Complex, cross-networked production lines now dominate almost all aspects of modern glass processing. The greatest challenge for manufacturers is to carefully balance high level automation with the greatest possible flexibility.
A prime example of an ideal combination is Glas Sprinz in Ravensburg, Germany. The glass processor in Upper Swabia recently placed a new fully automatic system from Bystronic into operation. The system not only provides glass processing from storage to finished insulating glass units, but also offers many specific, adaptable solutions.
Currently about 360 employees run the seamless production process at Glas Sprinz. Due to considerable increases in orders, the machines run throughout the night. Production usually runs in three shifts from Monday through to Saturday.
Glas Sprinz does not produce mass consumer goods, it concentrates on quality over a far wider range. Company President Joachim Fischbach is proud of now being able to handle the entire range of glass production with his products: Not only do they produce single-lite safety glass (SSG), laminated safety glass (LSG), and insulating glass, they also offer refinement processes. For example ceramic silkscreen printing with elaborate colours and motifs are now a specialty for Glas Sprinz.
The challenge facing Sprinz was to co-ordinate production at two locations in Ravensburg. With a very structured concept of how the new manufacturing system should be planned, the company chose a supplier who could implement those ideas. The Bystronic glass group were chosen by the company president for several reasons.
“It was a decisive factor for us that Bystronic glass could provide us with the essential elements for the new production lines from a single source with glass storage, cutting lines, and a sorting system all included. At the same time, they were able to implement our concept giving due regard to available space.”
The modern new production facility has a large glass storage system that can be used at any time thanks to the glass storage management programme. Jumbo lites are moved automatically out of storage onto two cutting lines that run congruently, one for float glass and the other for laminated safety glass.
Both cutting lines are designed for special sizes of 3.30 x 7 meters. Residual plates that are not required are temporarily placed in a compact storage system directly on the cutting lines until they are used again, thus saving space. The storage system manages the residual plates of both cutting lines, ensuring optimum use of material.
Float glass lites up to 19 mm thick can be processed on the high-performance SMFR cutting and edge deletion machine.
A sorting station with five harp racks then organises lites before it is moved to the Lenhardt insulating glass line. Arrissing is also performed on lites for insulating glass production at Glas Sprinz. Small cracks and chips in the edge area usually cannot be avoided in normal manufacturing methods. For insulating glass, however, these imperfections increase the risk of leakage and glass breakage, therefore arrissing is a good idea for all lites.
Peter Gast, the Bystronic glass designer responsible for this project comments,
“We became very involved with our customer’s specific needs during the design of loading. The loading system is capable of recognizing two different types of glass on a glass rack and removing them separately. This is a great advantage if space is a factor which plays a deciding role in production.”
He continues: “To build a system that breaks 19-mm-thick float glass is not necessarily a problem, but about 70% of all float glass lites at Glas Sprinz go into SSG production, and that requires lites to be broken as close to rectangular as possible. Otherwise, glass will need to be reground after breaking, and that takes up precious time. We simulated the breaking process on a test system, working together with the customer until we reached the increased quality level they needed. I know of no other system today able to break 19-mm float glass at this quality.”
Thanks to the most modern engineering systems from Bystronic glass, Glas Sprinz can continue to deliver glass of outstanding quality to its customers.