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Volume 7   Issue 3               March 2006

Behind the Manufacturing Line
New Offerings in IG Machinery and Equipment 

Carlson Systems Engineering Announces New Machinery Division

Carlson Systems Engineering LLC of Twinsburg, Ohio, has created a new equipment division with the introduction of Carlson Glass Systems, a complete product line of machinery that includes glass cutting and washing machines, and vertical and horizontal insulating glass processing equipment designed for most commercially available spacer systems. 

The first machine solution now available through Carlson Glass Systems is a complete vertical insulating glass production line for residential IG applications. A horizontal glass washer and glass cutting machine are currently in design and will be available later this year, according to information from the company. 

“We have spent the last year assessing the market, evaluating customers’ needs and designing a comprehensive product line to best respond to those needs. Our goal with Carlson Glass Systems is to offer cost-effective machinery alternatives—robust in design, efficient in operation and simple in maintenance with quality, readily-available machine components,” said Rick Mathews, product line manager for Carlson Glass Systems. “We are excited about how quickly we have earned the attention of some major industry partners and customers.”

Harmel Line Automates Spacer Manufacturing 

Harmel Automation Inc. of Denton, Texas, has announced plans to market and sell fully automated roll-form machines to produce a spacer to which the company has acquired the rights. 

The roll-formed metal, wrap-around type IG spacer features a unique corner construction that virtually eliminates corner leakage problems, according to information from the company. The system also incorporates a new, patented automatically metered desiccant. Prototype IG units incorporating the new spacer and desiccant system were tested in accordance with ASTM E773-97 and ASTM E 774-97 by an accredited laboratory and reached the highest performance level of class A. 

The company plans to market and sell the roll-form machines on an outright basis with no per footage charges. According to information from the company, each machine will also be tailored to meet each customer’s unique needs. 


Erdman Offers Efficient Glazier

Erdman Automation Corp. of Princeton, Minn., has introduced its Sash Systems Automated Glazier. 

The glazier has a “servo” motion control system that applies a consistent amount of material automatically at speeds up to 30 inches per second while utilizing a high-pressure fluid metering system. The efficiency of this automated design allows production rates to increase while assuring that the highest quality standards are maintained when producing the product. The combination of the machine’s heavy-duty construction, innovative engineering and superior controls results in a quality material dispensing system. 


Besten Equipment Enhances TAPE-AT Equipment 

Cleveland-based Besten Equipment Inc., a part of the Quanex Corp. Building Products Group, has enhanced its TAPE-AT technology for efficient IG spacer application.

The TAPE-AT (Advanced Technology) IG assembly and application system is now up to 30 percent more compact than its previous version. The new product is built with advanced control software for simplified system maintenance and diagnostics utilizing Allen-Bradley® SLC™ 500 series programmable logic controllers in an Ethernet® platform. In addition, it features second generation Human-Machine Interface (HMI) touch screens that put control information at the fingertips of operators in key locations throughout the production process.

The most recent options added to the TAPE-AT line include automatic glass thickness sensors, used to validate placement of the correct lites onto the in feed conveyors, and upgraded sensors for reliable transfer of lites through the entire application system. It also features automatic airspace adjustment to the compression system used to ensure accurate IG unit thicknesses. The hands-free applicator uses input dimensions to apply TruSeal IG spacers to lites in small, medium and large modes. Application cycle times are as low as 18 seconds. In addition, the system marks the spacer automatically with an inkjet printer for proper placement of internal grids.


IG Line Processes All Spacers on the Market

In response to demands for IG manufacturing equipment capable of processing the spacer material its customers wanted to use, Bystronic, of Hauppauge, N.Y., now offers fully automatic vertical IG manufacturing lines that it says are capable of processing all spacer systems currently available on the market. Offerings include first’insulate for conventional “box” spacers, first’TPS for thermoplastic (TPS™) spacers and/or first’flexspacer for flexible (SuperSpacer™) spacers. These lines are designed in a strictly modular configuration, permitting different stages of automation. For example, a basic configuration may initially provide for manual secondary sealing, upgradeable by adding an automatic CNC sealing robot, to improve productivity with the growth of business.

For residential applications, the company’s IG lines are configured to handle a maximum glass size of 63 by 98 inches. However, they may be supplied in other standard sizes including, 90 and 106 inches high and more than 157 inches long. Increased productivity over conventional IG manufacturing translates into production outputs of up to 1,200 units per shift.


Case Study
MGM’s Increased IG Production Proves that GED’s i-3 Really Works 
by Tara Taffera

When GED Integrated Solutions of Twinsburg, Ohio, introduced its i-3 system in January 2005, it sought to offer customers increased production of IG units through improved automation and flexibility. But even they may not have been prepared for how it would change and improve manufacturing operations.

Rick Hobdy, plant manager at MGM Industries in Hendersonville, Tenn., was using GED’s Intercept Generation 2 system before converting to the i-3 system in January 2005. He says the change increased production of IG units at MGM from 1,200 to more than 3,000 per shift.

A Look at the i-3 Technology

With its one-piece flow design and integrated i-3 technology, the new Intercept i-3 frame machine from GED delivers up to 100 percent improvement in output and savings of up to $3 per window, according to GED. The company adds that approximately 20 manufacturers are currently using the i-3 system. 

Intercept i-3 can be fed by ten different sized coils of spacer material instead of just one and allows for a 30-second changeover from one spacer width to another rather than the 5-10 minutes required for other systems. The rest of the equipment in the IG production process also adjusts automatically, improving flexibility, efficiency and lean manufacturing. The lack of manual intervention and manual width adjustment results in accurate and consistent high quality production.

The one-piece Intercept spacer design provides good thermal performance, durability and strength, according to PPG information. The company also says it is faster and less expensive to produce than other spacers.

This next-generation equipment is tied to every part of the window manufacturing process using GED’s i-3 technology and LeanNet software. This platform coordinates machines, processes, software and people to streamline the manufacturing process from the trucks forward and get orders out the door fast. Results of i-3 integration include reduced floor space, reduced work-in-progress inventory, reduced labor and reduced scrap.

i-3 at Work

Hobdy did research equipment from other manufacturers but was familiar with GED as he used its equipment in his previous job. 

“I knew about i-3 and I knew what it could do,” he says.

He adds that the final decision was made when he traveled to Cleveland to see the system up close. 

“That did it,” he says simply.

Seeing really was believing. 

“I didn’t look at any other systems that could run as many as 3,000 units in one shift,” he says.

The biggest benefit for MGM, according to Hobdy, is the system’s 10-reel uncoiler which reduces set up time and man hours dramatically. The previous machine only had a 2-reel uncoiler.

“Now, when we say go to size X everything changes automatically,” he says. “We used to lose a couple of hours per day so we are now saving in labor costs due to reduced overtime.”

Hobdy says the system works particularly well for MGM since the company produces such a wide variety of glass thicknesses, thus saving a tremendous amount of time.

Aside from the afore-mentioned advantages Hobdy says GED personnel were extremely responsive to meeting MGM’s needs, particularly during initial set up.

“They basically stayed with me while we were setting this up,” says Hobdy. “At one time I had as many as eight people here. They were just exceptional. That’s why I went with them as I had experience with them from my prior job.”

MGM also purchased GED’s stainless steel washer with water purification system, which features automatic set-up and the new i-3 self-adjusting oven. 

“That’s made a huge difference as well,” says Hobdy.

With claims of reduced labor and promises of streamlining processes it looks like at least for MGM, the i-3 exceeded its claims. 

Tara Taffera is the publisher and editor of DWM magazine. 

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.