A year of investment

Apeer has invested £285,000 in machinery in the last 12 months, with more planned for 2021.

Among the new additions to its Ballymena facility in Northern Ireland is a waterjet cutter with a 3m x 2m bed, which became the company’s first foray into this type of technology when it was purchased in June. It has not only sped up the processing time for cutting laminated glass, it also means Apeer now has the capability to cut all types of glass, as well as other materials, into any shape – opening up possibilities for new and innovative design features for future products, the company said.

A new Butyl extruder and hot glass press, along with a new large glass washer installed in November, will help Apeer service growing demand for its Lumi range. Production of the frameless windows continues to increase, due to growing demand in the replacement market as well as new builds. With its integrated inspection and tilt table, the new glass washer can wash glass up to 3m by 2.5m in size.

Two additional jib cranes with vacuum lifters were introduced on site as part of Apeer’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of its employees in day-to-day operations while improving production workflow. And a second SCM Accord 25FX five-axis CNC router will be installed in February, joining the first which was commissioned in January 2018 as part of an on-going machinery replacement and upgrade programme.

This will give Apeer even greater capacity for machining composite doors, as well as full five-axis machining capability for potential new projects.

“Our investment programme over the past year has been an important part of our commitment to ensuring Apeer can push further with product development, enhance the quality and range we offer, and increase production capacity where it is needed, as well as overall efficiency in our factory,” Asa McGillian, Apeer’s managing director, said.  “We want to ensure Apeer is well equipped to continue meeting consumer demand, in terms of our products’ quality, quantity and choice.

“And we’re not stopping there. We have plans to invest a further £100k in the new year to install a second seamless welder, to join the new machine we purchased [in 2020], as well as upgrade spray booths and add a large overhead crane to better handle the more sizable glass and Lumi units.

“Collectively, all of these factory enhancements should give Apeer far greater flexibility and will allow us to continue offering our customers the best possible products and service.”