Imagine a window factory in 2050. The robotics are building frames, and lasers are cutting glazing. The products are built with such precision that inspection is not needed. Products are produced the day they are needed. The factory is modular, sited near customers, and can produce 4,000 different units per day with only 50 humans.

The materials that the units are built from are extremely strong, durable nanofibers, making the windows 60 percent lighter than those produced in 2020. All glazing is polymer, and each window is energy-tunable to its final location. All the subcomponents are 3-D-printed on demand to customize each window for customers. The performance of the window is well beyond early-2000s products, as each one is computer-designed to protect the building occupants from any weather event or security event.

Windows are now the eyes and ears of the building, allowing the control network to respond as required. Electronics integration is a key process in the robotic final assembly. Daily production demand is smoothed using algorithms that equal the capacity of the plant; if over-committed, other local factories are automatically loaded with the work. Subcomponents that are more economical to purchase are delivered constantly by the Amazon drone network directly to the line. Each component has its own identity that is known by all the robotics, eliminating errors.

A high variety of colors and shapes are in final assembly simultaneously.

As each group of windows is completed, it is loaded into reusable racks and into a driverless UberTruck for transport to the building site.

Since most windows are now leased, the units are robotically installed into a snap-in integrator with the building. This allows easy replacement, service or upgrading. As the windows are integrated into the building, their software is uploaded into the control systems for tuning and owner customization. The windows and doors constantly communicate their status, event status, and needed maintenance to the network cloud.

What an exciting process it will be to make these ideas into a reality. I presume that most of these ideas will be in use in 35 years since they are all in the news now. I also presume many revolutionary ideas will be used in 2050 that have yet to be invented.

So how can we use this information to guide our innovation?

  • Do your own “what will the future of our products be in 2050” exercise with your Innovation team;
  • Select the most practical and feasible ideas to start developing now;
  • Plan how these ideas will affect your business and change your long term investments to support this direction;
  • Energize your team with the long-term view this exercise reveals, and;
  • Make the future starting today.

Only one generation from now this could be reality, so let’s get started.

Please let me know how your innovation is progressing by emailing me at and see the Fenestration Innovation Network on Linkedin.

1 Comment

  1. Why mess with a factory? Just put in on the cloud and electronically imagine the window!

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