I saw this over at world mail
A company called FeneTech Inc. now sells an automated tempering furnace roller cleaning machine to the US market, called Clean Roller Robot.
They get tell it like it is when explaining why roller cleaning is so important.
First paragraph here says, "Clean rollers are critical to making high quality tempered glass and avoiding liability and customer dissatisfaction issues. Dirty rollers carry debris that gets fused under high temperature into your glass. These fabrication defects often go undetected until a cleaning crew or homeowner uses a scraper to clean the surface." http://www.fenetech.com/us/<wbr>glass/crr.aspx
what i wonder is, if these temperers are so incompetent that they 1)don’t acknowledge that the problem is real 2) pass the buck whenever they can and 3)refuse to address the problems even though they know how to fix it
…then what makes us believe they’ll spend money on a fancy maintenance robot?
They have not been getting away “Scott-Free” so to speak and this should not fall on the fabricators IMHO as the customer is only willing to pay a certain price and that price means the glass will be dirty. I spent 2 years working for one of the largest commercial fabricators in the world and the plants are FILTHY, when they cleaned my office which sat 20’ from a tempering line there was 6" of solid dust on top of it. Now would that company love to sell 99.99% clean glass? Heck ya they would, but the customer simply will not pay for that level of quality so they can’t provide it. I would say they are providing 99.9% clean glass presently, and to eat away at that remaining .1% would cost them say 10% more per .1% for the first .5% and 50% more for 99.96-99.99% for each .01% and they will NEVER get to 100% defect free.
I can equate this to window cleaning. If a customer demands 100% perfection how much would you charge? I mean ZERO excess moisture, dirt on sills, absolutely ZERO defects on the glass…this is what we is being asked of the glass fabricators by window cleaners, so would you do the same for the same price you are presently charging? I know I would charge 10X what I am presently am.
Until glass fabricators can increase the $/SF of glass they sell they won’t change and I can’t blame them…most as of 16 months ago when I left the industry were losing money by the millions and I would say every quarter 1-2 major players were closing up shop all together.
Just my 2 cents…I think what most of you expect from the glass industry is not realistic and knowing your customers have faulty glass in their buildings means you should educate them and have them accept the risks for having them cleaned because at the end of the day them being undereducated and cheap is the true reason there is an issue.
refreshing to hear a recent insider’s viewpoint from the manufacturing angle
I left a post on WC net that there must be an outcry from either builders or insurance companies somewhere for a company to manufacture this. It is a $ issue that gets things moving and this robot will save $ somewhere
maybe its just faster and save employee hours/wages from having to do it
or saves down time of some sort
there’s a $ saving angle I’m sure that product mfr is promoting
if you have experience in the fabricating industry, i’m not going to try to argue with you.
all i know is, tempered glass hasn’t always been like it is now. i’ve been cleaning glass for almost 20 years. i’m 36 now, so you do the math. i know for a fact that when i first started, we could scrape everything with no worry. and then, all of a sudden, we couldn’t. the glass would scratch. i started noticing it during the early 2000’s and it’s been an epidemic ever since.
dan fields, who’s been the leading voice for window cleaners on this issue, gives the only explanation that makes sense to me. he contends that FD didn’t become an issue until the building boom of the late 90’s/early 2000’s (coincidentally a lot of us started to notice this scratching issue around that same time…). When the track home biz when nuts, the demand for tempered glass went through the roof. fabricators stopped maintaining their equipment because they didn’t have time to shut their lines down.
when demand lessened, they never went back to maintaining the equipment the way it’s supposed to be.
and another thing- if fabricators are already producing 99.9% perfect glass every time, then why are some tempered glass windows fine to scrape (both sides) and some aren’t? this fact tells me that they are capable of producing a higher quality glass, they just don’t make it a priority to do it consistently.
what we expect from the industry is not some new crazy standard of perfection. it’s just a return the standards that used to exist before fabricators realized they could cut this corner and never be held accountable.
You will have some perfect glass due to the fact that the debris is not a fixed input into the process. There are to many variables to what would cause debris to get into the furnace. You also make the assumption that the price being paid per SF for glass today is the same as it was pre-boom which it is not…you have to remember there has been one MAJOR change to the industry since 2000, China. So much has changed in the world in the past 20 years, I mean who would have thought someone would build a window system by fabricating the glass in either Minnesota or Georgia…ship it to China to be glazed…and than ship it to NYC to be installed into the Freedom tower? Why is this happening? Because buildings need to be built cheaper which means those providing the window systems to those buildings must do it cheaper too.
This is no different than say the home building industry which I spent 15 years a part of…it used to be folks would pay for plywood sheathing, masonry exterior, wood windows, concrete driveways, solid wood flooring, etc…Now they are only willing to pay for a house made out of plastic and cheap composite materials that instead of lasting 100’s of years might last 30-50 years before they need to be gutted.
