200 visitors per day, from 30 different Countries, for a 3-day event dedicated to the new technologies in the flat glass sector, following the "Time-Space-Efficiency" red thread.
This is the summary of the Forel Open House 2019, the usual annual appointment of FOREL with customers from all over the world: during the event, all the guests have had free access to the Vallio di Roncade (TV) plant and had the chance to look at the machinery in operation, checking first-hand the quality and reliability of FOREL solutions.
The Open House has also been enriched by a relevant program of conferences, which saw the participation of first-rate speakers such as Dario Schiff and Romano Ugolini (Guardian Glass), Luca Papaiz (Pellinindustrie-GlassAdvisor), Alex Ochoa (Fenetech) and Peter Pfannenstill (SoftSolution).
“Forel could never have reached the grand age of 43 years without a continuous commitment to interpreting what it needs to be to respond effectively to the market” explains Fortunato Vianello, Founder and CEO “Today, as we always did, we never stop asking ourselves what tools are available - and, more importantly, what tools need to be invented - to bring the glass industry closer to perfection. Many years before the term “lean production” had even been coined, Forel was already dedicated to optimising work time, the intelligent use of space and in offering its clients the most efficient technology possible. And on this topic (Time-Space-Efficiency) we planned our Open House: who choose Forel take a significant step forwards in all three of these directions”.
“The important thing is having a clear goal. It isn't always necessary to know how to reach this goal already when you start: first you choose the destination, and then you plot the route. Nonetheless, ambitious plans often come with hurdles that can't always be overcome alone. And this is where you need a partner, not just a supplier, that can put the initial vision into focus and transform the idea into a project”.
These are the words of Josè Pires, Chief Financial Officer of Vidraria Mortagua (Portugal), one of the leading glass-processing companies in the Iberian peninsula. Founded thirty or so years ago by Nuno Morais, the current CEO of the company, and Josè Pires, Vidraria Mortagua has grown from a small artisanal business with around a dozen employees to become a structured industrial company with an 18,000 square metre production site, a workforce of over 100 and an annual turnover in excess of 10 million euros. The company produces laminated and insulating glass for both residential and commercial applications, in pane sizes up to and even beyond the Jumbo format. While the company distributes is products directly within Portugal only, its clients supply a market extending throughout Europe. For over 20 yeas, Vidraria Mortagua has used Forel machinery for the production of insulating glass, edge processing and, more recently, laminated glass cutting.
“We purchased our first Forel double glass production line in the late 1990s, and it is still in operation today”, says Pires. “About ten years later, we added a second Forel line to cater for the growing number of orders. Our company then continued to grow steadily, and so we transferred to a larger new plant and increased the size of our workforce. But when the recession came in around 2010, we experienced a drop in business like everyone else at the time. We had only two paths ahead of use: we could either close down to save us from financial loss or risk new investments. We asked ourselves what we could do to stand apart from our competitors, and the answer was a project for a third double glass production line: a line capable of processing pane sizes up to 7 x 3.21 metres, using the Super Spacer flexible spacer. In addition to our third line's ability to produce impressive formats, it is also the first anywhere in the Iberian peninsula to use flexible spacer technology. The new plant became operational two years ago, and the response from the market has already been very positive: in 2019, we saw a substantial increase in the number of orders for insulating glass with the Super Spacer”.
One of the leading players in the impressive growth of Vidraria Mortagua has been Rogerio Moreira, who joined the company in the late 1990s and is now General Manager.
“When we decided to invest in the new flexible spacer”, explains Moreira, “we knew that we were trying something totally new in our field. We weighed up a number of different options, but in the end we chose the Forel Art. AT applicator, which offered the best performance with the Super Spacer product. Now that the necessary setting up stage is complete, the line is operating at full capacity. Adding this new line let us achieve the degree of flexibility we were looking for, and Vidraria Mortagua can now respond easily to both standard orders and more complex requests.”
The latest purchase by Mortagua was a Forel VC02 vertical laminated glass cutting line (the model exhibited at Glasstech 2018, ed).
“We have just finished a major project to optimise and rationalise our production plant” continues Moreira. “After we extended our production area (increasing it to its present size of 18,000 square metres), in 2017 we created specific, distinct areas for lamination, insulating glass production and laminated glass cutting. We needed to speed up process times in the cutting department in particular, where we had only performed horizontal cuts: and this was made possible by the installation of the Forel vertical cutting line. This line's precision and reliability, and its ability to process Jumbo format panes rapidly, gave our production capabilities a significant boost. In addition to this, Forel also built a made-to-measure automated magazine system for us, which feeds both the vertical and the horizontal cutting lines.”
