New Furnaces Could be the Start of Something Big for Press Glass

The first half of 2022 brought big changes for Press Glass’ U.S. operations, based in Ridgeway, Va. Director of operations, Gregg Vanier, started in February and is already thinking about the future. The company installed two new Glaston furnaces, one at the 270,000-square-foot facility in Ridgeway and another at the 110,000-square-foot facility in Stoneville, N.C. The Ridgeway furnace has been operating since February, while the
Stoneville location started its furnace in April.

Planning and executing the installation of not one, but two furnaces is not easy, but it’s a challenge the company has met before.

“We are fortunate our sister companies over in Europe are used to installing Glaston [equipment], so we have experience with the installations,” says Vanier. “Glaston brings in their crew, and then we use our maintenance techs from Ridgeway and Stoneville for the installment.”

It is a time-consuming process.

“You must be patient and let [the crews] do their thing,” says Vanier. “It’s the same as most other furnaces. You must heat it up and let the rollers burn for about 24 hours. Then [run] all your glass of different thicknesses and soft coats until you have the recipes locked in and have ensured all the sensors are working. After this, production is ready to go live.”

Vanier says it’s important to train operators and backup operators.

“We need our employees engaged and educated to prevent unacceptable product from leaving our building… the key is to have the operators adjusting when the Osprey [inspection system] tells them to. Operators need to raise their hand for help if they can’t fix the problem.”

With the facilities moving toward more automated machinery, the furnaces allow the company to produce more—and bigger— glass. Vanier says the new furnaces don’t necessarily add to the company’s product portfolio, but they do increase the capacity and quality of the glass.

“Architects’ eyes are getting bigger, and they want bigger sizes of glass,” he says. “That means [insulating glass units (IGUs) are] going to go up to 8-millimeter and 10-millimeter sizes.”

The Ridgeway facility also operates two cutting tables, auto seamers, grinders, polishers, a computerized numerical control machine, two heat soak ovens, one jumbo lamination line with autoclave and one IG line. The addition of the new furnace brings in more glass and a plan to eventually add more machinery.

“We already are staffing up with a second IG line coming at the beginning of June and hope to be operational by the first week of July.”

Şişecam Breaks Ground on Packaging Facility

Şişecam held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $281.1 million* greenfield glass packaging facility in Kaposvar, Hungary, on March 17. The facility is Şişecam’s first glass packaging production site in Europe. The company plans to commission the Hungarian glass packaging facility in 2023, which is scheduled to reach its full annual production capacity of 330,000 tons in 2025.

*Indicates financial information that was converted from Euros to US Dollars on March 18, 2022.

Smart Lift Solutions Offers New Delivery Options

T. Fin Building Solutions and Tralo Companies formed Smart Lift Solutions LLP, which offers on-demand delivery service for specialized heavy glass and glazing lifting equipment throughout the country.

According to the announcement, the new company offers rental services for heavy and oversized glass lifting equipment, which it can deliver within a few days.

Huntsman Opens New TPU Facility

Global specialty chemical manufacturer Huntsman marked the completion of strategic investments in its thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) manufacturing capabilities for security glazing applications, among others. The event took place at its facility in Ringwood, Ill., in early March. Huntsman constructed the TPU manufacturing facility for protective film technologies over the last two years to help increase the output of products within its KRYSTALGRAN® and KRYSTALFLEX® TPU portfolios, according to a press release.

Associates, federal, state and local political leaders attended the event. Steen Weien Hansen, vice president of global automotive and elastomers for Huntsman Polyurethanes, formally commissioned the facility with a ribbon-cutting.

SAF Installs New Metal Forming Machine

Southern Aluminum Finishing (SAF), a global metals distributor, fabricator and finisher, invested in a new double bending machine to help increase its fabrication capabilities and speed of service. The Jorns JDB-200 is a fully automatic, double beam architectural metal forming machine specializing in bending complex metal profiles. The machine is operating at SAF’s Villa Rica, Ga., location.

“The JDB-200 facilitates the fabrication of complex decorative profiles, trims and flashings, which are all essential to get to our customers [promptly], so they can complete their projects on time,” says Frank Buchholz, general manager at SAF’s Villa Rica fabrication facility. “These are profiles that we had been producing, but the JDB-200 makes us much more efficient and dramatically shortens lead times [to] get products out the door and into customers’ hands.”

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