Volume 42, Issue 8 - August 2007

Annual Guide to Equipment & Machinery   
Prepared by Ellen Giard, Megan Headley and Tami Faram

Has the time come for you to buy a new glass washing line? Are you thinking of switching to automated IG production? Are you thinking of bringing laminated production in-house rather than outsourcing? If you said yes to any of these questions, the USGlass Annual Guide to Equipment and Machinery is for you.

We all know that when purchasing a new car or a house, you don’t just pick the first one you see. Careful consideration and examination goes into your final decision—after all, you want the car or house to fit your specific needs. The same is true for machinery. Before you buy anything, ask yourself: What do I want to do with this line? What type of product do I want to make and what markets do I want to reach? Once you know the answers to these questions you will find yourself better prepared to begin discussions with your equipment supplier. 

The Big Picture
One key point to consider before a machinery purchase is the costs associated with outsourcing versus manufacturing the product. You’ll want to do an extensive market analysis of in-house costs and advantages versus those of your current suppliers.

“Many times you can outsource the production without the investment, risks and capital involved in purchasing the equipment,” says Bill Stone, president of Louisville Plate Glass in Louisville, Ky., and a director of United Glass Corp. “You have to have the business skill and understand when the time is right for you to bring that production in-house. You have to analyze what you will be saving by doing it yourself versus outsourcing and if the differential savings gives you a quick payoff then that’s probably a sign you should begin production yourself.”

“Look at everything involved,” adds Mike Kelley with Tristar Glass in Tulsa, Okla. “If you already have a large market share through outsourcing you’re not likely to grow that much by bringing production in-house. But if you have a smaller market share then there’s more business that you can grab yourself.”

Also important before making any machinery purchase is to understand the markets you will be serving and to be realistic about the level of quality you want to bring to your customers.

“Determine for yourself what you want to offer and then use that knowledge to help your suppliers and vendors fit you with the equipment that will best meet your needs,” says James Gulnick, the Eastern regional sales manager for Glaston America Inc. (formerly Tamglass). Some types of tempered glass, for example, do not demand the same level of quality as others. Gulnick says glass companies should determine what their value proposition will be. “What will you give your customers that no one else does?” he says. Before taking the plunge, be sure to investigate alternatives. Seek existing users’ opinions on what the equipment—and the supplying vendor—will be able to provide in the future.

Support, service and parts are also important considerations. Kelley says, for him, service after the sale is the most important part about buying equipment. “So much equipment these days is imported that you need to know what support network that supplier has in the United States because you can’t afford [for your line] to be down.” He adds that your service and equipment utilization is just as important as quality. “If you’re running 100-percent of the time and the line breaks down your lead times are dead,” Kelley says. “You need to build in maintenance time and that goes back to how good the service is that you get from your vendor.”

Questions to Ask
Here are some questions to ask suppliers before making any type of equipment purchase:

Support questions to ask: Does the equipment supplier have a large service staff with years of experience to help guide me through my company’s daily challenges? Can the supplier help me by supplying process knowledge and tips for a more successful and profitable operation? Is the supplier available in my time zone, and do the company’s employees speak my same “glass” language and know my business?

Service questions to ask: Does the service department know the equipment inside and out? Do they know the end product my company makes and will they help train my operators to make it better? Can they keep my company up and running and help get me back in business when there is a problem? Are service people employees of the equipment company or employees of an independent representative without immediate access to drawings and in-depth product knowledge?

Parts questions to ask: Are parts locally stocked and available immediately when a critical situation arises? Are systems designed to have minimum downtime and to use parts found at a local supply house? Are replacement parts able to be replaced by my maintenance staff with very little help needed from the equipment supplier’s service department? 

We interviewed machinery manufacturers, suppliers and glass fabricators to get their take on what’s most important and we’ve compiled the consensus information here over the next 10 pages. This guide is designed to serve as a reference for companies considering any major machinery purchase. We welcome any feedback you’d like to offer about the guide as far as future categories we should include. You can e-mail Megan Headley (mheadley@glass.com) to let us know what else you’d like to see covered here next year.

Considerations When Buying

  • Abrasive Belt Machines:

  • What is the line’s production output per day?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and how much workforce is needed to accommodate it?


    Aluminum Fabrication Equipment:

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company?

