VDMA Forum Glastechnik

VDMA Glass Technology: Ahead of the Competition with BlueCompetence

Thanks to Bystronic glass’s new heating technology up to 50% of energy costs can be saved in the production of laminated toughened glass. Photo: Bystronic glass

Frankfurt/Main, 10 July 2012 – "Sustainability" is not just a buzzword for German glass machinery and plant manufacturers but an active part of their philosophy. This is reflected in the strong response to the BlueCompetence trademark created by the German Engineering Federation. Even today over a dozen producers have signalled their interest. Roughly half of them have already qualified.

"This gives us and our customers a competitive edge," says Dominik Hinzen, Marketing Manager of the Bohle Group, referring to the BlueCompetence initiative created by the German Machinery and Plant Manufacturers’ Association (VDMA). Companies bearing this label are characterised by sustainability playing a major role in all their business units and activities. The Bohle Group, one of the leading producers and wholesalers of machinery, tools and consumables for glass processing and finishing, has qualified for this award. Marketing Manager Hinzen regards BlueCompetence as a "meaningful initiative". To him sustainability and, hence, environmental protection are "good sales arguments". And this, he feels, holds true not only for Germany and Europe but also increasingly for other parts of the world.

95% less Power Consumption
As a case report required for this qualification Bohle had submitted its sedimentors for purifying cooling water. Unlike the otherwise frequently used knife-discharge centrifuges these not only save up to 95% of electricity costs and 85% of waste water treatment costs – they also reduce coolant requirements and therefore especially valuable fresh water by up to 90%. Whereas systems that operate without that system have to be emptied, then cleaned and finally filled with fresh water again generally on a weekly basis, the sedimentors used by Bohle only require shut off and cleaning four times a year on average. As for the rest of the time, the system is operated with a continuous process, according to Hinzen. The waste water is fed into a cylinder-shaped container that is tapered towards the bottom. As required, the waste water is mixed with a special flocculating agent that binds glass particles and subsequently sinks to the sedimentation area at the bottom of the container. If this is full the slurry is automatically drained through a valve. The purified system water is subsequently returned into the cycle. The throughput amounts to between 50 and 280 litres per minute depending on the system.

New Heating Technology saves Energy
For Peter Nischwitz, in charge of Advertising and Communications at Bystronic glass, BlueCompetence is another "piece in the puzzle for a positive brand image". Buyers are shown that the company also makes a positive contribution to environmental protection with its products. At Bystronic glass sustainability has played an ever more important role for years now, he continues. As a case report the company that produces glass processing machines and plants submitted the eco`lamiline, which is developed and produced in house. It allows virtually all types of laminated toughened glass (LTG) to be manufactured in a fast and energy-saving way. The backbone of the line is the eco`convect pre-processing module and here, in particular, the heating technology used to heat the glass and film package. These Infrared heaters are split in the middle permitting each of the two parts to be switched on/off separately. If only one part of the heater is required because of a lower sheet width the other can be switched off completely. Compared to conventional technologies where this is not possible a full 50% of energy costs are saved. Furthermore, the glass handler used to transport the sheets to the clean room is engineered with servo technology rather than the usual large air cylinders. Compressed air consumption is said to be reduced by up to 30%.

Service Life of up to 15 Years
The example presented by Grenzebach for its qualification is also about reduced consumption – but in this case of electricity. This glass machinery manufacturer equips its machines and plants not only with energy-saving frequency inverters as a standard feature but lately also with SINAMICS – Active Line Modules (ALM) by Siemens. These transport the hitherto unused energy generated by braking electrical motors to an intermediate circuit where it is “buffered” and available for all machines within the assembly. If the intermediate circuit has more energy than is needed it can be easily fed into the plant grid. Grenzebach will in future equip all drives not suitable for refitting with AL modules with special capacitor modules that also make sure that braking energy is stored and can be used again later. "Our manufacturing lines," says a company spokeswoman "have a service life of up to 15 years" and adds that this is part and parcel of the sustainability strategy that Grenzebach pursues not only for itself but also, especially, for its customers.

For more information about BlueCompetence, please visit