“With growing demands in our market, we needed to bring our older Glaston furnace up to modern standards. Thanks to the installation done over Christmas break, we were able to save time – to get up and running quickly at the start of the year,” says Sanjay Meghani, Director, at Super Sealed Units Ltd in Dunstable, UK. “Today, we are able to temper higher performance glass, achieve flatter results and utilize the full furnace bed for greater volumes.”
Super Sealed Units is the specialized double-glazed glass unit division within the Super Toughened Glass Group, a glass processing specialist in the UK with a strong reputation for fine quality and top customer service. The company focuses on all sizes of insulating glass units (IGUs) for domestic and commercial customers.
The group started with IGU production in 2011, when it bought the entire business from another company, including the original Glaston ProE furnace dating from 2001.
“We had recently been facing issues when loading glass across the full bed of our furnace,” Sanjay Meghani explains. “We could not keep the heating consistent across the chamber. We needed a way to produce flatter glass and gain greater control of the heating across all areas of the bed. It was clear that we needed to bring our older furnace up to modern standards to meet growing demands,” he says.
NEW FURNACE OR UPGRADE?
Super Sealed Units and the entire Super Toughened Glass Group have always had Glaston furnaces and glass processing equipment.
When the teams were discussing the problems they faced, the two options were either to replace the furnace with a completely new one or to upgrade the existing furnace with a Roller Heat Control (RHC) modernization. This upgrade eliminates problems caused specifically by roller heat disturbances and increases overall glass quality.
“The new furnace would have cost more. But, even more important than the money aspect, was the fact that a new furnace would require about two months of work: one month to remove the existing furnace and a second month to install the new one,” Sanjay explains.
A HOLIDAY INSTALLATION
The senior management of Super Sealed Units decided to move forward with the RHC upgrade in September 2017.
“For us, the RHC was an optimal way to save time. And by scheduling the installation over the Christmas break, when volumes tend to be lower and the company is closed for two weeks in any case, we were only inconvenienced for a period of about two weeks or so. We were pleased that Glaston was willing to work over the holidays. And we did as much preparation work as possible beforehand so that the Glaston team could do their part without us being in their way,” he says.
The Group’s Park Royal facility provided the toughened glass that Super Sealed Units needed to deliver for their customers while the furnace was out of commission.
TRAINING DURING PRODUCTION
Scheduled for the second week in January, training for Super Sealed’s five operators took about a week and a half. “Since everything was very similar to what we already use from Glaston, the training was quite straightforward. Our operators already have a good basic knowledge of using the furnace. Once the new control panels were installed, it was easy for our operators to start using them.”
“We actually carried out the training at the same time as the machine came back in production,” Sanjay says. “This was beneficial for us so that we could smoothly continue with our deliveries to customers.”
SMALLER ELEMENTS – BETTER CONTROL
“With the older furnace, we were not able to utilize the whole bed and couldn’t control the flatness as well as we wanted. In fact, we were probably using only about half of the furnace at the end,” he says.
“Today with the RHC upgrade, we have more heating elements – a lot more. The old furnace had 18, whereas we now have approximately 50 smaller elements that give us more control over the process. If one goes down, we still can control the heat across the bed by using another element to compensate for any that go out. The bed size is the same as before, but we have better control.”
NEW UPGRADE HANDLES MORE VOLUME
Since the furnace was upgraded, Super Sealed Units has had no problems so far.
“We’ve already increased our production of double-glazed units by 20%. And the furnace has helped us with this by being able to temper higher performance glass than before, such as special coated glass. We can also produce flatter glass, especially now that we have the capability to utilize the full bed,” Sanjay says.
“Our volumes have increased, but the furnace can handle the larger loads.”
The market for Super Sealed has picked up nicely since the start of the year and continues to grow. “We have lots of work in our market,” he says, “which puts us in the nice position of being able to pick and choose the types of projects that suit us best.”