A clear advantage with Forel
Based in Dundee, Scotland, Ravensby Glass specialises in the production of double and triple glazed units, interior glass and facades.
With over 150 employees and 7,000m2 of production space, the company distributes its products throughout the UK, distinguishing itself for quality, service and customer care.
Founded in 1986, the company is headed up by Hamish Ogilvie, CEO, and Nicholas Cunningham, CFO.
“After diversifying into different sectors, we have been in the glass business as processors since the 1980s,” said Hamish.
“Over the years we have always invested in increasing the quality of our glass and the efficiency of our service. At our Tom Johnston Road site in Dundee where we have consolidated our activity for greater efficiency, we have created a hybrid plant dedicated to residential glass, which we distribute extensively in Scotland, and commercial glass, which we supply throughout the UK.
“We have put a lot of effort into having efficient logistics across such a large territory.”
The Ravensby Glass production facility includes two warehouses and two horizontal cutting lines. The glass is then processed and tempered if required, before being directed to one of three existing lines for the production of insulating glass.
“In 2019 we decided to enhance our production with a new insulating glass line and when looking for suitable machinery we accepted an invitation to visit the Forel plant in Italy,” explains Hamish.
“We were very impressed by the technology and solutions and decided to purchase our first Forel IGU line along with a vertical processing line, for the production of processed glass, pre tempering.
“After overcoming the initial bedding in period of the new equipment (every machine of every brand has its own peculiarities) we were suitably satisfied with both lines’ performance, and as part of our growth strategy, we decided to order a second IGU line,” he continued.
“Today these two Forel IGU Lines represent the core of our production and the vertical edging line, processes the bulk of our glass production.”
The Forel machinery in operation at Ravensby Glass includes; the ‘residential’ IG line, capable of processing double glazing units up to 4,000 x 2,500 mm, with rigid or flexible spacer bar, and a ‘high tech’ IG line with a wide range of options such as triple/quadruple glazing, all sides stepped and large piece processing of up to 5,000 x 2,800 mm.
The edging machine is a Forel Art. EM, which is said to be renowned for its precision and output performance in arrissing, grinding and polishing.
Like all manufacturing companies, Ravensby Glass faces the challenges of a competitive market in which new variables, such as rising energy costs and enhanced requirements for thermal performance have recently appeared.
“We are managing the complexities of this economic phase in different ways,” explained Nicholas. “On the one hand, we have turned up the heat on our energy suppliers, particularly when our supply contract is expiring, and on the other hand we are rationalising our production flow, for example by using only one toughening plant instead of two.
“This particular situation, however, does not change one basic reality: if the glass production is already highly automated today, it will have to be even more so in the future.
“Forel’s system brings clear advantages in terms of productivity and allows for constant digital control over the work in progress.”
According to Hamish, Ravensby Glass has its finger on the pulse of both commercial and residential glass trends.
“Contrary to what might have been assumed a year ago, the demand for commercial glass shows no sign of contracting – in fact it’s quite the opposite,” he explained.
“In the UK it is in full swing and the need for facades, shopfronts and other installations will be a constant well into 2024. Despite the dampening effect we can expect due to the rising cost of raw materials, it is undeniable that there is a willingness to invest significantly in commercial glass, particularly triple glazing.
“In fact, in 2022, our orders were only 10% triple glazing, whereas today they are already 35%. As for the residential market, it is stable at the moment.
“However, I believe that the demand for triple glazing will also increase before long,” he concluded. “From this point of view, Ravensby Glass is well prepared: when it comes to triple glazing, the Forel line has demonstrated really good performance.”