Volume 47, Issue 10 - October 2012

feature

The USGlass Annual Guide to Equipment AND Machinery
Machinery AND More

Looking for details on some of the industry’s newest machinery launches? Read on for an overview of some of these. Also, be sure to turn to page 42 for our preview of the upcoming glasstec show in Düsseldorf, Germany, and a look at some of the machinery that will be on display there.

INSULATING GLASS MACHINERY
Secondary Sealing

Erdman Automation offers a line of insulating glass (IG) secondary sealers, designed to offer a range of benefits. Among these are reduced waste, clean-up and defective IG units. In addition, the secondary sealers can be added easily to an existing IG line; automatically recognize cavity size and depth; offer consistent sealant application and quality; are capable of both dual- and triple-glazed units; and are available to dispense warm, cold and two-part sealants.

Among its many offerings, the company’s automated secondary sealer with integrated gas fill speeds cycle times by allowing operators to gas fill and apply secondary seal to IG units simultaneously.
www.erdmanautomation.com

Dispense Consistently
The Nordson VersaDrum piston pump bulk melters consistently dispense sealants, mastics or adhesives for insulated glass (IG) production. Piston pumps provide constant pressure with variable flow, ideal for intermittent dispensing applications, according to the company.

In addition, the “open” design of this high-pressure melter supports high-viscosity materials and the large-volume outputs required in secondary sealing of IG units. The melters also offer quick, easy installation on linear extruders as well as most other edge sealers, according to the company.

Additionally, VersaDrum melters support manual systems for fourth-corner patch or handgun use.
www.nordson.com/hotmelt

GLASS HANDLING EQUIPMENT
Matodi USA to Represent Keraglass, Famatec Lines

Matodi USA will now represent Keraglass S.R.L., the Italian-based manufacturer of heat treatment and coating equipment, in both U.S. and Canada, according to a company press release. In addition, the company also has added Famatec products to its North American offerings as well. Based in Greensboro, N.C., Matodi USA distributes a variety of flat glass fabrication equipment and tools.
www.matodiusa.com

FABRICATION
Bust the Swarf … with SwarfBuster
SwarfBuster has developed a patented coolant technology designed to remove glass particles from fabrication systems. The technology is designed to reduce water spot etching and other defects; provide energy savings and water conservation; and help equipment to run cleanly. In addition, the technology is designed to be environmentally friendly and safe for machine operators.
www.swarfbuster.com

INSPECTION SYSTEMS
Inspect It
A new optical inspection system that can inspect glass micro-parts in very high volumes is being made by Rayotek Scientific Inc. The system is modularized to make it easily scalable, allowing for cosmetic and dimensional inspection of billions of parts per year, according to the company. Company officials say the system was designed specially for use with vacuum insulating glass windows, with typical spacer sizes ranging from .5 to 1 mm.
www.rayotek.com

GLASS CUTTING MACHINERY
The Cutting Edge
CMS Glass Machinery offers several machines to assist with glass cutting.

Among these is the company’s laminated glass cutting machine, as well as glass cutting machines with a laser scanner system with electronic positioning, a precious cutting bridge made of aluminum, hydraulic tilting feature, straight and shape glass cutting feature, low-E edge deletion system for straight and shaped glass, and a vinyl glass cutting feature.

CMS processing machines include a vertical drilling machine, horizontal drilling machine, double edging machines, beveling machines, glass shape edging machine, flat and variable miter machine, glass sand belt grinding machine, and edging machine.

Additionally, CMS has insulating glass washing lines and auxiliary machines.
www.cmsmachine.com

A Sharp Deal
Pat Mooney Inc. introduces the PMI-455 Series to its collection of CE NC Automatic High Production Cutoff Saws. This series is used for aluminum and other non-ferrous metals and obtains a blade feed that is driven by a hydraulic system. Using the saw’s easy, navigating touch screen, the PMI-455’s blade moves horizontally through the material and is mounted on linear guide ways for more precision cutting. This model also includes a saw worktable that moves 2 mm forward as well as backward after the cut is complete and the saw blade is retracted. Distortion is adverted through the PMI-455 feature of pneumatic clamping system with adjustable clamping pressure. The clamp of the PMI-455 also allows multiple pieces of material to be cut at one time, according to the company.
www.patmooneysaws.com

