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Latest news from Edgetech UK.

Company Updates

Promotions and appointments see warm edge pioneers gear up for growth

PR062 - New Staff PromotionNew staff and internal promotions are seeing warm edge spacer experts Edgetech gear up for the next phase in their ongoing growth.

Joining the internationally renowned firm’s senior team is Commercial Manager Brian Stewart, an experienced sourcing and procurement specialist.

Past roles have seen him deliver savings of more than £3m by effectively managing organisations’ direct and indirect costs including supply chain, contract negotiations and more.

At Edgetech, he’ll be charged with overseeing all client-focused aspects of the business, including logistics and customer service.

“I’m delighted to be joining such an innovative and quality-focused business,” Brian commented. “Edgetech is an extremely lean and efficient organisation, giving us an excellent foundation to build on in the months and years ahead – but I’m confident that we can continue to control costs, priorities innovation, and offer our customers the very best quality products and service.”

Recent months have also seen two key promotions within the business. Long-serving staff member Ami Chana has been promoted to Warehouse Supervisor.

Ami was among the first employees hired to work on Edgetech’s manufacturing line back when the company first began making Super Spacer in the UK in 2007. Having experienced roles throughout the business, Ami has now been tasked with overseeing the company’s newly-opened warehouse facility.

Jason Blundred has been promoted to Operations Manager. Starting his Edgetech career as Maintenance Manager, Jason played an integral role in helping Edgetech establish the first UK warm edge spacer manufacturing facility back in 2007.

In his new role, he’ll continue to be responsible for the maintenance department, but will also begin overseeing the firm’s manufacturing capacity more generally.

Edgetech Managing Director Chris Alderson commented: “It’s a hugely exciting time for us here at Edgetech. We’ve invested extensively in new staff and facilities, as we strive to make buying from Edgetech an even better, easier experience. With such high-quality people on the team, we’re confident we can make our second-decade manufacturing in the UK even more successful than the first.”

Warm praise for warm edge experts Edgetech with Net Promoter Score

Chris Alderson, Edgetech UK Managing DirectorA recent customer survey revealed an impressive Net Promoter Score and saw glowing praise for market-leading spacer bar manufacturers Edgetech.

The Coventry business routinely approaches a random selection of clients taken from all spending brackets and to ask them a series of questions about their experiences dealing with Edgetech.

The company analyses the responses using a measurement system called Net Promoter Score, a management tool used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. By taking the percentage of customers that rated the business 9 or 10 out of 10, and subtracting the percentage of customers that rated it 6 out of 10 or under, Edgetech was able to arrive at its total Net Promoter Score. NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter) with an NPS of +50 regarded as an excellent result.

Throughout the year, Edgetech’s Net Promoter Score didn’t once drop below +50 and peaked at +88, an achievement the team is keen to maintain and build on.

As well as measuring customers’ overall satisfaction with Edgetech, the survey also captures more detailed information about their relationship with the company.

In the most recent survey, 91% of respondents said Super Spacer accounted for between 76-100% of the warm edge units they produce. 97% said Edgetech engineers respond quickly to any technical queries that arise and all customers agreed that Edgetech’s territory sales managers are making a positive contribution to their business.

“We’re delighted by the results of the customer survey,” comments Managing Director Chris Alderson. “Our excellent Net Promoter Score is particularly encouraging – the average company scores just +10, while the highest-performing businesses usually register between +50 and +80. Our scores give us a fantastic base to build on as we strive to become even more customer-focused in the months and years ahead.”

Edgetech parent company Quanex names new Chief Operating Officer

PR409 - George Wilson, Quanex Chief Operating OfficerQuanex, multinational building products supplier and parent company of warm edge experts Edgetech, has promoted an experienced member of its senior team.

George Wilson has been named Quanex Chief Operating Officer, a new post designed to oversee the company’s US and international operations.

Prior to his promotion, George was President of the firm’s Insulating Glass Systems division – and it was in this capacity that he visited the UK back in July to help Edgetech celebrate ten years of manufacturing in Britain.

For 18 years before joining Quanex, George held operational and financial positions of increasing responsibility at Lauren International and Federal-Mogul. George holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Akron.

Bill Griffiths, Quanex Chief Executive Officer commented: “George’s promotion to Chief Operating Officer is a natural organisational move that compliments his strong operations background and will enable the company to move to the next level in the journey towards operational excellence.

“George will assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of our businesses worldwide, which will allow me to focus more on broader strategic initiatives in an effort to further enhance and create shareholder value.”

Edgetech Managing Director Chris Alderson commented: “We’re delighted to hear of George’s promotion – it’s a fantastic move for Edgetech and for the Quanex Group more broadly, showing just how much progress the business is making internationally.