“The future is automation” concludes Josè Pires. “We have to continue to set increasingly higher standards for quality using ever more advanced glass processing solutions, and this will only be possible through automation. To react to a market that is already very aggressive and changeable, Mortagua has set itself the goal of being flexible, of being organised amidst the disorganised nature of the world we operate in. This is why we base our choice of suppliers not only on the quality of the product they offer, but also on how easily we can create a working relationship with their management. Companies with our vision and aspirations cannot make do with picking systems and machines out of a catalogue, but need a supplier that develops bespoke solutions. To be up to the task, the constructor must have a streamlined organisational structure that can react rapidly to our feedback and requests both before and after sale. A working group involving both the glass processor and the constructor must be created to work towards the common goal of creating a system that operates at its full potential, always. This is why Vidraria Mortagua does not have its own R&D department. Our innovation is in the machines we use.”
There's an unmistakeable atmosphere of continuous innovation within Mortagua. As well as a well stocked machine pool, the company has also installed a state of the art photovoltaic generation system and a process water recycling system. There are also many new projects in the pipeline.
“By the end of 2019”, reveals Rogerio, “we will have completed a new extension project to increase the size of our production site. In the meanwhile, we are finalising the purchase of a new 'High Speed' double glass production line. And, of course, it will be a Forel line.”
Effective April 8, 2019, Marco Schiavon has been appointed CEO of Forel North America. As CEO, Schiavon will oversee the operations at the St. Paul, Minnesota and Toronto, Ontario locations.
Schiavon has been employeed at Forel for over 30 years and has gained extensive experience in the glass industry. During his career, Schiavon has held various positions of responsibility within the organization. Schiavon has extensive experience within the North American market, an area that has always been a strategic focus for Forel.
With the aim to focus on further company development in North America and to offer customers in the U.S. and Canada an increasingly efficient customer service, both before the purchase and after installation it was decided to entrust the management of the North American branch to Schiavon.
“Schiavon has a clear understanding of our customers’ needs and has establishmed long lasting relationships with our customers,” says Riccardo Vianello, Chaiman of the Board of Directors.
Here below the Organization Chart of Forel NA:
Marco Schiavon – CEO Forel North America
Christine Wilson – CFO
Troy Lentner – U.S. Area Manager
Nick Eue – U.S. Service Manager
Owen Allen – Canada Service Manager & Sales Support
Riccardo Vianello - Serves as Chair of the Board of Directors. Since the founding of Forel North America in 2013, Riccardo Vianello has played a central role in the development and success of the North American branch, in which he is still fully involved.
"Everything is based on the quality that a glass company can offer. Superior quality allows you to connect with higher-level customers and access higher-level orders. How do you achieve quality? On the one hand, you rely on the skills and know-how of your company and employees; on the other hand, you capitalize on the tools you decide to use."
These are the words of Mr. Roberto Pastore, owner of Vetrodomus (Brescia - Italy). His company, founded over 50 years ago, is now one of the leading European companies in the large pane processing sector. With over 70 employees and a production area of 13,000 m², the company is specialised in the production of glazing for facade applications and shipbuildings. Vetrodomus was among one ot the first companies to believe in Forel's “No Limits” IGU line project, which led to the development of insulating glass lines capable of processing extra-jumbo sized glass sheets.
"We needed to increase our productivity," says Pastore, "by adding a new insulating glass line to the two existing lines. Our top priority was for high performance (the ability to handle heavy weights and support significant thicknesses and offsets) to correspond to a good level of labor productivity. We were familiar with Forel because we had already purchased a vertical edge processing line (grinding, milling and drilling, washing machine) and part of an insulating glass line, so we decided to work with them to explore a system that could go beyond the standard formats. Having made the decision to invest, we opted to do so by opening ourselves up to new possibilities. This led us to the “No Limits” line. We considered this choice carefully and in the end it proved to be a winner. The line entered into production two years ago and has been advancing quickly. It has superior performance characteristics and has given us access to substantial orders.”
Mr. Maurizio Capello, Production Manager at Vetrodomus, played an important role in selecting and assessing the line: "We are very scrupulous in the evaluation of the machines that are proposed to us," explains Mr. Capello. "We were looking for a flexible solution that could assemble units for the international facade market. Our customers, mainly Groups that operate internationally, are very demanding in terms of accuracy and quality of the finished product. As for Forel, we have always appreciated the robustness stemming from the monoblock structure that distinguishes their products. And the fact that they are made in Italy is synonymous with quality. Having made these preliminary considerations, we then compared the performance and functionality of the “No Limits“ line with the other lines on the market. We conducted a detailed analysis, which demonstrated that the Forel brand had made significant progress from a technological point of view. We decided to put our trust in the No Limits line and we made the right choice."
