GL AS S & GL AS S PROCE S S ING
Green shoots of recovery
What impact has COVID- had on the glass processing and IGU sectors and
where will the opportunities lie going forward? GGP Magazine reports.
More than half of us don’t want
things to go back to ‘normal’ after
COVID-. A poll by YouGov in
April, found that, as a country, we
were placing new value on stronger communities,
cleaner air and the environment.
The authors of the study said this was
something that would drive radical social and
economic change moving the green credentials of
business up the political agenda.
“We’ve come to feel the connection between
the environment and our health more acutely,”
says Dave Broxton, managing director at Bohle.
“The message isn’t new. There’s been pressure
from campaigners and progressive businesses for
some time – but it perhaps resonates now far more
clearly than ever before.
Sustainability has been a growing prerequisite
“Now is the time to review your processes and
do things differently. Your markets are going
to expect it. It's not going to be an option”
in doing business with large corporates for some
time. They recognise the value it delivers to their
brand and the potential threat that weaknesses
within their supply chain can create.
Most businesses now also have environmental
declarations in place, the obligatory ‘commitment
to minimise the impact of their operations on the
environment’. Dave, however, argues that post-
COVID-, we will expect much more.
“The glass industry creates a lot of waste – most
of which is now recycled rather than skipped –
but we also use a lot of water, something which
isn’t universally treated with the same level of
consideration,” he says.
“Now is the time to review your processes and
do things differently. Your markets are going to
expect it. It’s not going to be an option.”
Cash is clearly always king, coming out of
a period of lockdown, most glass processors
and IGU manufactures have been focussed on
balancing their books, not assessing the impact
their operations have on the environment.
“I get it, cashflow is everything right now –
no one is going to be looking to spend money
unnecessarily but there is another side to that coin,
which is that they can make changes now, while
their operations are quieter which would be more
disruptive when they’re back into full production.
“Acting now also allows you to make changes
which can help you get more out of your existing
machinery going forward, building in capacity
without major investment.”
Waste water remains a big issue for glass
processors, adding significant cost to production,
either in the form of management or lower
product quality because of contamination. This
includes significantly reducing the lifespan of
tooling and concretion of glass finings within the
machine and tanks.
The cost of cleaning or changing coolant also
quickly adds up. According to Bohle, using just
litres of water as part of your weekly cleaning
cycle equates to a yearly water consumption of
approx. , litres, as well as high cost for its
disposal. You can flip this and tap into through-life
efficiencies with a comparatively small investment
in your cleaning system,” argues Dave.
“For example, purchasing a new sedimentor
for a straight-line edger can remove the need for
downtime for cleaning of machinery, water and
tanks contaminated by glass particles, meaning
that in the course of a month, processors can gain
the equivalent of a full day’s production,” he adds.
The glass processing industry has traditionally
relied on centrifugal water cleaning systems,
however, according to Bohle, these can’t filter
glass particles < μm. This is something which,
it argues, can contribute to lower product quality
over time and a build-up of concretion in the
machine and its tanks.
It gets over this problem through an alternative
system. Suitable for a wide assortment of grinding,
drilling and sawing glass equipment, Bohle
sedimentors use a sophisticated and automated
multi-stage process to remove contaminants from
coolants and water. This includes filtering of glass
particles of < μm or less but doing so using far
Another key feature of Bohle’s range is that it
uses a ‘bypass system’ for batch cleansing. This
isolates water, coolant and flocculant from the
line during the cleaning process, completely
eliminating the potential risk from flocculant
contamination and tool damage.
In addition to giving you as much as a day’s
production back a week, improved product quality
and increased service life of tooling, Bohle says
its range of sedimentors also trim around % off
the costs of water disposal, paying back against
purchase costs in as little as a year.
“There is a real synergy here between doing
the right thing as well as being seen to do it, and
principles of lean manufacture,” Dave says.
“Demand for product is going to be rapid.
Getting back up to a day a day week production
through a sedimentor allows you to do more
and do it quickly, releasing product sooner and
allowing you to invoice.
“It saves money and generates cash – right
now, that’s something that’s important to every