  • What type of mechanical features does it possess? 

  • What type of software is required and from what source will it be supplied? If the software is provided by a source other than the equipment manufacturer how do you know they will be compatible?

    Automatic Loading Systems:

  • How fast is the system?

  • What is the average number of errors per shift?

  • How will this system help meet my quality production requirements?

  • What is the line’s per-shift production capacity?


    Butyl Extruders:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and can your workforce accommodate it?

  • What types of materials can the line process?• What is the rate of consistency at which the material is dispensed?

    Centrifuge Systems:

  • Does the line’s rate of production accommodate your company’s goals?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?• What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

    Bevelers:

  • How will the machine capabilities meet your production requirements?

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • How can the line be adapted for future growth? 

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • How will your return on investment support future growth for your company?

  • What after-purchase assistance and services does the supplier offer?

    Bending Equipment:

  • Take into account the “outsource vs. buy” equipment analysis: What is the total cost of ownership versus how much bent glass production you currently outsource? 

  • What is the predicted cost of equipment repairs?

  • What is the predicted cost of operator training and personnel needed to run the equipment?

  • What is the predicted cost of energy needed to run the equipment? 

  • Consider whether you really need to add bending production. What is your market like already? What sizes, types and thicknesses of glass do you plan to bend? Will you offer custom or standard sizes and do you have the flexibility for fast production or quick flexible change over? Do you know how to “right size” your bending line to maximize your current cash flow and leverage your strengths for future growth opportunities?

  • What are your preprocessing needs and what is the best preprocessing for the highest yield? Do you have the equipment necessary to bring it all in-house? What alternative supply sources will you consider if other bending suppliers cut you off?

  • On what level of quality will you sell? What value proposition will you offer your customers? How important is it to you to keep control in-house? Do you require a premium for the service you offer? What quality requirements need to be met? Keep in mind that many simple machines can bend, few can bend with high-quality results.

  • What is the average production capacity of the equipment?

  • What type of software is required and from what source will it be supplied? If the software is provided by a source other than the equipment manufacturer how do I know they will be compatible?

  • What is the complexity of the machine’s configuration and controls?

  • How much does the unit cost?• What is the average cycle time of the equipment?

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

    CNC Cutting Lines:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and how is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?• What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • How precisely does the machine cut?

  • Is it possible to add edge-deletion capability to the line?

  • How much waste does the line create?• How will waste be handled? 

    Desiccant Filling Machines:

  • Does the equipment offer easy loading and minimum waste?

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • Is the machine guaranteed to fill the frames perfectly? A flow meter can be used to check this. 

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

    Cutting Equipment:

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

    Water-Jet Cutters:

  • How many times per year on average does this line require maintenance/repair? 

  • Which parts most often require repair/maintenance and what is the cost of those parts?

  • How will the supplier ensure fast and reliable service and support?

  • How efficient is the abrasive cutting head assembly compared to other brands? Ask for documented proof from a non-biased study, such as from a university. This is very important, as the abrasive itself is the single biggest cost in running an abrasive water-jet.

  • What type of software is required and from what source will it be supplied? If the software is provided by a source other than the equipment manufacturer, how do I know they will be compatible?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

  • What are the installation costs?

  • How will the supplier ensure those who will be operating the machine are properly trained?

  • Who manufactures the ultra high-pressure pump and abrasive cutting head? These items are the heart of the system and will be maintained and serviced the most.

  • Describe the construction of the tank and the type of materials from which it is made. 

  • How many times during the life cycle of the line can you expect to have to replace the tank?

  • How will the water jet work with your current cutting table and how many cutting heads will you be operating?

  • What kind of safety zones are in place to disable the machine’s drive motors should the cutting bridge suddenly go to the other end of the machine?

  • What is the cutting accuracy of the machine? 

  • What are the performance capabilities of the line at low pressures vs. high pressures?

  • What features and options are available for pressure setting, head spacing, height control, etc.?

  • What is the pump’s seal life?

  • What is the pump size and water output?

  • What options are available for water recycling?

  • How do you ensure the drive system components are protected from abrasive and water?

  • Which items are most susceptible to wear? Knowing this keeps you from being surprised when they fail.

  • Is it possible to combine the cutting water-jet with other production steps, such as edge working or polishing, so repositioning of the glass is not necessary? 