We end our meeting with Vetrodomus with a final question for Mr. Roberto Pastore: In a competitive and increasingly technologically advanced context like the current glass market, what strategies must a company implement to excel?
“In order to become suppliers of certain customers, you need to invest on different levels and work towards continuous improvement. To be a true leader requires efficient and effective management of the company's business processes and ongoing cultivation of staff know-how through suitable training. Vetrodomus, in addition to the certification of its Quality Management System, has always worked in this direction by implementing its own quality controls on products and processes. Likewise, the company is diligent in adhering to customer protocols, which are increasingly specific and demanding. Obviously, all this is complemented by the machinery. By investing on both fronts, Vetrodomus has increased its productivity and raised the bar on its objectives, enabling the company to approach a very high-level clientele now."
Forel will attend to Mir Stekla 2019 (Moscow), the main exhibition dedicated to glass products, equipment and technologies for glass making and processing in Russia.
Russia is a strategic market for Forel: through Forel Russia, the company have just accomplished many important projects for leader companies in glass processing.
Forel booth at Mir Stekla will be at Pav. F, Hall C, Stand 082. Forel staff will present the latest developments related to the automatic insulating glass machinery, with specific reference to the recent projects for JUMBO and "NO LIMITS" special lines, as well as describe in detail the technologies characterizing the vertical machines for glass seaming, grinding, polishing, drilling and milling. Furthermore, Forel staff will be available to illustrate all the process features of the vertical cutting line for laminated glass, the lamination line and the automatic systems for storing, handling, sorting and monitoring the glass sheets.
The glass balustrades of the Tour Odeon Skyscraper of the Principality of Monaco, the interior of the Doha Airport in Qatar, the new BBC Headquarter, the facades of the Manchester University in the U.K., the glasses for the Winter Garden in the “Shard” tower of London and for the cruise ships of Costa Crociere, Princess, Carnival Cruise Lines…
These are just a few projects accomplished by Formator, glass factory from Rijeka (Croatia). The company employs approx. 70 people and it is focused on special glass installations (laminated, tempered, curved, serigraphy, etc.) to be used in innovative buildings, following very straight quality requirements.
“Our company was established 15 years ago” explains the owner Mr. Robert Miklus “From the very beginning we started competing in the international market, offering superior quality and precision. Our glasses are now in some of the most innovative and luxurious architectures in the world: buildings where the tolerance limits for the glasses are near zero”
For the edging, drilling and milling of the glasses, Formator uses a vertical processing line by Forel. The line is composed by the edging machine Art. EM (for seaming, grinding and polishing), the drilling and milling machine Art. DM and the washing machine Art. VW.
Why did you choose the Forel line, made up of three different machines, instead of a single machine which collects together the different processes?
“Because we needed the highest possible precision and we found it just in this line. We are experiencing a trend of continuous research of innovation and originality in the architecture: actually, there is an impressive creative impulse from designers and architects. When we receive an order for an innovative project, it is never a “standard” order, with the same “recipe” for 100, 1.000 or more glass sheets. Architects order glasses to compose their creations and every sheet could have different size: the final effect requires the maximum precision. Think about serigraphy: sometimes we received orders for huge quantities of different laminated glass panes with serigraphy on both sheets. All the glasses will be placed to create a graphic design; therefore, all the panes have to be extremely precise.
Another common case is the “glass fins” orders. These orders are for laminated glass panes of 2-3 sheets that are very long and tight (up to 4 m x 400 mm), with up to 20 holes per sheet. That means possibly up to 60 holes. If after the lamination process just one hole is not placed in the correct position, the pane has to be discarded. Minimum errors cause not only time and material waste but also a critical delay for the customers”.
How does the Forel Edge Processing line meet your needs?
“Both the edging, with its patented glass sheet holder feature, and the drilling machine, with its system of fixed and adjustable suction cups, offer an outstanding stability during the processing. The machines are be very flexible and work at high productivity always guaranteeing quality and repeatability. And that is exactly what we need.
