To the point

The UK could see glass shortages this year, while throwing £tens-of-thousands of product away each year by using the wrong cutting products. Bohle’s Dave Broxton explains.

Exponential growth in demand and disruption to manufacture because of Covid, meant that, at the start of this year, the supply of float glass was always going to be tight.

But with two of UK’s biggest float glass lines scheduled to go into £50 million cold maintenance programmes imminently, things could be about get a whole lot tighter, and the shortages and allocations that we saw at the end of last year are still very much with us.

As a company that imports product from Europe, I can tell you very definitely that Brexit has made that process more complex, so meeting that shortfall by bringing in glass from Europe isn’t going to be easy, especially given the volumes that we’re going to need.

Given this context, the rationale for reducing wastage in production, never mind the contribution that doing so can make to your bottom line, should be staring every glass processor and IGU manufacturer in the face.

But there are still many who aren’t using the right cutting wheels, either because they don’t know that they are, or don’t understand the science. When the right cutting wheel can save you £thousands in reduced wastage while improving edge quality, that doesn’t make sense.

Edge-quality is a known cause of failure in glass – units or otherwise. When you cut glass, you put tension into it. Get the wheel angle or cutting pressure wrong, or use the wrong cutting fluid, and product is going to be less stable.

This is why the right choice of cutting wheel and fluid in any industrial cutting process is key. Get it right and you’ll manufacture a better product, lose less material in the breakout or furnace, and go some way at least, to insulate yourself against shortages, never mind future claims for failure.

Bohle’s iconic Silberschnitt cutting wheel range has evolved over almost a century from simple hand-held tools to high-tech automatic cutting wheel designs. Critically, we also offers support and training to help our customers select the right cutting wheels and the right cutting fluids for an almost limitless range of applications.

We offer an extensive range of OEM industrial cutting wheels, each developed specifically for and in partnership with leading cutting equipment manufacturers, including: Glaston Bavelloni, Bottero, Bystronic, Benteler, CMS Brembana, Grenzebach, Hegla, Intermac, Macotec and Lisec.

This includes the supply of an extensive range of tungsten carbide and PCD (polycrystalline diamond) cutting wheels and their holders.

Cutmaster Gold is a highly engineered tungsten carbide cutting wheel ideally suited to cutting float line and laminated glass. Its service life is around eight to 10 times longer than a standard cutting wheel but it maintains a consistently high cutting quality from the first to the last cut.

Normal cutting wheels need to bed in to hit optimal performance. That’s why we say to people if you have a really important production run, bed in a new cutting wheel first.

Cutmaster gold is pre-scored and then coated, ‘freezing’ it at  the point of optimal performance giving you a high degree of precision at the start of use.

And, because it’s held in this state right up until the end of its service life, you find that you don’t have to adjust the cutting pressure.

Cutmaster Platinum represents a further evolution of cutting wheel technology. This uses a specially developed laser-engraved, micro-structure that forms a permanently sharp cutting edge but rather than forming a continuous cut, it creates a series of microscopic ‘punctures’ along the score line creating a far more precise and stable cut.

Its design means that Cutmaster Platinum is suitable for cutting float glass from 0.05mm, up to 19mm. Cutmaster Platinum delivers a far better edge quality than any other cutting wheel.

The punctures give you is a very straight, even and continuous cut run with a low surface penetration and a very high edge quality because the cutting force required is less and there are fewer lateral cracks and so less chipping.

The use of the right cutting fluid also assumes significant importance in driving up edge quality. In the same way that there is a mind-boggling range of cutting wheels available, Bohle also supplies an extensive range of cutting fluids, dedicated to specific types of processing and glass, including softcoats.

This includes washable cutting fluids for use in cutting thick glass (10mm and up), shape cutting and laminate glass cutting. It also supplies a range of evaporating cutting fluids designed for cutting insulated glass and, among others, low-e glass.

It can appear intimidating, and there’s a definite science to it, but he right choice of tools are the key to success of any job and if you’re using the wrong ones, you’re going to compromise quality and generate more waste.

If the savings and direct contribution to your bottom line aren’t enough, maybe the ability to complete the job by not wasting an increasingly precious commodity, is?