    Coating Equipment:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

    Curing Ovens:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?• What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

    Conveyors:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • How does the line’s layout configuration fit with the layout of your plant?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • What statistical process control software/systems are available?

    Double-Gun Sealing Equipment:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • How will the machine’s capabilities meet your production requirements?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • Will the equipment maintain an exact mixing ratio?

  • What is the cycle time of equipment? This is important to know to prevent under-filling or overfilling of the cavity. 

    Edgers:

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

    IG Assembly Stations

  • How often will an operator be required to actually handle the glass?

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

    Grinders:

  • What measures has the supplier taken to ensure a high-quality piece of equipment?

  • What skill level is required to operate the grinder? 

  • What is the grinder’s annual production capacity?

  • What size grinders does the manufacturer offer?

  • What medium or type of glass will you be working with? Your medium will determine the type of grit necessary for your grinding wheels. 

    Drilling Equipment:

  • How will the machine’s capabilities meet your production requirements?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company? 

  • What operational challenges does the line pose? 

  • How does the manufacturer bring quality to the equipment? 

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

    Ovens for IG Production:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

    Loading Systems:

  • What is the line’s average production cycle time? 

  • How accurate is the system?

  • How can the line help you meet your quality production requirements?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company? 

  • What type of mechanical features does the system possess? 

  • What type of software is required and from what source will it be supplied? If the software is provided by a source other than the equipment manufacturer how do I know they will be compatible?

    Hot-Melt Machines:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • What will be required in order to increase/decrease the volume of the material dispensed as my company’s production needs evolve?

  • What is the consistency level of the material dispensed?

  • What is the cycle time of equipment? This is important to know to prevent under-filling or overfilling of the cavity. 

    Laminating Lines:

  • Take into account the “outsource vs. buy” equipment analysis: total cost of ownership, including the investment outlay, monthly cash flow, repairs, downtime, idle time, operator training, personnel, energy, etc., versus how much laminated glass is currently outsourced. What return on investment are you seeking?  

  • Consider manufacturers who can provide several solutions rather than being locked into one.

  • Remember that not all laminating equipment lines are alike. Choose a system design that provides higher productivity with less energy consumption.

  • What sizes, types and thicknesses of glass laminates do you plan to run—custom versus standard sizes and flexibility for fast production or quick flexible change over? Low-E, for example, requires high-convection, which most laminating line suppliers do not offer. Safety glass and bullet-resistant glazing require added flexibility and system strength. Do you want to have the ability to upgrade the system to handle future production requirements if needed? Also, find out how to size your laminating line to maximize your current cash flow and leverage your strengths for future growth opportunities.

  • What are your preprocessing needs/production requirements? Do you know the best PVB and glass combinations for your highest yield? Have you selected a washer and water purification system? Do you have the equipment and the plant/production space necessary to bring the production cycle in house? Consider alternative sources of supply in case other laminating suppliers cut you off.

  • On what level of quality do you plan to sell? What value proposition will you offer your customers? Is keeping control in house important to you and how much is it worth? Do you demand a premium for the service you offer?

  • What skill level is required to operate the line? 

  • What is the line’s per-shift production output?

  • How can the line help you meet your quality production requirements?

  • What scrap rate can I anticipate?

  • How fast is the line? 

  • How accurate is the line?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company? 

  • What is the line’s average production cycle time? 

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?• How long before this line becomes obsolete?

    Insulating Glass Lines:

  • Start with a detailed projection of all types of IG constructions that you expect to see at least three years into the future. Often, the best equipment vendors are ones that can provide a variety of solution ideas that can then be refined with the detailed knowledge of where a manufacturer is going.

  • What type of spacer technology can the line accommodate? 

  • How many sealed units can the line produce per shift? 

  • What is the maximum and minimum unit sizes the line can produce?

  • What capabilities does the line offer for fabricating specials, such as shaped units, interior or exterior muntins and/or multiple air spaces?

  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of horizontal vs. vertical production lines? 

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • Consider your needs or desires for machine configuration add-ons, including:• Automated glass loading system;

  • Edge deletion system;

  • Arissing/seaming;

  • Grills applicator;

  • Gas filling;

  • Cork applicator; and

  • Automated unit unloading.