GLASS FURNACES
Conveying Heat
Grieve Corp. has developed the No. 811, a 1600-degree-Fahrenheit gas-heated belt conveyor furnace. The No. 811 is utilized for forming glass in alloy molds at the owner’s facility. Workloads travel on a 6-inch-wide, B-30-28-14, Type 314 stainless steel mesh conveyor belt with 1/4-HP motor drive and continue through a 36-inch-long open belt loading zone. Materials then travel along a 12-foot-long insulated heat zone with three direct-fired furnaces and a 24-inch-open unloading zone. The product has a fixed speed of 12 feet per minute and also includes a remote free-standing control panel.
www.grievecorp.com

CNC MACHINERY
Get into the Groove
Lovati Fratelli srl’s Groove 315 machine is an engraving CNC machine equipped with four axes. It is designed to grind and polish straightline and shaped grooves. The machine is equipped with an automatic tools store, CAD-CAM software, tele-assistance and a touch screen. It can handle glass sizes up to 3,300 by 1,500 mm.
www.lovatifratelli.com

COATING
Glass “Tri-Coater” Available from Union Tool
The Union Tool Corp. now offers the glass “Tri-Coater” for spandrel glass or transparent glass production, offering controllable, high-quality coating thickness, according to the company. The Tri-Coater’s unique design allows for reverse coating of ceramic frit or silicone-based coatings and for direct coat of transparent or etch coatings, all on one machine.

The Union Tool roller coating applies smoothly with few striations, according to the company. The company’s roller coaters also are designed to provide easy changeovers from color to color or product to product.
www.uniontoolcorp.com

DECORATIVE GLASS MACHINERY
Laser Tag
Cerion GmbH, in conjunction with Laser Center Hanover, has developed a new laser process for the individual design of glass surfaces. It is called the c-vertica inclined bed laser system.

According to the company, the c-vertica is a futuristic system that not only enables the cost-effective finishing of glass surfaces with custom structures and motives but also the introduction of two- and three-dimensional decors inside the glass. The system utilizes a high processing speed to create new designs for interior rooms and facades for glass sizes up to 3,210 by 6,000 mm.
www.cerion.biz

New Silkscreen Printing Options Available
Glassline Corp. has released a new silkscreen printing machine. The machine features a patent-pending servo lift design of the silkscreen frame travel system, designed to provide precision and built-in automatic off-contact and peel settings. Glassline officials say the machine also features “simplified mechanics” for machine robustness and low maintenance costs, along with enhancements to its shuttle design.
www.glassline.com

 

On the Front Line
Equipment and Machinery Manufacturers Vary in Their Approach to New Concepts
by Samantha Carpenter

Hank Groves, owner of Groves Inc. of Woodstock, Ill., has been in the glass industry for 50-plus years. His years working for, and then owning his own, glass and mirror company prepared him well to know what glass companies need in the way of equipment handling.

“My whole background has been glass and mirror, and since then, I [have] furnish[ed] racks not only for the glass industry but for the stone, marble and granite industry,” Groves says.

While not all equipment handling or machinery manufacturer employees have owned their own glass company like Groves has, many equipment and machinery manufacturer officials agree with Groves’ idea: new equipment and machinery ideas arise from customers’ needs.

The Initial Spark
Steve Ashton, chief executive officer and co-owner of Ashton Industrial in Essex, England, a manufacturer of heavy-duty glass processing machinery, concurs with Groves.

“The initial spark for many ideas comes directly from the front line, namely the people who use our equipment for manufacturing their own glass products, our customers,” Ashton explains. “Sometimes it might come directly from the machine operators. An example would be the guy placing spacer frames on to glass lites on an insulating glass line.”

When Ashton asked this machine operator how he would change the machine given the opportunity, the machine operator pointed out the line was laid out to cope with large maximum glass sizes, and it was difficult to reach the top edges.

“[The operator] had to stand on a step ladder, and keep climbing down to move the ladder along the length of the glass,” Ashton explains, saying the solution came to him weeks later, as he was climbing into a tram in Vienna, Austria.

“As the doors opened, a step swung out from underneath. We subsequently designed a long step that the operator could swing out at the push of a button, wide enough to walk along to accommodate any length of glass unit,” Ashton says.

Tim McGlinchy, executive vice president of engineering, research and development for GED Integrated Solutions, says his Twinsburg, Ohio-based company also acquires machinery, software and product ideas when visiting customers’ plants.

“I often go to customers and not only see what they are currently doing, but also try to investigate and see what their challenges are in existing processes. A lot of customers don’t always know what to ask for in a new product or process to solve a problem. I just start asking questions, which leads to ideas and solutions,” McGlinchy says.

Most equipment and machinery manufacturers say they are approached weekly or monthly with new ideas, and while new ideas always sound like a good idea, there are challenges, too.

