Best Practices for Cleaning and Maintaining Your Laminating Line

By Jordan Scott

Keeping a laminating line clean and operating smoothly is key to ensuring quality laminated glass. As many fabricators will say, a maintenance plan should be specific to each company based on its line and production volume, and general best practices can serve as a guideline.

On the Daily Schedule

Having a clean washer is a critical component of maintaining a laminating line according to Timothy Moore, technical manager at Standard Bent Glass in East Butler, Pa.

“The washer needs to be clean and operating properly with good water. It’s
important to make sure you don’t have hard water so that good, dry glass is
going to the lamination room,” he says. “If the glass isn’t clean you won’t get good adhesion and may have delamination issues.”

Moore says his company has a separate machine maintenance staff that
follows manufacturer recommendations based on volume rather than
time to determine when maintenance should be completed.

One of the major focuses of Prelco’s daily maintenance routine is the clean
room. Marianne Lévesque, the company’s maintenance planner in Rivière-du-Loup, Québec, says it’s important to maintain the clean room because it’s the place where the glass and PVB assembly is done.

Miguel Barrientos III, continuous improvement/health and safety manager at TriView Glass Industries in City of Industry, Calif., says that the company turns an air filter on to pull particulates out of the clean room air at the end of each shift.

Maintenance Management

Lévesque says that each machine at the company’s facility has a list of operator maintenance tasks and preventative maintenance set up with weekly, monthly, quarterly and semi-annual frequencies.

“This ranges from simple cleaning to complete electrical and mechanical maintenance of each of the laminating line’s machines—the washer, the white room, oven, press, conveyors and autoclaves,” she says.

Maintenance plays an important role in the quality of laminated glass. Glass quality problems are related to equipment cleanliness and optimal operation, according to Lévesque.

Barrientos says TriView records maintenance instances so that there is predictability about when something will fail next.

At Midwest Glass Fabricators in Highland, Mich., lamination department manager Ashley Perkins encourages asking questions. She says that with laminated glass being an up-and-coming product, fabricators should ask the machinery manufacturers how easy a line is to maintain and to ask them questions about maintenance.

For monthly maintenance tasks, Perkins suggests taking a weekend to complete them.

“Make it the same Saturday of each month,” she suggests.

When it comes to daily tasks such as cleaning the washer, Perkins suggests doing it at the end of each shift at a time when the facility isn’t in the middle of a rush.

From the Manufacturer

Daily maintenance should primarily consist of cleaning, checking and testing activities, according to Rupert Wellner, business unit glass processing for Lisec, based in Seitenstetten, Austria.

“The main tasks of the operating personnel include checking the system for visual and acoustic anomalies, checking the washing water quality, monitoring the clean room temperature and humidity, leak-tightness tests on the air and hydraulic components, function testing and cleaning sensor units,” says Wellner.

He says the most infrequent maintenance work required is performed on the control system and software. Lisec’s systems automatically monitor maintenance intervals through the control system and display them visually. While automation can make the maintenance process more efficient and reduce downtime, an increase in automation also results in an increase in the demands on maintenance personnel.

Ask the Supplier

Moore says that while the machinery manufacturer can be an excellent resource when maintaining laminating lines, the interlayer supplier can also provide support. He says that fabricators can have their coupons, or material samples, tested by the supplier on a regular basis to determine sheet moisture and gauge thickness. Pummel and boil tests can also be done on the coupons. Barrientos says these tests are key because they ensure that the glass is adhering to the interlayer properly.

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