This world is and always has a “you get what you pay for” world and that has not changed. Customers want it cheap and quickly and that in means lower quality 99.9% of the time.
ok, that’s some good input and a valid way to look at it. it still doesn’t explain the rapid rise in FD from virtually nil to virtually universal over the span of a couple of years.
and for the record, i agree with you that window cleaner’s expectations are unrealistic. but i feel that way for a different reason than you.
to me it’s a losing battle to create change because our industry has no leverage. the iwca and wcn guys can posture all they want, but it all amounts to so much noise in the ears of fabricators. and we never will have leverage. so it just makes more sense to adjust to the “new normal” rather than whine about the good old days and the injustice of it all.
I am guessing it started due to not enough hours in the day due to high demands, and now I would guess it continues since the price being paid for tempered glass has been reduced so they can’t justify the cost. I work in a semi-clean room environment now and can tell you to get a glass fabricator to that same standard to produce the glass almost defect free would add 25-50% to the cost of the glass per SF and no one wants to pay it. I have a hard time believing they were making defect free glass prior to the boom, I am sure the increased amount of defects has simply increased awareness. I know I have personal cleaned plenty of tempered windows built pre-2000 that have a ton of scratching on them from window cleaners in the past so it obviously was an issue 20 years ago too.
I guess for myself I am scared every time I put a razor to glass since I have seen the negative and maybe use a blade on 1% of the windows I clean…but yet I have watch guys that have done this entire career still whip out that 6" blade like they don’t have a care in the world and go to town…maybe they don’t care, or maybe they just don’t get it?
And Rivercity, just because you see pre-2000 windows with scratches doesn’t mean that there was the same problem back then.
A lot can happen in 15 years.
But ‘pound for pound’/apples to apples, there wasn’t anything resembling what Caleb called "the new normal."
If you told me at 25 that I could scratch an untouched, ‘fresh out of the box’ window I would have thought you were nuts.
Incidentally, when I read this thread yesterday, I thought 'well maybe they could use this as a competitive advantage.'
But it’s easier just to tell customers to use plastic blades, and other BS to pass the buck.
“Plastic scrapers” -good grief! :rolleyes:
There were cleaners that scratched windows 20 years ago, but that was generally caused by poor tools and techniques. Fabrication debris is a different issue. I performed CCU for 12 years before I first ran into fabrication debris. In the last 2 years I have done construction cleaning in 15-20 high end homes, and every single home has had at least some fabrication debris. Granted, there are some effective alternative methods, but they are not always viable. For example, we did CCU last year for a builder we have worked with over 3 years. The windows not only had stickers and silicone, but they had a great deal of stain. I don’t know an effective way to remove polyurethane stain without a razor. I explained the issue verbally and sent over our contractor packet that includes a cover letter, 2 articles, and a waiver. In addition, there were scratches that predated our work. Nonetheless, because some of the windows scratched during the removal of the stain, the builder refused payment and we are out $2,000 in addition to ruining a working relationship.
I agree that it is good to look for alternatives to razors, and we have done that. However, glass is not the same as it was 20 years ago and this is a defect. What happens when the homeowner paints a room and then uses a razor to remove paint? That has been the standard method to remove paint for years. If this is the new norm, fabrication debris should be acknowledged from the top, by the manufacturers. Builders and homeowners should be educated. Perhaps some would choose to pay more for glass without this issue. Either way, at least we would all be on the same page.
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There are lots of tempering fabricators working hard to keep rollers clean, without ever having owned one of these robots.
The robot is not really the point here.
What’s remarkable is how a glass industry supplier spoke frankly about the problem.
I am on the page that says education should be factual - and should never fool anyone into thinking there is a scraping problem with any uncoated window surfaces other than the roller side of poor quality heat treated glass.
That’s regardless of who is educating whom - window cleaners, builders, window makers, fabricators, property managers, homeowners.
I’m not on the page with all the excuses - like the one about cost.
Quality fabricators already compete on price with poor quality fabricators.
Nobody is offering a filthy factory discount, and nobody is charging customers extra for keeping their factory clean.
Educated customers might have to shop a little harder, but if they want tempered glass that’s not loaded with defects on one side, they won’t have to pay extra for that.
I believe this unfortunately falls on the shoulders of the window cleaner. Those building the buildings still get forced to go with the lowest cost product to get the bid because the customer only wants the cheapest option. The customer will pay for products that will increase the efficiency of their building, but could probably care less if Bob in office 12c has a scratched window. Face it scratched glass is only a big thing to window cleaners because they have to defend against it and the customer has the expectation they are doing what they need to do not to scratch the surface. I don’t see anything changing drastically in the fab industry that would go back to zero defects so I see the only option is for window cleaners to understand their product and avoid causing the scratches and educating their customer base so the expectation is set and when a scratch happens the customer is comfortable with the fact that they were told it could happen and it did and you set that expectation up front.