Communication is Key
McGlinchy says the biggest challenge is making sure the line of communication is open between manufacturer and customer. “I think the biggest challenge is getting a very clear and concise definition to be understood between the customer and us. You want to make sure you meet or exceed their expectations, and I think a good understanding of what you are proposing to sell them,” he says.

The process that a product goes through from its concept to release varies greatly from company to company.

Andrew Weidenhamer, sales engineer for Nanuet, N.Y.-based Casso Solar Technologies, manufacturer of industrial infrared and combination infrared or convection systems for the glass industry, says the overall process from concept to customer proposal could take up to about a month’s time, but “since most equipment is custom-tailored, it requires constant testing for the particular application.”

Thomas Bechill, sales manager for Atlanta-based Hegla Corp., which produces glass handling equipment, says, “Some [products] can be as short as a few weeks while others take years depending on the complexity and research and development required. It really depends on the scope and complexity of the upgrade and other items also required or impacted by upgrade.”

McGlinchy says when customers work with GED, his company utilizes a new product request process. He explains that this new formalized product request procedure helps GED understand the scope of the product, feasibility and risk involved for both parties.

“We also establish an estimate for the scope of engineering hours that is required in order to adequately research, develop, build, test and install the product. In addition, we determine what the strategic value is that will potentially lead to repeat sales,” he explains.

Customers admit to challenges, but seem appreciative of manufacturers’ abilities to meet their needs.

Mike McHugh is president of Solon, Ohio-based Caliber Glass Inc., a glass company that manufactures mall storefront entrances, shower doors and mirror walls and has worked closely with Ashton Industrial. He agrees that a big challenge is making sure the machine concept is clear between the customer and machinery manufacturer.

“Properly defining the exact need and requirements [is a challenge],” McHugh says.

McHugh says he would work with Ashton again because “Steve Ashton has common sense and practical ideas as to the best way to accomplish an objective, and when Steve commits to making something work, he keeps his employees focused on the task until the customer is satisfied.”

Glasswerks chief operating officer Dennis Jasmer concurs with McHugh, but was more specific about a machinery challenge his company faced.

“The biggest original challenge [we faced] was to seam custom-sized tempered products, including soft-coat low-Es,” Jasmer says.

“The original line into the United States was found and negotiated by Lance Porter of All Weather in the Vacaville, Calif., location. It worked well, but needed some additional engineering to meet all of the customers’ requirements, which today has been accomplished. Steve [Ashton] has been very helpful with his ability to meet the need of our organization,” Jasmer adds.

Not all new equipment or machinery concepts have a happy ending for the manufacturer, though.

Groves tells of a time when he made a prototype for a solar company. He designed racks for the top of buildings to haul solar panels, and his company went back and forth with this solar company on the design of the product for eight months.

“We made the final product, turned around and put it on a truck and shipped it. The next day … they went under,” he recalls. “We got a hold of the trucking company and had the shipment turned around and the rack brought back. That was a sad scene because we had thousands of dollars invested in the development of these racks. Sometimes they don’t turn out so good.”

While others may have not have faced the disappointment Groves did, manufacturers warn that there can be delays in the process, but that’s why many of them have a beta stage of development. Delays or problems tend to happen especially in the beta stages.

Choosing Strategic Partners
When GED moves forward with the new machinery or product concept in research and development, then it will choose and work with a strategic partner.

“We actually go through what we call a beta test process,” McGlinchy explains. “After we’ve determined and developed a concept machine in R&D, [the Alpha machine concept], this process removes and reduces risks [and] concerns and proves that the new technology or concept will work and can be successfully used as a solution to the problem or opportunity that needs to be addressed in the field.”

He says his company will then build a production model similar but more refined to take to the market for beta test and prove this process and machine in the manufacturing environment.

“This process can take anywhere from a month to six months in duration,” McGlinchy says, adding that once the beta test has been successfully completed, the new product can be released for commercialization to the rest of the market.

Colleen McKeegan of Canton, Mich.-based McKeegan Equipment and Supply, which produces insulating glass fabrication equipment, says her company also reaches out to customers in order to develop, design and test its products, although the amount of time it takes to complete the process will “vary depending on the details.”

It’s clear that in the glass industry, equipment and machinery manufacturers are looking to help their customers improve their manufacturing processes.

Ashton says, “We always like to find a cooperative customer willing to take the first machine in return for a special deal … and work with us on long-term monitoring and improvements in a real production environment.”

Samantha Carpenter is a contributing writer for USGlass magazine.


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