Money down the drain?

With one Bohle Sedimentor already installed, Lee Glass has added a second. It’s owner Martin Lee explains why quality of coolant systems are synonymous in his opinion with product quality.

“I’ve always put a lot of importance on keeping our coolant clean for as long as I’ve been doing this,” Martin Lee, owner and managing director of Lee Glass, said. “Polishing, bevelling – it creates a lot of contamination in your coolant.

“If you don’t stay on top of it and clean it out, your product quality goes down, your tooling wears out, and your costs go up. We can’t afford for any of that to happen.”

Founded in Nottingham in 1967, Lee Glass remains a family-run business, manufacturing products ranging from balustrading, canopies, curved and walk-on glass, to the supply of IGUs, laminates and toughened glass products.

Having already installed a Bohle sedimentor to its straight-line edger in 2019, Lee Glass added a second to its polishing and bevelling lines, based on the contribution that the first has made to product quality, but also efficiency gains.

“We used to have to stop production and strip the machinery back, clean and dig out the tank and the pipes all the time,” Martin said. “It involved a lot of labour and took a lot of time out of production with prolonged stoppages for cleaning. So, we looked for another solution.

“We’d tried a centrifugal water cleaning system, which works like a spin dryer, but it left sediment behind; we ended up cleaning it out twice a shift. It never worked from the start.

“The Bohle sedimentor has. Our water quality is good and that translates into our product quality.”

Suitable for use with a wide assortment of grinding, drilling and sawing glass equipment, sedimentors from Bohle use an automated, multi-stage process to remove contaminants from coolants and water.

This includes filtering of glass particles of <5µm while using less energy, creating a closed-loop and environmentally friendly cooling system.

According to Bohle, clean water, especially with added coolant, increases the performance of machinery by up to 20% and the service life of tools by up to 30%, but it can all too easily become contaminated with particles from drilling, polishing and grinding.

This carries a potentially far higher price tag in lost man hours, falling product quality, in addition to reduced service life of equipment.

It also carries potentially unlimited fines for those companies who are found to be disposing of waste water irresponsibly, Bohle said.

So, given the positive contribution sedimentors can make to their bottom lines, why aren’t more glass processors using them?

“It takes a recession to cut wastage,” Martin said. “If you’re haemorrhaging money and you come through it to the other side, then you start to look at everything, to see where you’re making money and where you’re losing it. We’ve been in business along time and come through a lot of recessions.”

Bohle manufactures and supplies three different sedimentors: the 2.4, which has a filling quantity of 2,100 litres as chosen by Lee Glass; the 1.0, (1,000 litres); and the 0.3, which has a filling capacity of 320 litres.

Bohle’s technical team works closely with its customers to identify and model their requirements, while also offering training and through-life support.

“If you get one as a glass processor, it’s a 100% win,” Martin said. “I’m completely sold on it. Your coolant is clean, your quality is high, and you lose only a fraction of the production time that you did to cleaning.”