Crystal PA adds new comprehensive state-of-the-art glass line
BENTON TWP., PA — Continuing the expansion of capabilities at its Northeast Pennsylvania production center, national manufacturer Crystal Window & Door Systems recently added a new state-of-the-art insulated glass unit (IGU) fabrication line at its Benton Twp. factory. The new equipment has the ability for automated assembly of triple pane insulated glass units (IGUs). With an investment of several million dollars, the new equipment has greatly increased capabilities and overall window production capacity for the manufacturer. "We specified and purchased top of the line equipment from leading US manufacturers, including GED Integrated Solutions and Billco Manufacturing, to create our new automated insulated glass unit line," said Steve Chen, COO for Crystal. "This allows our Pennsylvania factory to complete many more window orders much more quickly and automates the production of energy efficient triple IGUs. Now Crystal can rapidly produce triple panes, as well as double panes, with improved uniform quality." The new glass line includes several cutting, washing, spacer, IGU, gas filling, and grid fabrication components, which were integrated into one seamless operation. Three of the central components of the new IGU line were provided by GED Integrated Solutions of Twinsburg, OH. The GED Automated Tri-Lite Assembly System (ATLAS) allows triple-pane and dual-pane IGUs to be fabricated quickly and efficiently without any operator handling of center glass panels. Using automated “touch-free” Bernoulli vacuum lift technology to suspend the middle lite, the ATLAS equipment ensures contamination-free placement and alignment of triple IGUs. The ATLAS system delivers newly assembled IGUs to a GED Smart oven. The GED Intercept i-3 spacer frame equipment accommodates steel coil of different alloys including stainless steel and tin plate, and in varying widths. Through precise control and rapidly selecting from the preloaded 10-spool rack, the GED system can produce variable thickness spacers, automatically. Billco Manufacturing of Zelienople, PA supplied its Z-Series automated glass cleaning system which accommodates glass thickness up to 19 mm and panel widths up to 96”. The Z-Series is engineered for easy maintenance and cleaning, greatly reducing operating expenses and downtime. Integrated Automation Systems-OptiGas of Bedford Heights, OH, supplied its Automatic Free Fall Glass Loader, which directly integrates with the new glass cutting system and can drop glass from two sides in sizes up to 96” x 130”. The glass loader is synchronized with the new Billco CNC 2200 system featuring the Z-95 cutting head with edge deletion. The equipment utilizes glass optimization software, precise CNC controls, and a rapid servo-controlled cutting wheel to cut glass accurately and reliably. Rounding out Crystal’s comprehensive new glass line are two more major pieces of equipment. The FastGas argon filling and monitoring system, also from Integrated Automation Systems, can fill and verify standard IGUs in as fast as 10 seconds with one operator. Using “Twin-Turbo” precise and reliable technology and automatic calibration, the system dramatically improves argon filling efficiency and quality. Its OptiClose Plug easily and quickly creates a solid mechanical seal, for the argon fill port, a vast improvement over screw inserts. Last, but not least, a “between-the-glass” grid fabrication line by Dailey Automation Systems automatically optimizes, cuts, and notches flat and contour grids by batch without operators. Installation of all the glass line components was accomplished using equipment supplier and in-house technicians. Crystal Pennsylvania has hired nine additional employees for the new glass line and related operations. Crystal is planning additional equipment acquisition for the PA factory for 2018, including vinyl window assembly machinery enabling most of Crystal's vinyl windows and doors to be made in PA as well as New York.