Hello, is it speed you’re looking for?

Edgetech’s sales and marketing director Alan Fielder discusses speed, and how IGU manufacturers can boost efficiency without compromising on quality.

To paraphrase the immortal words of Lionel Richie: ‘Hello, is it speed you’re looking for?’

Time is money, and in an increasingly competitive marketplace, affected by rising raw material prices and ever-more-frequent shortages, it’s no surprise that businesses throughout the supply chain are interested in being able to manufacture more product, more quickly, while maintaining excellent quality standards.

IGU manufacturers are no exception, and in response, spacer bar and other component suppliers are looking for ways to help their customers make units faster than ever.

Some spacer companies now proudly boast that, with expensive specialist equipment, their clients can make a frame in just 25 seconds or less.

It sounds very impressive, but actually, it’s perfectly possible to make IGUs even faster.

Edgetech’s Super Spacer can be applied in under 20 seconds. Even using our most basic, entry-level manual application tools, we’ve seen some people apply it in under 15 seconds.

Upgrade to a fully automated Super Spacer line, and the efficiency gains drastically increase. A nine-person line applying traditional rigid spacers can produce around 1,200 units every shift.

A high-speed automated Super Spacer line, by contrast, can produce 23.5% more units and requires just 3.5 employees to operate. In total, that equals savings of approximately £180,000 every year.

But that’s just the beginning of the potential benefits of switching to Super Spacer. Competitor products don’t just take longer to apply, they’re a lot more labour-intensive too.

Your average rigid spacer has to be cut into bar length form, filled with desiccant beads and have a PIB applied all before it can be used. With an automated Super Spacer line, the seven to nine processes that go into making an IGU the traditional way are cut to just three.

Automation also significantly reduces the chances of human error. Years ago, I visited a customer and sat talking with him in his office, which overlooked the company’s spacer application station.

Even in just the 20 minutes we were there, we were horrified at how much spacer ended up in the bin, not in a finished unit.

And the application itself is just the beginning of the potential for error making units the traditional way.

Take desiccant, for example. Super Spacer is pre-desiccated, but some other products require the spacer to be manually filled with desiccant, usually using a hopper. If that’s done incorrectly, or too little or maybe even no desiccant is applied, the unit will fail. Similarly, if the desiccant has been out in the open air for too long, the unit will fail.

There are other considerations, too. Other spacer products require PIB application. But if the PIB isn’t applied accurately, the unit will fail.

Pawprints from operatives won’t impair the performance of the finished IGU, but you will still be left with a product no-one wants to install, or have installed in their home.

With an automated Super Spacer line, by contrast, quality is assured at every stage. With only three operators needed, you can produce high volumes of outstanding finished product, without having to fret about the potential for human error – it’s enough to have IGU manufacturers dancing on the ceiling.

So, if it’s speed you’re looking for, there’s only one choice. Come and see Edgetech’s cutting-edge IGU manufacturing solutions at Glasstec 2018, where we’ll be demonstrating the sort of automated equipment that can supercharge your spacer application.