glasstec: platform for new technologies in the glass-processing and Industry 4.0 fields

This year’s glasstec will have on show a series of new developments and technologies ranging from data systems to machinery, all with improvement in processing in mind.

glasstec, to be held from 20 to 23 September 2016 in Düsseldorf, once again sees itself as a platform for glass technology. Around 1,200 companies will be exhibiting at the trade fair, presenting new products and systems to the international glass community.

Today, remote maintenance is a standard feature, particularly with large machines and systems. Manufacturers can monitor their situation permanently using various parameters, and can intervene if necessary. The problem will then either be solved on site by the system operator or the manufacturer will send his service technician. Nevertheless, any form of remote maintenance has its limitations. In the words of Markus Gruber, responsible among other things for the ‘New Business’ area at Grenzebach, “We can only recognise as much as this technology allows.”

It is precisely here that the new development takes effect. At glasstec, Grenzebach will be presenting a system that makes it possible to see and hear precisely what the technician on site can also see and hear. This is achieved through spectacles, fitted with a mini-camera and microphones among other things, that are worn by the technician on site. The corresponding picture sequences appear on the manufacturers’ monitors. Direct communication is also ensured. But that is not all. Building or construction drawings, required for repairs, can be superimposed in the field of vision of the spectacle wearer, and codes such as DataMatrix imported. “We use a serial product,” explains development manager Roland Jenning. The important thing is however not so much the spectacles themselves but the application. “And we develop this ourselves,” says Jenning.

The advantages of the new system are obvious. Necessary information is quickly made available. Reaction times are significantly reduced. Maintenance and service are made easier and, as Gruber explains, there is “easier and quicker rectification of defects.” In addition, communication with the system operator is significantly improved overall. This ultimately all leads to support of a very high quality. Grenzebach will demonstrate how the new system works in practice at its stand in Hall 15. In addition, two experts from the company will speak at the Glass Technology Forum and the gtl Symposium, organised by Messe Düsseldorf on the second day of the trade fair (21 September), where they will explain how innovation and safety are compatible in the context of Industry 4.0.

The mechanical engineering company Benteler will also have a surprise waiting in Hall 15. The company is venturing into the business of silk screen printing machines. It will be presenting a system for printing car windscreens that is completely self-developed and self-built. But Benteler does not intend to stop here. “We have developed the machine with a focus on the display area,” says Joachim Korswird, Director with responsibility for the glass area. It is also possible to print thin glass without any major additional workload. However, the current priority is auto glass. Korswird: “So that we can demonstrate our competitiveness.” The market for display glass is highly competitive and is dominated above all by non-European companies. Only a small part of the global production of display glass comes from the EU. It is above all Japanese and Korean companies that call the tune.

At Benteler, the venture into the business of silk screen printing machines is seen as an extension of the existing product range. In the past, it built machines for cutting, breaking and grinding, among other things. According to Korswird, the silk screen printing machines enable us to “cover the entire pre-processing”. The customer therefore gets everything from a single source. The fully automatic system on display at the trade fair, which also permits edgeless printing, has a manually adjustable positioning table. It is suitable for glass up to dimensions of 900 x 1350mm and a thickness of 2 to 6mm. The cycle times are below 10 seconds.

As Korswird explains, the glass is moved directly from the positioning area to the printing area without any intermediate step. This makes it possible to avoid the imprecision that can occur in the otherwise normal two-step process as well as reducing the cycle times. The speed of the doctor blade is continuously adjustable, and a pull-out carriage ensures that the screen can be easily removed, cleaned and re-inserted. In addition to the silk screen printing machine that is also suitable for printing building glass, Benteler will also be presenting a device for screen and glass alignment. The laser and camera-assisted system ensures that the screen is always placed on the plate with a precise fit.

Further information, not only on the new printing machine but also concerning the processing, cleaning and screen printing of ultra-thin glass, will be available during the two-day conference “Function meets glass”. It begins one day before glasstec on 19 September.

The German company Bohle AG, global market leader in hand tools for glass processing, will be exhibiting its new Master Belt belt grinding machine for the first time at its stand in Hall 9. Like its predecessor, it is available in two differing versions: with one speed (11 m/sec.) or alternatively with two speeds (11/22 m/sec.) The ball caster table, previously available only as an option, is now included as a standard feature. “The machine has been designed as overall even more user friendly,” says Sales Manager Ralf Ackermann. This is the case, among other things, as regards the adjustment of the belt tension and the changing of the grinding belt. Belt grinder machines of the Master Belt series have been on the market since 1990, and have been continuously improved ever since. Ackermann: “The Master Belt is the standard grinding machine for the glass workshop.”