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Indian mirror line reflects the best of Saint-Gobain

The mirror line at the Saint-Gobain Glass India plant at Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu, south India), is seen as a model mirror facility within the Saint-Gobain group, according to the company.
The reas…

The mirror line at the Saint-Gobain Glass India plant at Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu, south India), is seen as a model mirror facility within the Saint-Gobain group, according to the company. The reason being that the line, set up at a cost of INR 240 million and commissioned September 2002, incorporates the best of mirror lines in other Saint-Gobain plants across the world. “We executed it on time, within the budget, the commissioning was smooth and we were the fastest in recent years in Saint-Gobain to achieve both the quality and cost levels at the plant,” says Mr B. Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd. The company has launched the mirrors under the Miralite Evolution brand with the selling point being that they are “ecologically and environmentally friendly, totally lead and copper free”. “We went through all the Saint-Gobain facilities and incorporated the process innovations in each one of them for the mirror line,” says Mr Santhanam. All the raw materials including paint and palladium are imported. “We are paying huge duties and transport cost. Despite that, we are probably the second or third lowest amongst Saint-Gobain facilities in terms of cost of production. It is because we have combined the right process technology and reached high quality and yield levels quickly,” he says. The mirror line has a production capacity of 4.5 million sq.m per annum. The company will operate it at about 30-40% of capacity, with exports accounting for almost 20%. The plan is to increase production over the next three-four years. According to Mr Santhanam, Saint-Gobain Glass India also installed automated glass handling from an Indian vendor for the first time. This, he says, has given the company the confidence to automate glass handling using Indian vendors at a significantly lower cost than possible through foreign vendors. Company officials say the automated glass handling equipment has been made by a company called Inteltek based in Pune, near Mumbai. The mirror line itself was made by Bovone of Italy. The mirror line uses clear glass manufactured by Saint-Gobain Glass India at its float line at the same site and can process mirrors with thickness ranging from 2mm to 6mm. The rejection rate, at 2%, is comparable to the best of Saint-Gobain“s facilities, according to the company.

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