The latest combined Bystronic and HEGLA installation is a true showcase of the capabilities of both brands, bringing together engineering excellence and faster output. Clayton Glass epitomises how the combined technology can optimise output on a production floor and it demonstrates how glass processors can diversify and grow a business.
Based in County Durham, Clayton Glass manufactures more than 20,000 products every week, de-livering across the country from Scotland to the South Downs and all places in, around and in be-tween.
The facilities at Clayton Glass are impressive as a showcase which now produce approximately 5,000 roof units per week as well as 16,000 IGUs per week. For Managing Director Ryan Green, maximising the use of glass is imperative with wastage minimised.
Across both factories, and over 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space state of the art equipment has been installed over recent years, which includes a mixture of products from the HEGLA and Bystronic ranges including 7 cutting centres, 3 toughening plants, 9 IG lines, with argon and krypton gas capabilities.
As part of the move to the new facility Clayton installed 2 off Hegla Optimax Plus float cutting ta-bles with Laser Marking and Double Sided Loaders as well as 2 off Bystronic 1.6 x 2.5 I G Lines, and in the last months have added a second EcoLam Plus 33 laminated table to bolster the capacity of Clayton and Romag.
The laser marking systems on the cutting tables have provided 100% correct internal tracking data for annealed/toughened glass and Clayton also have the ability to apply Personnel Customer Tough-ened Logo Marks all generated from their order entry system and automatically applied by the cut-ting tables.
This year, Clayton and Romag, (since its purchase), will turnover £26million collectively and with such substantial amounts of glass used, manufacturing IGUs and roof glass, expansion was abso-lutely essential.
The project to date has involved 3 years of planning, strategising with the HEGLA UK team on the best ways to optimise the use of glass along the production line to keep the flow smooth and effi-cient.
Taking a blank piece of paper as an initial starting point, the teams then worked together and began layouts utilising the CAD design services available, so that Clayton Glass management could plan for further development. After the acquisition of Romag, there is now in excess of 250,000 sq ft of glass processing facilities which will be used to further develop the range.
The project has been a labour of love with HEGLA, Bystronic and Clayton Glass working together to create a solution that would meet the needs of the company as it continues to grow.
For Steve Goble a working partnership perfectly describes HEGLA’s relationship with customers. “A partnership is something we try hard to achieve. Upgrading or replacing cutting and loading equipment can be a very difficult job particularly with downtime needing to be minimised. We take a lot of time with our customers discussing dimensions and output prior to installation.”
With the changes that have occurred in the industry in recent times, there are now far more de-mands on processors, as sealed units have evolved into much more technical products. There are a lot more options now so faster, flexible and much more robust equipment is required on multi-shift operations.
Steve Goble continues, “The machinery we offer is not cheap being technically sophisticated, and engineered to stand the test of time. Actually, we often we find ourselves at the second stage of a company’s development.
In the beginning, when a company is launched, invariably it has limited capitol and investments are made in what can be afforded at the time. Initially when HEGLA UK began, there were 4/12/4 float units with aluminum spacer, now it’s all multiple choice that’s dependent on application - the machinery has to be able to cope with this and as we specialise in tailoring cutting and handling op-tions in-house, this allows us to be flexible to suit customer requirements.”
Clayton Glass Ltd is now well established as a leading independent sealed unit manufacturer, specialising in insulating glass units, conservatory roof glass and composite door units. For Ryan Green constantly evaluating and redeveloping the business is a large part of its success story. The Clayton Glass team keeps a focus on being independent, but works in unison with a number of other glass processing companies as part of the National Glass Group, which gives the business greater scope and a combined national purchasing power.
Ryan Green comments, “We constantly look to manage our risks . It is really about having the best of both worlds, being flexible and independent but with a strong purchasing power that now ex-ceeds £100million per annum.”
For both Steve Goble and Ryan Green, working in partnership is important, whether as a supplier or as a customer.
Ryan Green, Managing Director comments, “Clayton Glass is investing in the future and getting the best machinery is an important part of that investment. We need a lot of power with all our ma-chinery and we’ve invested around £5million on modern equipment in the last 5 years.”
We work with HEGLA and discuss what we need and, to be fair, they are very good at both listen-ing and going away and coming back with a solution. This is where the true partnership comes in. It isn’t just Steve arriving on the doorstep looking for a sale: it’s Hegla being an integral part of our business and it is no different to Clayton wanting to be part of our customers’ businesses and work-ing with them to provide solutions rather than just components. Hegla has added value to our busi-ness, and we use the technology wherever we can to make product selection and ordering as easy as possible for our customers”
Diversification for Clayton Glass has led to the introduction of products such as the SMART-GLASS range which was launched back in 2005 and is now at the forefront of glass roof technolo-gy being popular with installers and end users alike. Thanks to HEGLA and Bystronic technology this has been further developed, for those at the top end of the market with the launch of triple glazed roofing options that provide a U Value of 0.7 in a unit that can also reflect over 83% solar energy. These types of advancements ensure the company can stay ahead in a fiercely competitive sector.
Looking forward both HEGLA and Bystronic are ambitious companies in relation to the future market direction, with a keen eye always on market developments and the desire to introduce dy-namic new products to the sector that will support customers as they grow.
Steve Goble concludes, “Glass manufacturing is not an easy business. It takes a lot of expensive machines to make an individually low unit priced IGU. Back up for that is vital. It’s a matter of working with the range of talents available in this industry and growing them. We will always aim to push the boundaries when it comes to service, lead time and our product ranges.”
For more information on the HEGLA and Bystronic range please call Steve Goble or Paul Gibbs on 01908 261933. For details on the range of products available from Clayton Glass visit the website www. morethanjustglass.co.uk