“Everyone at Edgetech wishes George all the best in his new role, and we look forward to continuing to work with him in his new capacity. We also look forward to working closer with Bob Daniels, previously President of the Homeshield division, who now takes up the position of President for Insulating Glass Systems.”

Edgetech gives a warm reception to returning R&D expert

PR278 - Gary Shoesmith, Edgetech Technical Development ManagerWarm edge pioneers Edgetech are welcoming the return of a key former member of senior staff after a three-year hiatus.

Gary Shoesmith served as Edgetech UK’s Director of Operations and Quality between 2008 and 2014, and now re-joins the organisation as Technical Development Manager.

Gary’s appointment significantly bolsters Edgetech’s local R&D capabilities. Working with Ohio-based R&D colleagues from US parent company Quanex Building Products, and reporting directly to Edgetech UK Managing Director Chris Alderson, Gary will be charged with spearheading a number of key projects aimed at further developing Edgetech’s already industry-leading product range.

Gary commented: “It’s been a great experience returning to Edgetech UK – the wonderful welcome I’ve received has made me feel right at home again, and the company’s commitment to continual investment in safety, quality, training and an expanded infrastructure was immediately clear upon my return.

“In a market that’s growing ever more competitive, differentiating yourself through innovation and an extensive range of unique, high-quality products is essential. It’s that innovation process that I’m here to resource and drive – and I’m confident that given our decades of expertise and well proven technology, we’ll be able to stay ahead of the field, to deliver even more value and choice to our customers.”

Chris Alderson, Edgetech UK Managing Director comments: “It really is excellent news that we now have Gary back with us. Our goal for the next ten years is to cement our position as the UK’s spacer supplier of choice, known for our commitment to continuous improvement and product innovation – and this appointment is an important part of facilitating that. Gary has been instrumental previously in bringing new products to market with Edgetech and we’re already benefitting from his knowledge. After a decade manufacturing in Coventry we’re on the cusp of another period of growth and advancement – making it a hugely exciting time for Edgetech and our customers.”

Founded in 1989, and today forming part of global building products group Quanex, Edgetech revolutionised the industry with the introduction of the game-changing Super Spacer flexible warm edge spacer bar. Currently celebrating a decade of manufacturing at its Coventry headquarters, Edgetech offers a comprehensive range of components for warm edge windows.

Edgetech Expertise: Technical Services Manager Karl Jones

Karl Jones talks about winning the warm edge technology raceAs Technical Services Manager Karl Jones supports customers with help and advice on all aspects of IGU manufacturing.

When I started at Edgetech 13 years ago, things were very different. The new Approved Document L had come into force the year before and Pilkington K glass was leading the way in glass unit energy performance.

It was an exciting time for the glazing industry. The replacement window market was getting back on its feet and Dr Robin Kent’s vision of a national window energy rating scheme was starting to take shape.

The glass unit was now crucial in achieving Part L Building Regulations and cost was a big factor. The revolutionary Super Spacer® offered insulated glass unit manufacturers a way to improve energy performance and productivity. The early adopters of warm edge technology helped window system companies meet the U-value requirements without adding extra cost.

The differences in U-values between insulating Super Spacer and traditional metal rigid spacer bars were huge. Super Spacer flexible warm edge spacer created a whole new market sector for the industry.

Edgetech warm edge technology is still making cost savings for IGU manufacturers today — with Super Spacer making A+ and A++ windows achievable and cost effective for fabricators and installers.


Super Spacer®, Window Energy Ratings & IGU Manufacturers

Super Spacer offered a real breakthrough in productivity gain for IGU manufacturers because even a starter set-up with air float table application improved the cost per unit. Nowadays, an automated IGU line with a high speed Super Spacer applicator robot can produce a double glazed warm edge unit every 15-20 seconds, and a triple glazed in a little over thirty seconds.


Manual Super Spacer Operation

When I started work in the technical division at Edgetech back in 2003, the only piece of equipment we offered was a small manual operation rotary table. It was 500 mm square. And it worked in partnership with Edgetech’s SuperShuttle; a pneumatically powered tool developed for Super Spacer application. It took about a minute to manufacture an IGU. This early manual set-up was perfect for the average Super Spacer user at that time who was manufacturing up to 500 warm edge units per week.

At first it was mostly door companies using Super Spacer, as they immediately recognised the benefit of a flexible spacer for curved, round or oval glass shapes in door designs. And flexibility remains a core benefit for Super Spacer today as it handles the most creative and radical glass structures with ease, allowing architects to push the boundaries of design.

Back in 2003, though, the majority of rectangle glass units for windows were being made with the industry standard aluminium spacer bar. These took between one and five minutes to manufacture depending on the level of machinery used.

But then we saw a shift in the industry.


