LiSEC revolutionizes Press Glass Nowogard

Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
Photo source
© LiSEC

Date: 24 January 2024

A 30-year partnership in elevating glass processing efficiency

Within the last 30 years, Press Glass has grown from a single facility into a household name among flat glass suppliers. 15 international facilities spread across Poland, Croatia, Italy, the UK and the US produce quality interior and exterior glass for the commercial and residential market. With an export rate of 80 %, Press Glass supplies Scandinavia, the Baltics, Central and Southern Europe, the UK as well as North America.

Despite being one of the largest independent IG producers in Europe, Press Glass remains a privately owned company with a lean, agile leadership structure. This allows them to quickly adapt to a changing market. With numerous production facilities and a wide range of products, they are able and willing to meet their customers more than half-way. “We allow the market to test us,” shares Jakub Krakowski, Technology Development Director at Press Glass, “And we are of course competitive.”

Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© Press Glass
Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© Press Glass

HIGH PERFORMING LOGISTICS: THE HEART OF THE NOWOGARD PRODUCTION 

The cooperation between Press Glass and LiSEC goes back almost 30 years. “From the very first facility, we bought high-end technology from LiSEC. Back then, that was not a common thing on the Polish market,” recalls Mr Krakowski. “We are very transparent about building long-term partnerships with our suppliers. For us, a good partnership is mutually beneficial, allowing us to meet challenges and solve problems together.”

When Press Glass planned their most automated facility to date, they once again trusted LiSEC. Mr. Krakowski, the head of a team of technicians who accompany the introduction of innovative solutions at Press Glass, talks about the intentions with the Nowogard project, “Our goal was to create a copy & paste facility, which Press Glass can reproduce in any new location. At Nowogard we looked into every process and worked out all the kinks.”

Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© Press Glass

Located in northwestern Poland not far from the Baltic Sea, Press Glass Nowogard operates six cutting lines: one fully automatic laminated glass cutting line and one additional lami cutting bridge as well as five monolithic cutting tables. The six lines are fed by a gantry system on one end, and they feed into two large buffer systems on the other end. Each buffer in turn supplies two IG lines. 

Buffering and sorting play crucial roles in optimizing the material flow and machine utilization. Intralogistics ensures process stability and reliable supply during various processing steps, even with different glass types. For instance, only the uncoated side of coated glass is touched, preserving the coating. A slight tilt angle (approximately 2°) during glass transport also protects the coating. LiSEC offers high-quality systems, available 24/7 with minimal maintenance, accommodating various glass sizes and shapes.
Looking back on the project, Mr Krakowski remembers the challenges, “The schedule was very tough. In 2017 the market was very strong and customer demand was high. We already had production on the lines while we were still fine-tuning the machines and while the software developments were still being tested. From the first IG element off the line, it took about 2 to 3 years until everything was working to our full satisfaction.” 

Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© LiSEC

But those challenges did not come without rewards. “Right now, I can say that this is our most efficient facility in terms of production per shift per person, so we produce more glass with fewer operators. And we have the lowest losses in glass, due to the automation – we largely eliminated manual handling – but also due to better internal logistics. We have fewer quality issues, fewer claims, fewer problems.” The Nowogard site supplies 15 – 20 % of Press Glass’ total residential production volume. 

Mr Krakowski highlights another benefit of the sorting system, “Our customers have very high demands on the sequence of the glass sheets on the racks, different types of labels, different shipment days, etc. – a lot of different small things we need to deliver. This is helping quite significantly: We produce pretty much 99% on time. And if something goes wrong, we have a partner that we can call in, and they come over quite fast and solve the issue.” 

Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© LiSEC
Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© LiSEC

WHAT’S NEXT FOR PRESS GLASS AND LISEC? 

With the Nowogard site up and running, Mr Krakowski and his team are already working on new projects. The next development with LiSEC is being realized in the UK, combining 3 facilities in Wales under one roof. “The production is already running; everything is installed and it's just a matter of finetuning and finalizing things. Due to the softer market, we have more time to develop things, which is good, but on the other hand, the pressure is required to make it faster. It's always a matter of finding the balance.” 

Looking back on his own 12 years working at Press Glass, Mr Krakowski sums up his experience with LiSEC, “At some point, we had to make the strategic decision to diversify our machine and software suppliers, which provides us with an interesting test environment within our own group of companies. For me, there are not many suppliers that can deliver complete and robust solutions that work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” 

Still, working under those kinds of conditions, something can go wrong. “And it will go wrong eventually, inevitably,” Mr Krakowski speaks from experience. “Then you need somebody who can support you. In our company, many people on the technical team and the production teams have more than 20 years of experience. They need someone on the other side who knows what they’re talking about. A reliable partner that knows how to solve your issue, or who’s at least willing to sit down and find the solution together with us. In that way, we consider LiSEC reliable.”

Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© LiSEC
Press Glass Nowogard, fully automated by LiSEC
© LiSEC

LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: AUTOMATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Mr Krakowski's opinion about markets and industry changes is, “The biggest change we and everyone else surely observes on the Polish market is that automation is coming and of course digitalization is coming. For 10, almost 20 years we have been talking about industry 4.0. It used to be unclear how it would look. Now Nowogard is our first facility with this degree of automation, and automation has factored in all our projects since. Beside better quality and higher efficiency, we also want to utilize manpower in the best way possible, which means removing heavy work such as lifting glass many times over. 

Another thing more and more of our customers especially on the Scandinavian market request is detailed information on the production process, for example: How much power was used to produce this IG? What was the water consumption? Which renewable resources were used, how high was the share of green energy? So, we of course get all the required certifications. We also add photovoltaic installations on every new project, as well as any older facility where it’s possible. Our latest production in Lithuania for example is almost fully powered by photovoltaics. Investing in renewable energy is pretty much the only direction you can go.”

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