Interview with Rui Joaquim, Tvitec Operation Manager
A few years ago, TVITEC and FOREL collaborated on the ‘No Limits’ project: The requirement to process Extra Jumbo Glass was the start point with a new solution capable of producing IG units Jumbo size plus. After many thousands of IG facades now manufactured, what are your thoughts?
When two companies start a project together to develop a new technical solution, it is very important that both companies’ expectations are clear:
1) To clearly pursue well-defined objectives and requirements;
2) Be sure that in any new project, things don’t always turn out perfect first time.
The first requires both parties in the early stage of the project to be able to define clearly and objectively what they propose to do. It is very important to focus on defining the specific requirements are, based on what we want the particular machine to do, bearing in mind, you can’t have everything in a single solution. A machine that does everything perfectly doesn’t exist and therfore It is necessary to focus on deliverable expectations.
The second is to understand you are in unexplored territory and when that is the case, you must be prepared to overcome difficulties with technical experience, creativity and perseverance. None of these things are achieved at first without effort. The process can be long and exhausting so you have to be prepared. In short, it’s like a marriage, you have to trust each other and know that the other partner wants to achieve and share openly so that, in the end, the project succeeds. From our point of view and after many I.G’s produced, we are extremely satisfied with the final result and how both companies contributed to the outcome.
– From your point of view is the trend for large size glass still growing?
Increasingly the construction sector tends to seek industrialised solutions, which requires more efficient, competitive and agile supply chain. We believe that the large-size market will continue to develop, becoming more and more a market for iconic and unique projects that, in some cases, incorporates large-scale glass solutions. These projects are strongly influenced by other factors and events such as the instability resulting from the pandemic, logistical and raw material problems and, more recently, the rising cost of energy make these types of projects tougher. Another important consideration is to define what a large dimension is: 6 , 9, 12, 18, 21 mt, …? Everything changes so fast making it very important to know when you’ve reached the limit and to decide with facts or emotion. One thing that we are clear about is that extra-large dimensions (XXL) will never be the predominant trend but something that any reference company needs to be able to represent.
– The Padel phenomenon: what is your feedback on the performance of our drilling and milling machine installed in the Cabanas Raras factory?
Padel is a sport in which a fairly rapid expansion in the number of practitioners can be observed. This situation is directly accompanied by an increase in the infrastructure available for the practice of this sport. As it is a standardized enclosure, the production of this type of facility has enormous potential for industrialization and automation. At Tvitec we use Forel’s vertical Drilling and Milling technology. This is due mainly to its reliability, precision and productivity that they introduce to our production.
– Which are your expectations and feelings about the new grinding lines installed in the Portuguese and Cubillos del Sil factories?
Similar to what we mentioned with the Milling and Drilling systems, in the case of Grinding we also rely on Forel vertical machines to achieve a high-level productive result. First impressions are very positive. The intuitive easy to use interface, makes the start-up process swift and agile along with the functionality of the operating system and having the simplicity of an interface to connect to other machines, up to now we are well satisfied.
– Tvitec has demonstrated strong intuition for the future trends. What are the «hot topics» a glass factory must keep an eye on today?
We are living in times where changes take place ever quicker and being able to read and anticipate events is key to being successful. The sector in which we operate takes time to look from the window, trying to control external factors as best as possible. Whether it’s raw material costs, supply-chain problems, skilled labour, energy costs or an endless number of other factors, we understand these are the “hot topics” and they apply to any company, regardless of size. In fact, it’s essential to manage these factors well but curiously, these are the ones we have least control over giving little importance to what happens at home and the factors we can control. These opportunities are not new but are more pertinent now than ever. Professional organisations rethink their production systems and follow a path to industrialisation. However, industrialisation is not just simply adding more machines. When we reflect and understand the opportunities we have, we define our objectives and initiate measures accordingly. It is not possible that, regardless of the size of the company, that our sector follows the same production model.
From our point of view, rethinking and redesigning the productive structure is the most relevant priority of the moment. It’s a long and hard process that will generate and conclude with important benefits at several levels and we have already started that journey.