with masks in their bags. All of the safety equipment and care is respected.
In the main complex building, Eduardo Teiga, the CUF technical director, explains the main milestones in the automation of the company: “At the beginning the automation hubs were specific, they worked like islands, isolated among themselves. Our main priority was to harmonize, wherever possible, the equipment from various manufacturers, as well as the processes, so as to be able to have a team of excellence, able to come and implement whatever a Company with its own production technology would need”.
Besides guaranteeing total automation of the factories, the data made available by the control systems could give a higher advantage. To have automation and procedure control is not enough. It is necessary to utilise the fountain of information for the constant improvement and management. Thus an information system was designed and implemented from scratch that automatically integrated this information, which could be made available to the various levels of management in an intuitive and flexible way consolidating actual data and integrating it without additional effort, such as in CUF’S ERP. Thus arose SIAP, which has become an indispensable tool promoting the transformation of data into information and knowledge and puts these in action”, explains Eduardo Teiga.
But CUF’s innovation is not limited to the automation, it systematically promotes at all levels an innovative culture with the aim to create new solutions and perfect the productive processes.