  • Consider what type of maintenance and service support is available to you. Is it hotline support? Or personal service support?

  • What is the spare parts availability?

    Presses:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • Does the press allow for automatic adjustment of pressing time? 

  • Can the press be opened for maintenance? 

    Gas-Filling Equipment:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

  • What is the reproducible degree of gas filling (above 92 percent) on all different insulating glass unit sizes and different spacer materials? 

    Screen Printing Equipment:

  • What capabilities does the line have for handling large glass lites?

  • What is the heaviest weight/thickest glass the line can handle successfully? 

  • Consider construction design, or printers that are designed to handle hassle-free production.

  • Consider the print head construction and the print head weaknesses. As with all printers, print heads are robust enough to keep the screen frame flat, steady and vibration-free with the screen absolutely parallel to the print table at all four corners. 

  • Consider the machine’s peel-off integrity for utilizing “on-press” printing techniques. With large size printing machines, the peel-off function plays a critical role to the success of print quality. As such, the design of the rails the peel-off systems operates on must be absolutely flat, without any signs of a slight bow, for blemish-free quality. 

  • Look at squeegee assembly, which is the ‘heartbeat’ of the printer. It is the squeegee assembly design and construction that determines foremost how well any machine will print. Due to this, always evaluate any printing machine by literally printing the maximum size piece to see if it can yield a blemish-free print evenly all over—a tough demand at best.

  • Consider the machine’s edge-to-edge printing capability and the printing equipment’s ability to meet modern demands. In today’s world of automotive printing, edge-to-edge printing has become an epitome for OEM quality. However, how the system works is not a simple matter nor are they common in design. Regardless of system’s techniques employed, it should be fast and simple to operate with minimum interruption to productivity. 

  • Check for blemish-free prints. Coating material dripping from the squeegee will always render the print useless and severely interrupts productivity, particularly with tints. Consider a device with an anti-drip squeegee system that will prevent otherwise good prints from being ruined during the print cycle. 

  • Allow for fast setups and changeovers that make custom ‘one-off’ prints profitable. Profitability is difficult at best because downtime is costly and destructive to the bottom line. Therefore, when routinely printing a few pieces down to custom one-offs, consider many optional features such as a laser system to gain registration extremely fast, which will significantly reduce downtime—for quick setups and changeovers. Review pneumatic frame clamping and quick access to screen (in-production cleaning) as well as other features that will also enhance productivity with short-run production. 

    Screen Printing Equipment:

  • What capabilities does the line have for handling large glass lites?

  • What is the heaviest weight/thickest glass the line can handle successfully? 

  • Consider construction design, or printers that are designed to handle hassle-free production.

  • Consider the print head construction and the print head weaknesses. As with all printers, print heads are robust enough to keep the screen frame flat, steady and vibration-free with the screen absolutely parallel to the print table at all four corners. 

  • Consider the machine’s peel-off integrity for utilizing “on-press” printing techniques. With large size printing machines, the peel-off function plays a critical role to the success of print quality. As such, the design of the rails the peel-off systems operates on must be absolutely flat, without any signs of a slight bow, for blemish-free quality.

  • Look at squeegee assembly, which is the ‘heartbeat’ of the printer. It is the squeegee assembly design and construction that determines foremost how well any machine will print. Due to this, always evaluate any printing machine by literally printing the maximum size piece to see if it can yield a blemish-free print evenly all over—a tough demand at best.

  • Consider the machine’s edge-to-edge printing capability and the printing equipment’s ability to meet modern demands. In today’s world of automotive printing, edge-to-edge printing has become an epitome for OEM quality. However, how the system works is not a simple matter nor are they common in design. Regardless of system’s techniques employed, it should be fast and simple to operate with minimum interruption to productivity. 

  • Check for blemish-free prints. Coating material dripping from the squeegee will always render the print useless and severely interrupts productivity, particularly with tints. Consider a device with an anti-drip squeegee system that will prevent otherwise good prints from being ruined during the print cycle. 

  • Allow for fast setups and changeovers that make custom ‘one-off’ prints profitable. Profitability is difficult at best because downtime is costly and destructive to the bottom line. Therefore, when routinely printing a few pieces down to custom one-offs, consider many optional features such as a laser system to gain registration extremely fast, which will significantly reduce downtime—for quick setups and changeovers. Review pneumatic frame clamping and quick access to screen (in-production cleaning) as well as other features that will also enhance productivity with short-run production. 