Technical support for warm edge technology IGUsAutomation

The introduction of Window Energy Ratings in 2004 by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC), combined with rising energy costs, saw window thermal efficiency take its place in the spotlight and the race to achieve the highest performance started.

Edgetech had been working closely with machinery companies, who also saw the potential of a continuous warm edge technology flexible spacer, to automate IGU manufacture. First came semi-automation, still popular with customers today, which features a clever air float table within a vertical machine.

Semi-automation reduced the time it took to manufacture glass units and allowed companies to increase productivity with fewer operatives.  Automated machinery using warm edge Super Spacer meant that manufacturers could offer the higher performing IGUs required for the new thermal performance standards to their customers cost effectively. This drove adoption of Super Spacer throughout the market.

And then we had the jump into full automation – a complete game-changer for IGU manufacturing processes. The first fully automated Super Spacer robot line was in the Edgetech manufacturing plant in the States. The second was at an IGU manufacturer in Northern Ireland in 2005.


How Does Automation Work?

For double glazing the two glass pieces are sequenced and loaded onto one end of the line. After being cleaned and dried, the first glass pane continues down the line ready to be matched up. Super Spacer is applied to the second piece of glass by the applicator robot, referencing the edge of the glass to create an accurately measured gap for the sealant and a consistently level sightline.

The two pieces of glass are then moved along the line into a chamber where the unit is filled with gas and the panes matched together. Finally, a second robot seals the Super Spacer glass unit with hot-melt butyl.

And off the end of the line comes a completed warm edge insulated glass unit.


Benefits of Fully Automated Super Spacer Application

Automation of warm edge technology enables better accuracy and increased productivity without the need for more staff. In Edgetech’s technical division, it’s our job to help customers get the very best from their automated Super Spacer IGU line. Basically, this means working to the tightest tolerances.

We carry out regular, rigorous online quality checks during IGU manufacture. Because we’ve worked closely with our machinery partners over many years to develop the technology of automated lines and Super Spacer to a fine art, the speed, accuracy and reliability of these automated machines is truly astounding.

Standard Super Spacer automated lines can manufacture a sealed unit every 30 seconds. And changing the machines over to a different cavity size of spacer doesn’t delay manufacturing; machine down time can be eliminated using an automatic bobbin changer.

Machines designed for manufacturing triple glazing have two spacer head applicators, for applying two different widths of Super Spacer to a unit. This has been an extra bonus for companies who manufacture lots of double glazed units – it can be set up to start on a new reel when another has finished. And, as previously stated Super Spacer references the glass edge for application, which makes it the best product for consistent sightlines within triple units.

Super Spacer started a revolution and now approximately 80% of units manufactured in the UK feature warm edge technology spacer bars. It’s been a complete transformation for our industry, so what’s next?

There are fewer companies manufacturing glass units now than ten years ago, but those companies are producing massive numbers of sealed units every week, and they want to make more. So how do you squeeze 1,000 extra units out every week, without having to move premises for more space, and without having to set up a night shift?

This is where high speed automation comes in.

Full Line Rendered Image

How Does Super Spacer Help High-Speed Manufacturing Lines?

The next generation of Super Spacer machines have a two-spacer head applicator and high speed feeding applicator, so to manufacture a warm edge sealed unit from start to finish takes just 15-20 seconds and a triple glazed unit in as little as 33 seconds. That means, potentially, over an eight-hour shift, companies can manufacture almost 1,500 sealed units.

As IGU manufacturers continue to grow, we’re working with companies who want to make sure the machinery investment they make now is going to future-proof their businesses. Whether retro-fitting new applicators to existing machines or investing in automated lines for the first time, high speed automation and the capacity it enables is proving a popular choice.

Super Spacer is a flexible warm edge spacer. It allows efficient production with virtually no wastage. During application, it references the edge precisely, so it’s great for square units and for shapes too.  Super Spacer also offers tighter tolerances for consistently accurate high-speed manufacturing.


How Edgetech can Support IGU Manufacturers

With the UK headquarters based in Coventry and a dedicated team on the road, support is only ever a phone call away. If you’re looking for on-site advice, our technical team provide coverage throughout the country so we can easily visit you too.

We have loads of experience manufacturing warm edge technology IGUs and we’re always on hand with help and advice on all aspects of IGU manufacturing.

We’re there during machine installation and can provide training on using the entire line. We also carry out comprehensive quality audits and help to pre-empt issues, so productivity remains at its optimum level. We have the expertise to help customers get the best performance from their Super Spacer IGU line.

With this level of support and back-up, we find that the most forward thinking glass unit manufacturers are putting their trust in Edgetech and investing in Super Spacer automation to future proof and grow their business.

For more information on using high speed automation to manufacture insulated glass units using Super Spacer, call 02476 639931.

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