Date: 19 May 2008
This was a first for the world market, the fruit of For.El.’s state-of-the-art technological research and development.
The line is made up of:
SC- pattern recognition scanner;
CR- automatic coating remover machine for low-emission glass;
2000 – six-brush vertical washing machine;
SC- quality assurance scanner;
TSS- automatic Super Spacer® applicator;
APG- flat press unit with gas filling; and
SAHM - automatic hot-melt sealing machine.
This new glass processing line begins with the new pattern and size recognition system, which means that it automatically recognizes the glass shape without the need to manually enter order details. The process takes place instantaneously and supplies the information to the machines that carry out the subsequent processes throughout the line.
At the next stage, the automatic coating remover machine was installed for the perimeter removal of the surface coating on the low-emission magnetron glass. This process enables the sealing material to adhere to the glass during the first and second seal phase. The machine automatically inspects the correct orientation of the glass face, (warning the operator of any error) and provides for the perimeter removal of the coating. For.El.’s patented system offers multiple advantages: it makes patterns; the flanging margin varies without having to replace the utensil; the use of a single rotary-cup grinding wheel helps exploit a wide abrading surface thereby increasing its effectiveness; every side of the glass is processed without interruption, since the utensil does not detach from the surface or re-align with the edge; and the dust is drawn and conveyed to a separator.
The third process within the line incorporates the 2000 vertical washing machine which automatically recognizes the different gauges in the inlet side and efficiently washes the panels by using 6 brushes. The drying-up area is made up of two inclined fan blowers.
One of the other major developments is the introduction of the quality assurance in-line scanner which inspects the presence of defects such as scratches and impurities in each glass pane and then records the image files on a database. This scanner all but eliminates customer complaints for the delivery of non-compliant insulating glass units, thus reducing all remake costs. Furthermore it also allows for the production of even higher quality glass units to the customer.
The purpose of the Super Spacer® line is to help manufacture insulating glass units with a high heat insulating coefficient through the application of a hot spacer produced by the American company Edgetech. The product is characterized by a conductive coefficient 950 times lower than the aluminium used in traditional spacing profiles and in the UK it has a 20-year warranty on the life-span of sealed units, having passed simulated laboratory duration tests for a period in excess of 60 years.
Further down the line, For.El.’s TSS applicator automatically applies the Super Spacer® along the perimeter of the glass. Compared to traditional systems, the use of this type of profile ensures a significant improvement of the insulating features of insulating glass unit and helps eliminate condensation. It also provides a better and instant bond between the glass panes.
From an operational perspective, the production of insulating glass units is quicker because the manual application and the entire manufacturing phase of the aluminium or steel spacer bar of traditional lines is no longer necessary. Therefore, in addition to saving time, companies can also significantly reduce their operational/labour costs.
With For.El.’s automatic Super Spacer® applicator, an uninterrupted profile strip is unwound by a coil and directly applied to either glass pane to create a closed unit. A special reading system is placed on the inlet to detect glass thickness and automatically (by PLC-based logics) interacts with the mechanisms of the mobile profile application unit to ensure the correct placement, especially on corners. The replacement of the coil is easy and quick and the machine is also able to apply the spacer profile both on rectangular and shaped glass panes.
The APG flat press unit with gas filling couples and presses glass units while filling the units with a very high percentage of gas inside the glass unit. This ensures a high thermal insulation coefficient and makes the units compliant with applicable European standards and contributes to the Window Energy Ratings (WERs) in the UK.
At the end of the line, the automatic hot-melt sealing machine carries out the final sealing of the insulating glass unit. A special reading system is placed on the inlet to detect the characteristics of the glazed unit: such as thickness of the rear glass; thickness of the spacer bar and total thickness. Based on these parameters, a PLC-based logics system manages the process. The innovative and proven sealing robot uniformly spreads the sealer along the perimeter of the glazed unit and the hot-melt sealer temperature is controlled by sensors and regulators placed on the extruding device to keep the temperature around 180-190°C. Corner finishing is carried out by a spatula on the machine.
In the UK the installation at Stern Fenster was the latest in a long series of vertical lines with automatic Super Spacer® applicators, proving the leadership of For.El. in the global market. It is apparent that the highly automated nature of the whole glass processing line allows the entire cycle to be managed by just two operators, resulting in significant labour cost savings.
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