    Sealant Dispensing Equipment:

  • What type of material will you be using—epoxy, silicone, urethane, polysulfide, mastic, etc.?

  • Do you need a single-component, plural-component, fixed-ratio or variable-ratio system?

  • What are the characteristics of the material you will be processing—mixing ratio, viscosity, color, etc?

  • What compatibility issues does the material you are processing have with other chemicals?

  • How does the material you are processing react to moisture?

  • What types of applications will you be running—bonding, gasketing, molding, sealing, etc.?

  • What are the application specifications—shot or fill? What is the cycle time? Is it a bead-type application? If so, what is the flow type?

  • What is the temperature of your plant and will material temperature control or conditioning be needed?

  • What’s the layout of your plant floor and what is the distance from the dispenser to the supply?

  • hat are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the longest distance you can gun the material?

  • How accurate is the equipment?

  • What are the line’s maintenance requirements?

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

    Spacer Assembly Stations:

  • What is the minimum and maximum size the equipment can accommodate?

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

    Spacer Cut-Off Machines:

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • What level of production output is most conducive to support automatic production?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inline vs. stand-alone step operations?

  • What are the line’s mechanical and electrical requirements (i.e. air, water, drainage, sewage, etc.)?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • What is the line’s changeover time and do you have the workforce to accommodate it?

  • What is the average number of breakdowns?

  • What is the average life expectancy of the line?

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company? 

  • What type of mechanical features does the machine possess? 

  • What type of software is required and from what source will it be supplied? If the software is provided by a source other than the equipment manufacturer how do you know they will be compatible?

    Washing Machines:

  • What is the equipment’s rate of production and is it in alignment with your company’s processing needs?

  • Can the bearings be greased from the outside for ease of maintenance?

  • Can the water temperature be maintained at a set level?

  • Can the water consumption be lowered with a recycling system?

  • Is the washing machine made with stainless steel or galvanized steel for durability?

  • What are the minimum and maximum part sizes for the line?

  • What is the minimal amount of floor space required by the equipment?

  • How will the return on investment support future growth for your company? 

  • What type of after-sale serviceability does the manufacturer offer?


Product Spotlight
For.El Introduces Automatic SuperSpacer® Applicator
The Italian company For.El offers an automatic IG line for SuperSpacer application. According to the company, a continuous strip of spacer is wound onto a bobbin and then applied directly onto the glass; the applicator delivers the product with the desired offset until it forms a closed frame. The machine can apply the spacer frame to either rectangular or shaped units and the applicator is equipped with a measurement device that detects the thickness of the glass automatically. The applicator is also manufactured with a loader that is used to quickly change bobbins when necessary. The bobbin, once fitted to the applicator, is completely encased in a specifically designed climate control cabinet. This equipment can accommodate all SuperSpacer thicknesses that the automatic applicator TSS can work with. www.forel.com

Lisec Offers Processing Machinery
The Austrian company Lisec, which has its North American headquarters in Minneapolis, says it is the glass industry’s “all-from-one supplier,” as it offers a product range of machines for insulating glass production and glass processing.

Lisec’s products include cutting machines, vertical insulating glass lines with fully automatic flexible spacer applicators for various materials, as well as complete production systems for traditional box spacer bars for metal and composite materials.

In addition, Lisec offers a flat-bed tempering furnace that the company says is designed to produce tempered glass that is free of optical distortion. www.lisec.com

Drilling at the Bits
Now available from Cicero, Ill.-based Sommer & Maca is the TD-2.5 vertical two-sided glass drill. The system runs on 115 volts and, according to the company, is designed to save valuable floor space. The drill accommodates glass sizes up to 1 ¼-inch thick and can create hole sizes up to 5 ½-inches. The maximum glass lite size is 60 by 100 inches and maximum drill depth is 32 ½-inches. All materials are processed vertically, allowing the system to use X-Y coordinates for precise location of the hole center. In addition, the company says this minimizes the chances that glass will be scratched or broken during handling.

