According to Steve Goble, Managing Director HEGLA UK Ltd, every once in a while something comes along that can be the missing link in a glass factory. It is the difference between simply having turnover and making real profit by increased efficiency.
“As the industry begins to prepare for the effects of BREXIT, if any, the efficiency of production flow and the quality standards by association, have never been more important for processors.
Glass processors have pressures and more demands than ever from customers, so there is a need to take measures that will make output faster as well as more efficient.
Laser marking technology from HEGLA is now setting a new industry benchmark for manufacturers, which is speeding up production and eliminating any confusion during the production process. This technology helps with the identification of every single piece of glass at source before any cut has been made, giving a unique mark that is always 100% correct.
Laser capabilities are the real game changer, enabling glass to be marked automatically and this ensures that the correct production data is put onto the correct piece of glass in exactly the correct order.
The software running any glass business is the most important piece of equipment in any factory but sometimes the advances in this give real and very quantifiable advantages when incorporated into new equipment.”
The mechanics of marking the glass using HEGLA laser technology simplifies the whole procedure and the mother software creates product information which is accurate and easily put onto the glass. Effectively, the software eradicates human error.
During production the laser removes the need for marker pens with any potential ghosting completely eradicated on coated products in fact on all glass. Additionally, if the glass has the correct address for its production route, sequencing should be simpler with coatings guaranteed to be the correct way round and cavities in the correct position in relation to the coatings.
Whether for double or triple glazed units HEGLA’s system has the capability of reverse-etch capabilities, so an image or specific coded data can be included on units with multiple pieces of glass.
Steve continues, “The ability to retrofit the laser has seen great interest over the last few years with customers recognising the long term benefits once fitted.”
A Greater Understanding Through Market Evolution
This new capability has been pioneered in the UK and has seen very positive results for customers, due to the high level of toughened glass that is used in construction today. As the market has evolved the HEGLA team now understands what is possible and how to resolve any issues that can arise. Consequently, more than 50 HEGLA lasers have now been installed across the country.
Steve comments, “In the 16 years, since HEGLA UK was launched, the laser has become our major contribution to improving factory flow and the advantages that can be gained.
Uniquely in the UK, 50 – 60% of production is toughened glass which means there are several processes involved. For example not everything that goes into a furnace comes out the other end so 100% accurately marking what goes in is essential. As the laser has been geared for the UK market with great success achieved in cutting efficiency, all glass is uniquely marked when it enters a furnace. Immediately the system recognises if a single pane of glass is missing in the production sequence.
Seeing is believing in terms of output, but man hours can be drastically reduced with staff redeployed in other areas of the factory.
HEGLA leads where others follow when it comes to this technology – there was no fixed formula when this was brought to the market, so we have adapted and grown the technology over the years.”
The software enables every manufacturer to tailor the system to their own requirements, as customer specific logos can be added on toughened glass wherever is desired. The permutations are endless as to how the laser can be used on a sheet of glass.
Working with leading software houses such as Jotika, Clear Thinking Software and Albat and Wirsam, the software interfaces are built around customer requirements. There are so many options coming to the market which will give HEGLA customers far more business scope.
“As a faster and more effective option than alternatives on the market, the laser technology from HEGLA demonstrates why it is not sufficient to just have the ability to laser glass. Today laser systems have to be mounted on equipment that can run 24/7 and within a certain timescale.
Each laser takes less than 2 seconds, giving guaranteed greater efficiency with the glass permanently marked. Other methods are open to error with the potential for lost output due to inaccuracies. If the wrong glass is in the wrong place and out of sequence, the sealed unit is lost in the system. Post lasering only works if manufacturing is stopped and glass is then put back into the production process to allow for lasering.
With HEGLA automation, lasering is incorporated on the cutting table as part of the cutting code, making life so much easier for glass processors.”
HEGLA’s laser technology has proven its worth in respect of improving efficiency as processors are quickly learning.
To retrofit a laser system it normally takes place outside of normal production hours, as most companies only have one cutting table. Generally, when fitted to new tables it becomes part of the standard installation, commissioning and training.
Steve Goble concludes, “UK manufacturers now have far more control, greater potential thanks to laser technology. As the desire for multi-pane glass units gathers momentum HEGLA is already ahead of the industry.”
For more information on the laser technologies available from HEGLA or for more information on allied automated cutting and sorting systems please call: 01908 261 933.