Innovation and originality
The glass balustrades of the Tour Odeon Skyscraper of the Principality of Monaco, the interior of the Doha Airport in Qatar, the new BBC headquarters, Manchester University’s facades, the glasses for the Winter Garden in London’s Shard, and the cruise ships of Costa Crociere.
These are just a few projects that Formator in Rijeka, Croatia, has been involved in. The company employs around 70 people and is focused on special glass installations – laminated, tempered, curved, etc – to be used in modern buildings.
“Our company was established 15 years ago,” owner Robert Miklus said. “From the very beginning we started competing in the international market, offering superior quality and precision. Our glass is now in some of the most innovative and luxurious buildings in the world, buildings where the tolerance limits for the glasses are near zero.”
For the edging, drilling and milling of the glass, Formator uses a vertical processing line by Forel. The line includes the edging machine Art EM, the drilling and milling machine Art DM, and the washing machine Art VW.
The company chose the Forel line, made up of three different machines, instead of a single machine that collects together the different processes because it needed the highest possible precision, which was found in just in this line.
“We are experiencing a trend of continuous research of innovation and originality in the architecture,” Robert said. “Actually, there is an impressive creative impulse from designers and architects; when we receive an order for an innovative project, it is never a standard order.
“Architects order glass to compose their creations, and every sheet could have different size, with the final effect requiring the maximum precision. Think about serigraphy: sometimes we received orders for huge quantities of different laminated glass panes with designs on both sheets. All the glass will be placed to create a graphic design and, therefore, all the panes have to be extremely precise.
“Another common case is the ‘glass fins’ orders. These orders are for laminated glass panes of two to three sheets that are very long and tight (up to 4m x 400mm), with up to 20 holes per sheet. That means possibly up to 60 holes. If, after the lamination process, just one hole is not placed in the correct position, the pane has to be discarded. Minimum errors cause not only time and material waste but also a critical delay for the customers.”
Robert said the Forel edge processing line meets the company’s needs because both the edging, with its patented glass sheet holder feature, and the drilling machine, with its system of fixed and adjustable suction cups, offer a stability during the processing.
“The machines are very flexible, are highly productive, and guarantee quality and repeatability,” he said. “And that is exactly what we need.
“At first, we were looking just for a drilling machine. We discarded the horizontal solutions, because of the difficulties in the glass positioning and we couldn’t put the drilling machine in line with the traditional edging machinery. So, we started considering brands that offer vertical all-in-one solutions, but we were not convinced about performance and quality.
“Then, we heard that Forel was designing a new vertical line for edging, drilling and milling and we decided to wait. That was a wise decision; in the last two years, the line has been working without interruption 24/7.
“The productivity about shaped and special glasses is quadrupled, giving full satisfaction to us first and foremost, but above all to our customers.”
Robert said that with this line the company can be more flexible, managing every kind of request.
“In the past, when we were working on a big project, it was difficult to put into production new orders in our schedule. Now, the higher performance of our machinery makes everything easier.”
During 2019, the company plans to expand its Rijeka plant by 3,000m2.
The company has already ordered a new edging machine and a new washing machine, which will work in line processing those sheets that only need to be polished.
“Obviously, they will be from Forel,” Robert said.