Other features include bottom edge rollers that guide the vertical-edge glass in position during fabrication and a recirculating coolant and pump system. www.somaca.com

More Machines, Taking Up Less Space
CMS North America in Caledonia, Mich., says its Runner 3.70 cutting table is fast, accurate, user-friendly and reliable. A compact control pedestal integrates electrical components under the table. The control uses a Windows interface and standard PC for software and networking capabilities. Two large gears driven by a single motor provide smooth and quiet tilting. The monoframe table remains rigid even when loading maximum size sheets of 102 by 145 inches and up to 1-inch thick. The Vertec vertical drilling/milling machine was designed for the shower door market. It has a modular vertical design which allows the operator to load manually or from a conveyor. The glass is stationary while the machining is done, eliminating potential scratches from back and forth movement. The Vertec can perform almost any drilling, notching and grinding operations. Deltagrind grinds all four sides of rectangular and trapezoidal glass shapes. The machine minimizes floor space with vertical design and maximizes output with a continuous, uninterrupted flow of parts. It produces seamed, flat and pencil edges, and automatically reads the shape of each part. Sizes up to 157 by 102 inches may be fed continually into the machine manually or automatically. www.cmsna.com 

Glasstech’s FCH2™ Takes Care of Low-E Glass Tempering
Glasstech Inc. in Perrysburg, Ohio, provides a low-cost solution to tempering low-E glass: the FCH2. This gas-fired forced-convection system tempers coated glass in 33 seconds per millimeter. The company says its forced-convection systems offer low energy costs and are as much as 50-percent less expensive and facilitate cycle times 25-percent shorter than standard electric heaters. www.glasstech.com

Three Brands, One SourceSalem Distributing Co. based in Winston-Salem, N.C., offers a variety of equipment lines from several different manufacturers.

Included in the line-up is the Bovone ELB 17/45 a 16,770-pound 17-cup type wheel edger designed to produce cerium-polished precision flat edges, miters and arrises; the Bovone ELB 14/45, a 11,030-pound, 14-cup type wheel edger designed to produce precision cerium-polished flat edges with seams; and the Bovone ELB 10/45, a 10,000-pound 10-cup type wheel edger designed to produce cerium polished flat edges or miters with arrises. Equipment from Vitrododi is also available from Salem Distributing, including the Open Top 15S, vertical glass washing machine. All of the body parts are manufactured from stainless steel as well as the water tank. The washer features hot wash, cold wash and rinse cycles to maximize washing performance and speed and, according to Salem, to further enhance washing performance, the 15S is equipped with two pairs of 4-inch diameter cylindrical brushes.

From machinery manufacturer Cambi, Salem offers the Verticam C 130, a specialized piece of equipment for drilling sheet glass in the vertical position. The vertical configuration is designed to maximize floor space in the shop or the plant, and Salem says its drill utilizes numerical controls to ensure accurate drilling even in high production settings. It can also store drilling jobs for future work. www.salemdist.com

USGlass magazine would like to thank the following companies for their input, feedback and guidance in creating this year’s Annual Guide to Equipment and Machinery: AGM Glass Machinery, Bystronic, Casso-Solar, Glasstech, Glastar Corp., Glaston America Inc., Gyrotron Technology Inc., KMT US Inc., Joseph Machine Co., J&S Machine Inc., H&G Industries International Inc., North American Glass Equipment, Lapcraft Inc., Lisec America Inc., Nordson Corp., McKeegan Equipment & Supply, Salem Distributing Co., Sealant Equipment & Engineering Inc., Sommer & Maca Industries Inc., TruSeal Technologies and Vesuvius USA.

When Buying Offshore Equipment …

  • An increasing number of glass companies have begun purchasing equipment and machinery from China. While the products may be less expensive than similar lines from domestic or European manufacturers, there are still a number of considerations you should take before making that purchase. Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing off-shore equipment:

  • Will the system operate in compliance with U.S. standards? It is important that all imported systems comply with North American standards. Systems should comply with UL design and be capable of handling thin and low-E glasses for commonly desired sizes.

  • What type of after-sale support is available? The availability of parts and local support often is not seriously considered during evaluation. At the very least, the equipment manufacturer should offer nationwide service with a readiness of common spare parts. 

  • What type of approval has the system earned? Is the system’s output performance officially recognized by an international industry leader? 

  • Consider the welcome mat when buying equipment. Does the vendor welcome visitors and is the company eager to test with the customer’s own glass? n

USG
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