A prime example of an ideal combination is Glas Sprinz in Ravensburg, Germany. The glass processor in Upper Swabia recently placed into operation a new fully automatic system from Bystronic. The system not only provides glass processing from storage to finished insulating glass unit, but also offers many flexible specific solutions.
Currently about 360 employees run the seamless production process at Glas Sprinz in Ravensburg. Thanks to considerable increases in orders, the machines run through the night. Production usually runs in three shifts from Monday through to Saturday. But Glas Sprinz does not produce mass consumer goods, it concentrates on quality over a far wider range. Company President Joachim Fischbach has every right to be proud of now being able to handle the entire range of glass production with his products: Not only do they produce single-lite safety glass (SSG), laminated safety glass (LSG), and insulating glass, they also offer refinement processes. For example ceramic silkscreen printing with elaborate colours and motifs are a specialty of Glas Sprinz.
The decision to modernise was made back in 2005. The challenge facing Sprinz at that time was to co-ordinate production at two locations in Ravensburg. With a very set conception of how the new manufacturing system should be structured, the company set out to find a partner who would best be able to implement those ideas. Ultimately the Bystronic glass group were given affirmation with the company president citing several reasons. “It was a decisive factor for us that Bystronic glass was able to provide us with the essential elements of the new production lines from a single source with glass storage, cutting lines, and a sorting system. At the same time, they were able to implement our conception giving due regard to available space.”
Systems from Bystronic glass: meticulously planned, modern, and flexible.
The starting point of the modern new production facility is a large glass storage system. The contents can be called up at any time by a glass storage management programme. Then jumbo lites are moved, fully automatically, out of storage to two cutting lines that run in congruently, one for float glass and the other for laminated safety glass. “We became very involved with our customer’s specific needs during the design of loading,” recalls Peter Gast, the Bystronic glass designer responsible for this project. “The loading system is capable of recognizing two different types of glass on a glass rack and taking them off separately. This is a great advantage if space is a factor which plays a deciding role in production.”
Both cutting lines are designed for special sizes of 3.30 x 7 meters. Residual plates that are not required are temporarily placed in a compact storage system directly on the cutting lines until they are used again, thus saving space. The storage system manages the residual plates of both cutting lines, thereby ensuring optimum use of material. A quick look at the cutting line for float glass reveals another interesting feature. Float glass lites up to 19 mm in thickness can be processed on the high-performance SMFR cutting and edge deletion machine.
As Peter Gast explains it, this is anything but ordinary: “To build a system that breaks 19-mm-thick float glass is not necessarily a problem, but about 70% of all float glass lites at Glas Sprinz go into SSG production, and that requires lites to be broken as close to rectangular as possible. Otherwise, the glass will need to be reground after breaking, and that takes precious time. We simulated the breaking process on a test system, working together with the customer until we reached the increased quality level they needed. The effort paid off: I know of no other system today able to break 19-mm float glass at this quality.”
After the two cutting lines, a sorting station with five harp racks organises an apparently chaotic number of lites before it is moved to the Lenhardt insulating glass line. It is especially surprising that arrissing is also performed on lites for insulating glass production at Glas Sprinz. It sounds unusual at first, but there are actually some good reasons for this special handling of lites: Small cracks and chips in the edge area can hardly be avoided in the normal production process. For insulating glass, however, these imperfections increase the risk of leakage and glass breakage. Because of this, arrissing is a good idea for all lites.
Thanks to the most modern system engineering of Bystronic glass and an optimally adjusted production flow, Glas Sprinz will be able to continue delivering to its customers what they value most: glass of outstanding quality.
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