Swansea-based Victorian Sliders has specific business goals, which has involved taking on new machinery from Bottero with associated software from Clear Thinking Software. Glass Times editor, Nathan Bushell, met MD Brendan McCambridge to discuss why the market for sliding sash windows show no sign of slowing.
Victorian Sliders recently moved into an imposing single 104,000 sq.ft. site at Capel Hendre near Swansea in Wales. The firm is making over 1,500 windows a week, it also extrudes, sprays, foils and bends (if necessary) its own profile, makes its own ,energy efficient reinforcement thermal bar from regrind (the company owns a PVC recycling company), maintains its profile the tooling, injection moulds all accessories, and makes its own sealed units on the same site.
An integrated sales ordering, production and transport system with bar code scanners throughout the business ensures products are manufactured to exacting quality standards and delivered on time and in full.
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It was for this last reason that Steve Roberts from Bottero and Malcolm Searle from Clear Thinking Software were on site – they were helping to commission new machinery that would help the throughput of float and laminated glass.
The Bottero 343Evo high-speed cutting table is constantly fed by the 630CBM loading system which automatically feeds the glass from one of the four bulk storage racks in the correct sequence, according to the batch being processed. All three functions are automatically performed directly on the cutting table: soft coat edge deletion, CO2 laser marking, and cutting. After the breakout operation, the pieces are then loaded onto the infeed of the Bottero automatic arrising and washing line, which arrises all four edges, washes and dries each piece ready for placing directly onto the inlet conveyor of the tempering furnace. All units that leave the factory are toughened.
“We are currently experiencing a sharp increase in demand for our Evo series cutting tables equipped with laser marking systems as more and more of our customers are seeing the real-world benefits in terms of productivity and cost-saving of moving to a totally paperless environment,” Steve said.
The Evolution window fabrication software from Business Micros exports the glass details to the Glass Office software from Clear Thinking, this then optimises the glass and instructs the Bottero table on where to laser the toughened mark and text for identifying and tracking the glass around the factory.
The marks are laser-etched so that when the frames are constructed, the toughened marks are always in the same corner on both leafs of the unit and all units are identically oriented – this makes for a much more aesthetically pleasing window for the customer. The Glass Office software will also ensure that the units are made in batches that exactly match the frame manufacturing process, so when the frames are factory glazed the right glass is immediately available for the glaziers.
“This speeds up the glazing process and saves time by minimising excess labour and potential breakages or scratches, rather than the glaziers having to hunt around the factory for the units they need,” Malcolm said. On the fabrication side, Victorian Sliders had just invested over £3 million in a series of integrated Urban welding and corner cleaning systems , which was being set up as Glass Times toured the factory.
Brendan explained how sales have increased by around 30% year on year , with this expected to increase further as the company enters a particularly busy period. Therefore, turnover should be close to hitting £14 million by the end of this financial year.
Originally published in Glass Times magazine October 2015