Grenzebach, you’ve headed up global glass sales at Grenzebach since early 2014. What are the main challenges you face at the moment as a supplier to flat glass manufacturers?
The market price for glass has fallen in recent years, and we are feeling this pressure from producers. At the same time, investments are being delayed, which of course means an increase in competitive pressure for new lines. Nonetheless, glass will always be a highly desirable material, and new and exciting applications are emerging continually. Depending on the application, glass has to be thicker, thinner, larger or simply of better quality.
What about your customers – what are their main concerns?
When it comes to making investments, our customers are chiefly concerned with the cost-benefit ratio and product quality. What sets Grenzebach plants apart is their exceptionally high availability, long life cycles and quality. They guarantee high yield over many years and outstanding product properties. Our customers are globally active groups that expect consistent quality and availability from us around the world, as well as reliable, fast service.
How long has Grenzebach been active in the glass industry?
Grenzebach has been active in the float glass business from the very beginning – since 1974. We started out as a machine supplier, developing over the years into a complete solution provider. We have continually updated our products and business, ensuring the very latest in quality standards with cutting-edge technology.
What innovations in the glass industry has Grenzebach contributed to in its long history?
Highest-precision glass cutting, our optimization computer for increasing float plant yield, handling processes for ultra-thin plates and plates coated with sensitive layers, and manufacturing processes for photovoltaic, display and coated glass, including complex transport and handling systems.
Siemens and Grenzebach have cooperated as development partners for many years. How would you sum up the partnership?
We worked closely together to develop new products such as plant-wide control concepts. We have collaborated on many occasions on innovative concepts, with Siemens producing the necessary components and, in cooperation with Grenzebach, integrating them into control structures. This led to the launch of components – in consultation with Grenzebach’s customers – long before they became the international standard.
Siemens advocates the concept of plant-wide automation. What responses have you received from glass manufacturers?
Siemens and Grenzebach presented the idea to customers two years ago at the glasstec trade fair. The response we received was that it is the right direction for the industry, and that it will have an important role to play in glass production in the future.
Mr. Grenzebach, thank you very much for the interview.