Emplas has committed to a major investment programme within its dedicated IGU business, Padiham Glass.
The IGU leader, was acquired by Emplas in May last year to guarantee glass supply, improve quality and introduce new flexibility to its supply of glazed frames.
The six-figure spend on further software integration, a new automatic sealing robot, plus new handling equipment, announced by Padiham this month [JAN] underpins a programme of product and service innovation.
Ryan Johnson, Managing Director, Emplas, said: “Security of glass supply was a major issue for fabricators and installers last year and something which we expect to continue to impact upon the market this year.
“The changes and the investment that we’re making in Padiham now, means that we, as Emplas, can guarantee security of IGU supply to those installers who buy in IGUs and frames from us, while delivering increased flexibility and enhanced product quality.
“The increased capacity that this investment will also bring to Padiham’s operation will also benefit its exiting and future customers within the trade more widely.”
Having already introduced new bar-coding systems and increased process control, Padiham will bring new batch-control software online early this year.
This gives it new flexibility to cut and prep and sub-batch product for toughening more efficiently, increasing yields, while also introducing new flexibility in its process to supply downstream lines more effectively.
John Spiby, CEO, Padiham Glass, said: “We have an opportunity to increase our yields through more effective processing and prepping of sheet glass but also to be more flexible in how we batch glass for toughening so that we not only maximise output but also feed the lines more effectively, releasing material earlier.
“These changes, in addition to those adjustments that we have already made to our internal processes are and will allow us, to further improve efficiencies, building capacity and reducing waste but most importantly, supporting us in cutting lead times and introducing new flexibility to the service that we deliver to our trade customers.”
A corresponding investment in new Hegla glass trolleys, also to be delivered early this year, will support Padiham in improving handling and reducing wastage. “Softcoat glass is very easy to damage if you’re not using the right handling solution. It’s even easier to damage in production after being toughened.
“We’re investing in dedicated trolleys which will allow us to protect the glass better as it moves down the line and reduce the number of rejections we have”, continued John.
“The benefits of this are primarily internal. We would always pick up defects as part of our quality control process. It means that we’re reducing wastage and increasing yields. These are things which allow us to keep a control on costs and ultimately our price to the customer”, he added.
This has also driven Padiham’s commitment to invest in a new Bystronic automatic sealing robot. “It’s about precision, yield and ultimately quality”, John said.
Padiham Glass, which was acquired by Emplas in May last year  has capacity to supply more than 15,000 IGU units per week from its 45,000 sq ft Lancashire manufacturing facility. This includes Saint Gobain’s highly popular Planitherm range.
“Emplas is an important customer for us but no more important than any other. We are first and foremost a trade IGU supplier”, said John.
“Ownership by one of the UK’s largest and most successful fabrication businesses does, however, mean that we have a level of resource behind us that simply isn’t available to most IGU manufacturers.
“That is allowing us to drive our investment programme forward – something which through more flexible supply and continually improving product quality, is supporting us in delivering against our commitment to deliver ever higher standards of service to the trade.”