Glaston hosts meeting at glasstec

By Sahely Mukerji, Glass Magazine
October 22, 2008
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : MEETINGS AND EVENTS

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Glaston, Finland, hosted a meeting on the second day of glasstec, Oct. 22. Mika Seitovirta, president and CEO, opened with a team introduction: Paolo Ceni, senior vice president, Pre-processing Business Area; Topi Saarenhovi, senior vice president, Heat Treatment Business Area; Günter Befort, senior vice president, Software Solutions Business Area and One-Stop-Partner Offering; and Timo Nieminen, senior vice president, Service Solutions. Seitovirta talked about Glaston’s different business areas: architectural, solar and others.

”We’re improving our equipment to keep energy consumption down,” Seitovirta said. “Top quality is a necessity. Our machines talk to each other. We want to provide our customers as much up time as possible.”

Ceni talked about the pre-processing strategic themes at glasstec. ”In the architectural business, we’re focusing on growing architectural markets especially in emerging countries, such as China, Brazil/South America,” he said. In the solar business, Bavelloni processing solutions for solar energy market, including Bavelloni grinding equipment, already meet the pre-processing needs of this area, he said. And in OSP solutions, ”we’re increasing capabilities in integrating Bavelloni production equipment to offer high levels of automation and control.” At glasstec 2008, for the first time, Bavelloni machines are working together with Albat+Wirsam software, he added.

Saarenhovi discussed the heat treatment sector of Glaston. The company is the global market leader in flat tempering and low-E technology selling in the world, he said. “We have more than 2,200 machines delivered during 38 years of history under Tamglass and Uniglass trademarks to more than 72 different countries,” he said. “We have 120 patent families.” Looking ahead, Glaston’s strategy emphasizes development of new, more efficient production technologies for solar glass heat treatment, he said. The company introduced two new solar machines at the show: CHF Pro, a convection heating system, and ESU EcoPower, to produce concentrated solar power.

Befort discussed Glaston’s software. The company offers standard and customized software solutions in the form of consulting, software licenses, customizing, implementation/training, help desk online support, on site support, and update/upgrade contracts, he said. ”Our software is in 25 languages,” he said. ”We have 240 employees of 20 nationalities in the software department. We make sure that our customers are able to concentrate in the glass business and not on software.”

Nieminen talked about Glaston’s OSP. ”We have 270 customers in 27 parts of the world,” he said. ”We pick up where the customer finishes.” The company does service agreements and machinery and software agreements that include spare parts, service work, machine relocation and re-installation, software upgrade and training and consultation services.

Glaston has a 2,000-square-meter booth at the show, exhibiting about 10 machines, including six pre-processing and two heat treatment machines that the company introduced at glasstec; the new ESU EcoPower is one of those 10.

Jorma Vitkala, GPD chairman, discussed next year’s Glass Performance Days, slated for June 12-15, 2009, in Tampere, Finland. The main topics will be solar energy and glass technology, glass processing and product studies, markets and trends, architects forum, and automotive and other vehicles, he said. "GPD 2009 will emphasize solar energy and glass technology,” he said. ”Solar energy technology growth increases demand for glass because glass is one of the most important components in solar applications.”

Leon Giesen, CEO, Scheuten, The Netherlands, discussed Solar Business Opportunity for the Glass Industry. The company has two divisions, glass and solar, with 1,500 employees. In 2008, the company's turnover was 500 million Euros, of which 300 million Euros were from the solar business, he said. ”Solar is a glass product”, he said. ”Solar will become a new function of glass. And in the long term, solar will become a building integrated product.” Scheuten has been in the solar business for about 10 years, he said, and produces two kinds: crystalline silizium and thin film. The solar market installation will go up from 3 GWp in 2007 to 10 GWp in 2010 to 50GWp in 2020, he estimated. “It’s an enormous growth potential and the glass industry should recognize it,” he said.

Scheuten has partnered with Interpane, Germany, to produce solar glass products, Giesen said.

Read more about the second day at glasstec.

Watch a video interview from GlassBuild America with representatives from Glaston and Albat + Wirsam

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