Volume 35, Number 10, October 2000

Locked in Gear

Machinery Additions Help Companies Prepare for the Future

by Ellen Giard

wpe2.jpg (35732 bytes)When an old machine dies down or a newer and faster model becomes available, it’s not uncommon for a company to seek out new machinery. Every year, for instance, hundreds of industry professionals head to trade shows around the world to scope out the latest machinery available from manufacturers and distributors. Buying major machinery, however, is no small purchase. For many companies careful considerations are examined and thought out prior to the purchase.

Motors Running

Binswanger Mirror is a large manufacturer and distributor of mirrors and laminated flat glass. Managers at its plant in Grenada, Miss., recently chose to add a new Bovone beveler to its production procedures. Purchased from Salem Distributing Co. of Winston Salem, N.C., the company runs its new machine 18 to 24 hours a day. Senior product line manager Benny Walker regularly attends equipment trade shows to see the new machinery that is available. He also compares products of various vendors to determine which equipment will adequately do the necessary jobs Binswanger requires. “We chose to purchase this machine for its quality of workmanship and design,” Walker said. “We are trying to add capacity and flexibility and with more machines running simultaneously, we can have several different set-ups operating at once. Also, it’s not as time consuming as when you just have one or two machines.”

A recent addition at Floral Glass of Hauppage, N.Y., was an architectural, warm-edge, fully automated, insulating line called the Floral TPS, which runs anywhere from 14 to 16 hours a day, six days a week. It features a full thermal break between the interior and exterior lites, and the machine’s installation was the first in North America. “This was a multi-million dollar production line which was put together by a collaboration of Bystronic Lenhardt Machinery GmbH, Dow Corning Sealants, Chemetell GmbH and Floral Glass,” said Chuck Kaplanek, president and chief executive officer for Floral Glass. “I feel this is the future for global insulating glass technology,” he added. “There are approximately 20 TPS lines producing modern insulating glass throughout the world today, and Floral Glass is committed to this mode of production.” Kaplanek also said his company believes the Bystronic Lenhardt, Dow and Chemetell group to be a leader in high-tech, specialized equipment and sealant. Additionally, his company has purchased all of its cutting and insulating glass (IG) equipment from Bystronic.

When Consolidated Glass Corp., a glass fabricator/temperer located in New Castle, Pa., needed to replace a worn drill that the company had been running for about 18 years, it chose a Besana-Lovati semi-automatic drill, which now runs 16 hours a day. “We attended the National Glass Association (NGA) show in Las Vegas and reviewed the other manufacturers’ lines,” said Louis Merryman, president. “We have several other pieces of Besana-Lovati equipment, and we chose this drill because of the quality of the company and because it is a well-built machine.” wpe3.jpg (14249 bytes)

The Daily Grind

If not correctly executed, installation procedures can often be troublesome. Whenever Walker plans to purchase new machinery, he first checks with the vendor to find out if there are any special considerations, such as floor preparation, which need to be handled prior to the machine’s arrival. He also determines if there is any pre-installation or installation work, needed by an outside contractor. Electrical, HVAC, flooring, and structural considerations are all important. “Since we are a large company, we usually install the machine ourselves,” Walker said. “For warranty reasons, Bovone’s technician came on site and started the machine up the first time. When the job is fairly complicated, most manufacturers will provide technicians to install and start up the machine and provide any training the operators may need.” Walker adds, however, that they had no trouble installing their new machine and it is still running smoothly. “One of the reasons I purchase Bovone machinery is because it is so reliable,” he said.

Floral Glass’ Floral TPS was installed by both Bystronic Lenhardt representatives and Floral technicians. “It was a 24-hour a day, non-stop process that took about three weeks,” Kaplanek said. “We also had a full water and filtration plant as part of the installation which has helped reduce our water waste by more a 99 percent.” While there were a few, small problems such as missing a few minor parts at the time of assembly, Kaplanek said that overall the process was very smooth. The line now produces the company’s largest output of its four plants. Any problems that may arise are immediately addressed by factory-trained technicians and preventive maintenance is scheduled into production time. “Since this is a pilot project in the United States, Bystronic Lenhardt, Chemetell and Dow Corning have been very responsive to every detail along the way,” Kaplanek said. “And Bystronic/
Lenhardt has followed through in all the promised areas.”

Consolidated Glass Corp.’s automatic drill installation was a fairly simple process that Merryman said his company could have done easily. However, Besana-Lovati offered to perform the installation and also to provide an overview and check-up of all the company’s other Besana-Lovati lines. “They also provided a training overview for technicians,” Merryman added. He noted that while they have not had any major troubles with their drill, minor problems have always been addressed by Besana-Lovati and handled efficiently. “One of the reasons I tend to lean towards Besana equipment is because they are always so supportive and helpful,” he said. “They also have a good spare parts inventory.”

 Rounding Off the Edges

Whether a company decides to add a new machine to its operating line-up or to replace an older piece of equipment, the goal for both is the same: to not only keep business flowing, but also to increase production. “We have produced more than one million-square feet of TPS insulating products and our results and confidence could not be higher,” Kaplanek said. “There is already a non-stop demand for this product.” Successful turnover is not only important to the companies who purchase the equipment, but also to the manufacturers and distributors, for it is their names that will be labeled or associated with each machine. “Making sure our customers are comfortable and happy with what they purchased is important to us,” said Steve Brown, advertising director for Salem Distributing. And when the customers of machinery manufacturers and distributors are happy, rest assured that a fine piece of glass will soon roll off the line.  USG

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