Dedicated to automation within the glass industry, the three-day 2015 Glass Processing Automation Days, held March 18-20 in San Antonio, hosted 14 machinery and software companies presenting solutions for automated glass processes. The event focused on the catchphrase "Automation, Integration and Innovation," and GPAD’s sponsoring machinery manufacturers and attending glass fabricators discussed the latest solutions for everyday problems.
So, what are the major drivers of development in software and equipment for the glass industry? Presenters, officials from event organizer FeneTech, and attendees boiled it down to four factors: efficiency, cost, safety, and quality and value.
Every automated machine discussed during GPAD addressed the need for increased efficiency and production while reducing labor, handling and waste in the glass fabrication factory. However, one of the biggest new product announcements also addressed building end-use efficiency, with a solution for increasing building energy savings using the latest glass technologies. Michael Spellman and Hermann Frey of IGE Glass Technologies announced the new vacuum insulated glass fabrication line from LandGlass. While the concept of VIG isn’t new, the concept of using tempered glass for VIG is new, according to company officials. LandGlass has developed a solution that marries the demand for increased aesthetics with energy-efficient benefits. A LandGlass VIG unit offers heat and sound insulation equal to a studded insulated wall, anti-dewing properties, wind load resistance, high-performance and longevity to building facades, compared to the traditional IGU, according to the presentation given by Spellman and Frey.
Closely tied to increasing efficiency is cost. Glass fabricators are seeking ways to reduce cost by reducing labor, waste or production time. One solution discussed during GPAD was Vitrosep’s automatic water filtration system, which needs no manual involvement while it continuously cleans and reuses water and coolant. “The more competition we have, the more efficient we must be,” says Josep Sais, general manager for Vitrosep. “Legislation is also becoming more difficult. Water treatment is important for combatting both.”
By carefully considering each step of storing, loading and cutting glass, Turomas-Tecnocat has developed machines that integrate automatic and manual functions to maximize efficiency, but most importantly, increase safety in the workplace. Machine flexibility creates safer environments, says Javier Rios, communications manager of Turomas.
- Quality and value.
Because customers are demanding more from glass—jumbo sizes, irregular shapes, etc.—glass fabricators are offering value-added products. Roberto Nori, general manager of Denver S.p.A. asks, “How can we eliminate tooling costs, handling costs and waste across these different machines? How can we achieve superior quality while also dealing with out-of-square, shaped patterns?” He says integrated, automatic machinery deals with the modern issues glass fabricators now face.
Bethany Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, other Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.