Date: 9 March 2020
“Our aim has always been to bring the best technology and machinery from around the world to serve our market with highly customized solutions in glass,” says Michael Gleeson, Executive Director of Glassworks, in Melbourne, Australia. “With the addition of the Glaston FC Series furnace, we are now capable of handling even larger and more sophisticated pieces, bringing new dimensions in glass innovation to Australia.”
In a suburb just outside Melbourne, Glassworks is pushing the Australian market to explore new opportunities in using glass and staying ahead of the country’s increasingly stringent building codes and energy requirements.
In 2007, Tony Schiavello, Governing Director and owner of the Schiavello Group, an Australian, international furniture, construction and development business, saw a gap in the domestic market for a mid-sized glass processor that could also handle bigger projects. Based on a good working relationship, Tony approached Michael Gleeson, a former Pilkington employee with 30 years of industry experience, to ask if he’d be willing to start Glassworks to fill a need for an innovative glass manufacturer in the country. Gleeson and the Glassworks team have since developed the company into a leader in the glass industry and a provider of a wide range of unique glass offerings.
AUSTRALIA’S EVOLVING GLASS TRENDS
Although Australia is quite conservative when it comes to the building industry, new and exciting glazing products are starting to catch on.
“One of the latest trends is the mesh laminated glass, using a designer mesh from Switzerland. Australians adore it!” Nic Reid, Sales and Marketing Manager of Glassworks, underlines. “It looks sophisticated and is a highly customized product. No two panels are the same. So, we’re seeing more traction for products like this than what we expected.”
He goes on to say that Glassworks is getting more requests for interesting design alongside more traditional products, such as shower screens and balustrades. There’s also been a shift in the market to the use of double-glazed glass, which will soon become compulsory, as well as Low-E coated glass for enhanced performance.
“We see it as our job to help push the market to the next level, assisting our customers on their glass specifications to hit their light transmission, heat gain and u-value insulation targets,” he continues.
MOVING INTO MORE COATED GLASS
Glassworks has always been known for having some of the most sophisticated machinery in the Australian market to be able to toughen and heat-strengthen glass units to meet the ever-increasingly stringent safety glass requirements.
According to Michael Gleeson, Executive Director of Glassworks, he felt the investment in the FC Series as a good move to be able to respond to the increasing trend in Australia for more coated glass.
“Since I had worked with various glass industry companies before starting Glassworks, I had already had experience with Glaston and Tamglass previously,” he says. “We made the decision in 2017 to purchase the furnace after evaluating a few options. And by June 2018, the FC Series tempering furnace was fully commissioned.”
CONSISTENTLY HIGH OUTPUT AND QUALITY
Today, the company is tempering a maximum glass size of 2800 x 6000 mm for most coated glass and all uncoated glass. The furnace handles some of the biggest glass units, with a maximum size only dictated by thickness.
“It’s one of our most reliable and sophisticated machines in the factory,” says Ward Adams, Production Manager at Glassworks. “We are now achieving higher output than with our previous furnaces – and we’ve gained superior glass quality. High furnace uptime and consistently good output and quality have been the main benefits for us.”
One of the new features of the FC Series furnace is a bottom scanner that can measure the temperature of the coated glass. This has helped with the increased output and in ensuring higher quality.
Now with the new furnace, it is easier for Glassworks to move ahead and offer a wider range of glazing solutions that match their customers’ needs and those of their customers.
Nic continues: “We also aim to support our customers in finding the right mix – complying with increasingly stringent building codes and energy requirements, while embracing new opportunities with higher quality and innovative glass products.”
“We encourage them not to wait for the code to be enforced but rather to stay ahead of the codes. Our glass solutions can help them move forward and lead the change,” he concludes.