NewsAnalysis: CNC CUTTING
Investment Opportunities: When to
Consider In-House CNC Operations
hink about this: You run a small
glass shop and choose to out-
source most of your glass-cut-
ting needs to a larger nearby fabricator
that operates CNC equipment. Lately,
however, you’ve found that you’re
sending more and more jobs to your
supplier and are starting to wonder if
it might be time to purchase your own
CNC cutting line. There’s a lot to think
about before making this decision. At
what point would this make sense?
What’s In It For Me?
CNC cutting equipment can help glass companies
streamline their operations and also create
a safer work environment since there is less
One reason companies might con-
sider purchasing CNC equipment is
labor availability—or lack of it. Steve
Rodgers, a glass solutions specialist
with Billco Manufacturing in Zelieno- ﬁnd you have the ﬂexibility to expand constraints of the glass channel where
ple,Pa.,points out that CNC equipment your product offerings or enter a differ- speed, cosmetics, dimensional toler-
requires less manpower than manual ent market with slightly similar prod- ances, design, packaging, etc., all play
cutting, which can be an attractive ucts,” he says. “A company’s current a very big part, and control of these
beneﬁt for companies struggling to glass supplier, for example, might not manufacturing processes cannot be
maintain a quality workforce.
offer certain products. If you’re pro- ignored. Having our CNC machines
“Also, when you’re manually cutting cessing in-house, you may ﬁnd you’re vertically integrated into our processes
glass, you’re typically moving racks able to offer products that [weren’t allows us that control.”
in and out constantly requiring much available before].”
labor. CNC equipment could reduce
how much you’re moving the glass companies have chosen to bring their
around, reducing labor costs,” says glass fabrication needs in-house.
As an example, many shower door Before You Buy
While the prospects may be enticing,
companies need to do their homework
Rodgers, adding that there can also be
ergonomic beneﬁts. That, he adds, also Ohio, fabricates its own glass, includ- right for them.
leads to improved safety, as less han- ing CNC processing.According to Steve
“They need to ensure they have
Lotz, executive vice president of opera- proper utilities, power, air, etc., that
Basco Shower Doors based in Mason, to make sure the decision to buy is
dling of the glass is necessary.
Tom Bechill, sales manager of Hegla tions, this type of business has evolved they have the ﬂoor space and the ﬂow
Corp., which has U.S. operations based from a “stock” product to a very “cus- of the product going through the plant
in suburban Atlanta, says companies tom” product.
is suitable,” says Jay Campbell, sales
often choose to bring fabrication in- “The custom nature of the business manager with Billco.“In best-case sce-
house because they believe it will allow means that we have a very short lead narios,you’re bringing the raw goods in
them to operate more cost effectively, time, to make any design anyone could at one end of the plant and then ship-
improve lead times and control the pro- ever order regarding glass shower doors ping the ﬁnished goods out through
cess. He adds that the ﬂexibility CNC and tempered glass,” he says. “Every another.”
equipment can provide is also a plus.
piece of glass is like jewelry. They are
“Once you bring it in-house,you may different and complex. Overlaying the
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USGlass, Metal & Glazing | September 2017