At first, we were looking just for a drilling machine: we discarded the horizontal solutions, because of the difficulties in the glass positioning and the impossibility to put the drilling machine in line with the traditional edging machinery. So, we started considering brands which offer vertical all-in-one solutions, but we were not convinced about performance and quality. Then, we heard that Forel was designing a new vertical line for edging, drilling and milling and we decided to wait. That was a wise decision: in the last two years, the line has been working without interruption 24/7. The productivity about shaped and special glasses is quadrupled, giving full satisfaction to us first and foremost, but above all to our customers”.
Your core business is “special projects”. That means that you are not processing “common” or low quantity orders?
“Not at all. Indeed, with this line we can be more flexible and manage every kind of request. In the past, when we were working on a big project, it was difficult to put into production new orders in our schedule. Now, instead, the higher performance of our machinery makes everything easier”.
And what about the future?
“We are now in a very positive trend: our adaptability and high-quality standards have been recognized. During 2019 we will enlarge our Rijeka plant with additional 3.000 square meters. We have already ordered a new edging machine and a new washing machine. These new machines will work in line processing those sheets that only need to be polished. Obviously, they will be from FOREL”.
Forel, italian brand of machinery for glass processing, will attend at Windoor Tech-Budma 2019 in Poznam (Poland) from 12th to 15th of February.
The company, at the Punto Italia in Hall 8 (stand 38), will meet glassworkers and visitors to present its best solutions. These include the EM-DM edging/drilling/milling line; the VC02 vertical line for cutting of laminated glass (up to Jumbo size); and the exclusive SS Sorting System, for a safe and efficient automated glass handling. The Forel range of products offers also a wide catalogue of products for the insulating glass sector, from standard to extra-Jumbo sizes.
"Poland is a strategic market, where we've developed many important projects" explains Carlo Zuccarello, area manager "For this reason, we decide to attend at Windoor Tech-Budma, as a main event for the construction business in Poland".
The new video of the Forel Coupling Press with Gas Filling - "No Limits" version - is online. For successfully process extra Jumbo size, the Coupling Press has been upgraded with many new features to ensure high processing quality.
For a uniform a filling, the machine has been equipped with an exclusive retractable suction cups system, also on the rear surface, to straighten any possible curvatures of big size laminated and/or tempered glasses.
The coupling press can process insulating glass units of up to 3 chambers, and it is also equipped with a double circuit for the gas emission: it can therefore use two different products for filling the chambers (argon/krypton). The gas filling system is self-adjusting and can regulate the emission along the glass length, optimizing wastes.
The Art. APG - NL is also capable of pressing stepped units with up to 1000 mm of horizontal offset and 250 mm of vertical offset, thanks to the continuous bottom support assured by the independent conveyor belts with load capacity of up to 350 kg by linear meter.
The "No Limits" IG Lines range by Forel is the new solution developed for processing insulated panes up to 15 meters of length, following the usual standards of precision and reliability of Forel machinery.
Look at the Art. APG- NL into operation:
3.000 square meters: this is the sizes of the new plant opened by Forel in Italy. It is the third one, established to answer to the growing number of orders coming from all over the world.
For Forel, brand of machinery for processing flat and insulated glass, is an important goal, consequence of the good answer coming from the market.
In addition to the three productive plants in Italy, the company owns commercial branches in Usa and in Russia, and has a salesforce of 25 partner agencies all over the world.
The new plant is located in Venice area and has been inaugurated at the end of 2018. It will be dedicated to the production of machinery for edge processing (edger machines, drilling and milling machines and washing machines) and of sorting systems (integrated solutions for automatically handling and moving the glass sheets inside the production area).
At the same time, the Forel Headquarters in Treviso is being enlarged for other 10.000 square meters, to obtain a bigger production area. The site will be focused on the production of machinery for insulating glass, laminating and vertical cutting.
“The opening of our third plant and the enlargement of the headquarter are consequences of a positive trend” explains Fortunato Vianello, Founder and CEO of Forel “The market appreciates our products and orders are worldwide growing. Also in a moment when many companies move abroad their production, our choice is to continue offering our customer a technology invented, developed and manufactured in Italy”.
The next week Forel will attend at VETECO 2018 exhibition in Madrid, Spain.
A benchmark European event for the Window, Façade & Sun Protection Systems sector, VETECO will boast a new area with its own identity, VETECO GLASS, an exhibition area destined for the entire glass industry and value chain.
Forel will displayes the Edging Machine Art. EM, one of its most appreciate solutions: the Art. Em can polishing, grinding and arrissing the glass edge, with precision and reliability (watch the video below).
Come visit us at Pabellon 10, booth A24.