How to be ahead of the curve

Bohle hands over this month’s column to Gary Smith, site director at Novaglaze’s Huddersfield curved and flat glass processing facility, whose projects have included the London Eye.

We offer a comprehensive range of products curved and flat processing. This includes standard IGUs and increasingly over-sized IGUs, which are supplied into architectural glass markets.

We also process a wide range of laminates. We do drilling, digital image printing, sandblasting, water jet cutting and CNC processing, and other specialist products including varying types of mirror and coloured glass.

But we’re probably best known for curved glass. It’s a capability that we have developed over a long period of time, and it’s been part of what we do for a very long time. This includes curving of annealed glass, curved toughened glass, curved laminated glass and curved glazed units.

That’s really defined our development. We have worked on some highly specialised projects, including the London Eye, supplying the UK but also further afield and across Europe. Most of our customers – around 60% – are other glass processors that may not have the technical capabilities or specialisms in-house.

Curving is not something that’s widely offered or that easy to get right but there are a wide range of different applications for it from modern installations to heritage markets. That’s really defined our growth – we have always offered specialisms. Our group, which includes Wholesale Glass and Tower Glass, gives us even wider specialist capabilities supplying a large variety of mirrored glass types, as well as coloured glass.

We purchased our sedimentors from Bohle three months ago to complement our investment of over £500,000 in new glass processing equipment, including a large single straight line edger and a twin edger line, which will polish all four sides of glass in one process to an exceptionally high standard.

We process product to a very high standard and water quality is important for a tip-top finish quality. This meant that we lost considerable time to cleaning and maintenance.

The addition of Bohle sedimentors to our lines has allowed us to reduce the time lost to downtime cleaning but, more importantly, has allowed us to sustain a high quality of finish throughout the processing cycle, a key benefit for our customers.

This focus on quality is really important. We work with either other glass processors, specialist projects or heritage work – there is an expectation of exceptional product finish from all of them.

We’re confident that this focus on quality will drive our continuing growth. We’ve invested in our manufacturing facilities and have capabilities that other glass processors don’t have and that this will continue to drive business.

We also see continuing growth in heritage markets, where our specialism and our experience of working with heritage organisations including English Heritage, continues to deliver opportunities.

It’s a very interesting and sometimes challenging sector where the focus on conservation needs to be balanced with safety and opportunities to enhance performance; we would now always, for example, laminate roof light plates – the Victorians obviously didn’t.

At the other end of the scale, multi-laminate, thermally efficient and solar control coatings provide a wide range of opportunities to take to new projects and to exploit the technical innovations that are now being delivered in glass. We believe that this will continue to drive growth across a wide range of different architectural glass applications.

Suitable for elementary to chain-linked, double-sided straight line edgers, Bohle manufactures and supplies three different sedimentors: the 2.4, which has a filling quantity of 2100 litres, the 1.0, (1,000 litres), and the 0.3, (320 litres).

The fully automated system uses a sophisticated multi-stage process to pump water, first into a settling tank, removing around 70% of heavier glass particles from coolant.