One million units, and more

Sternfenster has supplied its one millionth double-glazed unit manufactured on its Forel IGU line.

It is the third of three Forel lines purchased by Sternfenster, and its managing director Mike Parczuk said that the capability the line delivered had been integral to its supply strategy, driving increased product quality and service.

“We have always focused on owning and controlling as much of the supply chain as possible,” he said. “Manufacture of our own IGUs made a lot of sense both in terms of product quality but also wider service.”

Manufacturing windows and doors in PVCU systems from Deceuninck Residence 9 and Spectus, plus aluminium systems from Smart, running its own IGU line has given Sternfenster additional flexibility.

“We can guarantee IGU quality, something which you can’t always do with third-party suppliers but it also means we can be more responsive to customers,” Mike said. “If there’s a mis-measure or breakage, for example, we can turn around replacement product very quickly. It also means that we’re not waiting on our own supply chain. This is a key driver of our strategy across our product offering.”

Installed in 2009, Sternfenster’s IGU line features a vertical washer and water treatment plant, plus its patented CR coating remover. This delivers a number of advantages over competitor systems, working shaped glass without tool changes, while the cup grinding tool gives the abrasive surface a higher yield.

It also features the SQD01 automatic quality control scanner. This captures an image of the glass at a rate of 2,000 times per second. Images are then combined with the onboard software, automatically detecting surface defects on both sides of the sheet.

Joe Hague, managing director of the Promac Group, said: “The quality control scanner is one of a number of really practical innovations introduced by Forel to its high speed IGU line. It delivers a significant increase in efficiency and speed of operation by eliminating the need to inspect all sheets manually.

“Scanner modules are so sensitive that they pick up the smallest scratches, seeds, thumb prints, debris and tempering defects like scourge marks.

“It saves a lot of time in scanning individual sheets but also in down process corrections, guaranteeing the quality of finished product through the exceptional accuracy that it delivers.”

Processing more than three million linear metres of spacer bar since its installation, the Sternfenster line also features Forel’s TSS automatic spacer applicator. This automatically applies spacer bar to the edge of the glass sheet with an ultra-high level of accuracy, minimising waste.

The Forel system does this by feeding a continuous strip of foam impregnated rubber from a jumbo bobbin and application of it, directly to one of two glass sheets to form a spacer frame. This delivers an instant and far better bond than traditional spacer systems, maximising the thermal performance of the IGU.

The TSS automatic spacer applicator also automatically measures incoming sheet thickness. The robot head then applies the super spacer to all four edges of the glass sticking the spacer by the acrylic glue mounted to the edge of the super spacer.

The revolutionary Forel APG coupling press then simultaneously couples IGUs while filling them with gas. With a high fill ratio, waste is kept to a minimum via a patented manifold exhaust system which works in tandem with an inflatable gasket to channels the gas precisely from the under-side of the unit.

“The system minimises wastage but filling the unit from the underside also means that the system delivers flexibility to handle larger and over-sized units,” Joe said.

“It also delivers a very high level of precision, which eliminates flexing of the unit and guarantees its performance.”

A SAHM series automatic sealing robot provides a highly accurate final seal on units. The Sternfenster line also features a CT corner tape applicator, and a Domino A200 InkJet printer.

“In controlling process of not only frame fabrication but the manufacture of glazed units, we can offer a complete service – products come on a single delivery, with a single invoice for frames and glass,” Mike said.

“In manufacturing units in house we can also meet very short lead times, regardless of whether it’s a last minute order or replacement for an onsite breakage. That’s something which we believe is on a very practical level, a real benefit to our trade customers.”