Innovative Smart Factory Optimizes Quality and Throughput for Rytec High-Performance Doors

To gain tighter control over the supply chain, improve quality and increase throughput in its high-performance door manufacturing facility, Rytec Corporation has built a new state-of-the-art Smart Factory. The Rytec Smart Factory is the company’s most significant investment in people and equipment during its 38-year history.

The Smart Factory is the result of a two-year transition to acquire and install new advanced robotic and semi-automated production machines, as well as data collection technology that optimizes the manufacturing of innovative high-performance industrial doors. Parts and components that were previously outsourced are now manufactured and assembled in-house.

“Our investment in this technology is a direct response to our continuing commitment to better support our customers with high-quality products and shorter lead times,” says John B. Snyder, Vice Chairman at Rytec.“ In recent years, it became clear that we needed more in-house manufacturing capabilities, so we invested in the latest automation, software and live material resource demand planning to build a Smart Factory.”

In the hands of specially-trained team members, the automated equipment provides a consistent feed of high-quality metal components needed for the company’s top-selling high-speed door models: Rytec Spiral®, PredaDoor®, FlexTec® and Turbo-Seal®  Insulated doors.

Since fully implementing the Smart Factory in Rytec’s Hartford, Wis., facility in late 2023, the company has already significantly increased production, shortened lead times by 50% and begun to reduce material scrap – all goals previously considered unattainable. In addition, the company has added employees and promoted factory staff to machine operations and programming roles.

New Automation Fleet

Rytec’s new Smart Factory equipment includes:

  • A fully-automated metal storage and retrieval system that quickly and safely dispatches sheet metal, reducing lifting hazards inherent in manual systems
  • Automated fiber optic laser and punch machines to cut and punch sheet metal for doors and parts
  • Robotic cells for bending large sheet metal forms used in side columns, column covers and spreaders
  • Collaborative robotic welding cells
  • Large-format CNC machining centers to drill, tap and custom-cut aluminum profiles for door side columns, bottom bars and headers
  • An automated powder coat system for quick, automatic color changes programmed into the system, saving significant time compared to manual changeovers

The communication between the new automation equipment and machinery makes the factory truly “smart.” Engineered software connects the equipment to Rytec’s ERP system. Production orders are automatically dispatched to deliver all necessary door part dimensions, quantities, and materials.  Once parts are programmed, the production plans are generated to maximize machine runtimes and material utilization. This provides full transparency for all work orders flowing through the Smart Factory.

Rytec continues investing in new technology as part of its dedication to the highest standards of quality and customer satisfaction. The company’s 2024 modernization plans include adding fiber optic tube lasers, robotic welding cells and CNC machining centers at the company’s Jackson, Wis, headquarters facility.

For more information about Rytec and its cutting-edge production facilities, visit the Smart Factory page on the Rytec website.