By Gary Kackley
Some of the major issues facing flat glass tempering operations over the last few years have been the introduction of new types of coated glass, customer requirements for thinner tempered products, increased quality, faster on-time deliveries and economical, dependable tempering systems to address these ever-changing requirements and customer demands.
In 1993, The JF Swinehart Company found there was a definite need for a flexible, cost-effective, rugged glass tempering system that produced quality flat tempered glass. To address these needs, an aggressive design initiative created a flat glass tempering system flexible enough to allow for standard and non-standard widths and lengths. This would eliminate the high cost associated with non-standard tempering systems. During the next three years, a staff with more than 70 years of combined experience in glass tempering and more than 25 years experience in designing and manufacturing specialized gas and electric heat processing systems, made a significant breakthrough. They developed what we believe to be one of the most user friendly, cost-effective, quality flat glass tempering systems available.
The goal was to design a high quality, flat glass tempering system that would utilize "off-the-shelf" parts to reduce the dependency on a single-source supplier and have no proprietary systems, including the operating system software and hardware.
Each flat glass tempering system is designed to meet our customers specific requirements and incorporate standard features such as variable speed fan drives and an operating system that can be easily adapted to each customers individual needs while maintaining the off-the-shelf concept with no proprietary systems or software. This modular design allows for a fast and simple installation and start-up with our simplified "JFS/SIM/FLX" operating system.
The system can be brought to operating temperature in a matter of minutes, allowing our customers to produce product without wasting valuable time and energy costs. A heat ramp program is also provided for a longer, controlled, staged heat-up when required. The heating elements are extremely responsive and are controlled by reliable SCR power controllers which allow for a very stable furnace temperature profile that can react quickly and precisely to varying load and operating changes. There is no need to cool the furnace or raise the roof for element maintenance; they are easily replaced from the outside of the furnace. The furnace elements and individual zones are positioned perpendicular to the glass flow. This eliminates the possibility of cold spots that occur with elements that are placed parallel with the glass flow. A safety motorized rooflift with an uninteruptable power supply system and outboard superstructure is provided for an unobstructed glass line for removal of hot glass should a utility power failure occur.
Since delivering our first tempering system in July 1996, JFS Tempering Systems has delivered several versions including a 48-inch oscillator, a 36-foot heater section to convert an existing oscillator to a continuous system, a stand-alone quench system and a quench retrofit. Other glass-related systems include a continuous screenprinting dryer with cooler, glass aging oven for detecting nickel sulphide inclusions and two systems for proprietary glass processes.
Most recently, an 84-inch wide, 3.2 mm, single bay, JFS Flat Glass Tempering System was delivered and put on line as part of a $1.5 million expansion at Wholesale Glass Distributors of Memphis, TN, one of the largest independently owned glass fabricators in the United States.
Gary Kackley is president and CEO of JF Swinehart company of Fostoria, OH.
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