Companies Give glasstec Some Space

September 22nd, 2016 by Nick St. Denis

Every angle and aspect of the glass and glazing industry is on display at glasstec 2016 in Dusseldorf, Germany, and the spacer sector has not been left behind.

Technoform is one of many spacer producers exhibiting at glasstec.

Technoform is one of many spacer producers exhibiting at glasstec.

Warm-edge systems are a hot topic at the show, given the stringent energy requirements in Europe and the tightening standards in other parts of the world. Companies like Helima, based in Germany, are developing products to meet that demand.

“Warm-edge is very important here,” says Helima managing director Sabine Decker.

Helima rebranded last year after being taken over by investor Solvesta AG, and it has since created a series of warm-edge spacers in its NoviTec line. One features a synthetic profile with a “metalized” multi-layer composite film, and the other two combine stainless steel and a synthetic material. The company is also showing its aluminum and stainless steel spacer bars.

Decker says there is large demand in the industry for “high stability and workability,” and her company tries to put itself “in [its] customers’ shoes” when developing products.

“Efficiency in production is important,” she says.

Technoform Glass Insulation is also exhibiting at glasstec, and market team manager Milind Jhaveri says the company is showing current and prospective customers its capabilities in catering its product to them.

“We’re here to create customized solutions,” he says, noting fire-rated glazing and sound insulation as application examples.

Another example of Technoform’s ability to customize unique products is a biodegradable spacer it developed for a customer that is now available. The product was still a concept at Greenbuild last fall, but the company is now showcasing examples of it at glasstec.

While that’s a unique technology that Jhaveri says will only be demanded in very rare applications, Technoform is also featuring its TGI-Spacer Precision, a more common solution that the company says addresses critical issues such as glass tolerances, gas tightness and installation security.

Kommerling, a member of Royal Sealants and Adhesives, is another producer of spacers. The company has a thermoplastic spacer that is an alternative to the traditional rigid spacer profile. The thermoplastic spacer is extruded directly onto the glass and sealed with a secondary sealant.

Dr. Knut Göke, head of product management and marketing, says the company is always seeking long-term relationships with customers, “which is why we focus on the service aspect of our business.”

In addition to spacers, Kommerling also produces adhesives used for structural glazing, which can be part of a complete structural application solution along with the spacer.

He says conversations at glasstec often revolve around “substitutions of metal fasteners, and, of course, energy efficiency.”

glasstec Showcases Solutions for Efficiency and Accuracy

Glass businesses are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their operations, and many exhibitors this year at glasstec 2016 are offering solutions.

Ron Crowl, president and CEO of Ohio-based FeneTech, says he’s excited to see a focus around the internet of things and the connectivity that is possible on the shop floor. He adds that he’s upbeat about software in the industry overall.

FeneTech is discussing with attendees its FeneVision ERP manufacturing software, which covers both the production and business aspects of a fabricator’s operations.

Exhibitor A+W, based in Germany, has responded to demand for mobile services with its with sales and delivery applications. It has also taken the mobile approach to the factory with Dashboard, its shop-floor monitoring “to go” app. The app displays key production figures in real time, with information on individual production areas such as cutting, insulating glass lines and processing.

“A production manager in a glass factory is always on the run,” says Dr. Michael Kuttner, senior manager of communications. “This allows them to see everything that’s going on from one side of the plant to the other.”

He adds that “as machines have more and more electronic parts, we’re able to get more information from them… If we can work with real-time data, we can work more efficiently.”

New Zealand-based Smart Builder is introducing its new Smart-Glass cloud-based program, which was released two months ago. Users of the software can design and price glass quickly with a simple interactive drawing.

Additionally, glass suppliers can assign login accounts to their customers so the customers can design, price and order glass directly. David Brennan, managing director of Smart Builder, says this benefits both sides, as it removes some of the responsibility on the supplier of ensuring an accurate order is entered, and it allows the customer to get real-time pricing so they can design and adjust the glass accordingly.

Meanwhile, measurement machinery and tools also continue to improve efficiency, and most importantly, quality.

LiteSentry, from Minnesota, is at glasstec showcasing its Osprey 7, the latest upgrade to its machine that inspects distortion and flatness. New features of the system include quality thresholds for coated and non-coated products, size measurements up to plus or minus 3mm, and a web browser application to monitor operation from a tablet or smart phone.

Eric Hegstrom, vice president of technology, says another key feature is that the machine now comes standard with a bar code scanner to track each part to quality data.

Finland-based Sparklike is also showcasing its measurement equipment, which analyzes insulating glass (IG) gas concentration on double and triple glass units. The company last year introduced its laser measuring technology, and the device comes in standard hand-held and portable types. It can also be integrated to an IG line for automated inspection.

“More complicated glass types need new developments in measuring,” says sales director Mauri Saksala.

 

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  1. These type of exhibitions create new business opportunities for the glass making companies and helps to adopt new technology, tools and machinery.

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