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Connected Equipment and the Future of Manufacturing

Machinery isn’t exempt from the world’s shift to technology-based solutions. Ready or not, automation is the future of manufacturing. Companies today have no choice but to embrace Industry 4.0 in their manufacturing practices or run the risk of being left behind, according to leading industry machinery and equipment suppliers.

Industry 4.0 is a broad and, at times, daunting term. At its most basic level, Industry 4.0 is computers connecting and communicating with each other, often taking human involvement out of the equation. Window + Door sources estimate half of daily tasks will be automated within five years.

Related Reading: Industry 4.0: Where we are, where we’re going

Today’s machinery for manufacturing residential windows and doors is reaching a new level of maturity to further address user needs such as automation, efficiency and labor concerns. The product category has spent the past years in rapid development and, although that development hasn’t slowed, with it is coming a maturation of the market. Equipment manufacturers are hyper-focused on high-performing machinery that seamlessly integrates with the other systems in place, delivers accurate results and is efficient enough to do more with less.

Related Reading: The Maturation of Equipment and Automation

Discussions of factory advancements have only accelerated during the pandemic, as companies tackle labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, delays for service and replacement parts, and more. However, the path to digitalization is complicated and may look different for each company.

Related Watching: What's Trending in Manufacturing Webinar

Representatives from leading residential and commercial glass fabricators and suppliers discuss trends in the industry, top challenges, Industry 4.0 and more. This webinar was recorded in August 2020.


GPAD—Glass Processing Automation Days—provides a unique two-day opportunity to investigate new and innovative technologies in the glass and fenestration fabrication industry and to discover the additional benefits of automation and integration. GPAD was founded in 2013 by FeneTech Inc.; NGA took over as organizer in 2019, with FeneTech recognized as a “Founding Partner.”


GPAD returns in 2022, March 29-31 in Nashville, where glass fabricators can meet up with industry machinery, equipment, tool and software suppliers to discuss advancement on the factory floor.


“At GPAD, the very focused topic of complete factory automation and integration is about futureproofing,” says Nicole Harris, president and CEO of the National Glass Association. “GPAD’s sponsors present solutions in a classroom setting, and the conversations continue during relaxed social gatherings with fabricator customers and prospects. The intimate size and focused scope of GPAD make for meaningful exchanges to build relationships; proof is in the repeat attendee list.”


“I’ve only been able to attend that one GPAD event, which took place pre-pandemic in San Antonio,” says Don Power, vice president of manufacturing for Aldora. “What came out of that first GPAD meeting for me was a new laser logo machine, new digitizing software, and some great ERP discussions—all of which has helped our business tremendously.”


Learn more about GPAD at


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Laurie Cowin

Laurie Cowin is editor of Window + Door. Contact her at