Glass Fabricators Speak to Sold out Event in Pittsburgh

Despite stormy weather in the Northeast, members of the glass industry found good reason to travel into Pittsburgh today for the start of Glass Fabrication 2007. The Glass Association of North America (GANA) sponsors the insulating, laminating and tempering educational seminars, which sold out this year.

Glass Fabrication is geared toward individuals who are first entering the industry. This morning's session offered some basic information to provide a level playing field for attendees who have been in the industry five years or less and those few individuals in attendance who have been part of this industry for more than 30, and even 40, years.

Scott Hoover of Pilkington first offered an overview of the history of glass. Chuck Beatty of Edgeworks Inc. spoke next on the principles and fundamentals of glass cutting. He discussed carefully scoring glass with cutting wheels.

"What I'm suggesting is that glass has a skin," Beatty said, "and that layer of skin is protecting a layer of tension within the glass." He added, "It's the release of tension that breaks the glass."

Beatty explained that it is necessary to choose the right tool for the job and to know how much pressure to apply with the tool--as well as the correct angle to use--to create only the desired fissure and not subsurface breaks that can weaken the glass. He also encouraged his audience to frequently change their cutting wheels.

Bob Lang with Billco Manufacturing Inc. also spoke about the importance of maintaining tools. Specifically he stressed the importance of proper maintenance for glass washing machines, as well as the importance of using quality water for the rinse. As Lang noted, "The thing to remember, if the inside of the glass washer is dirty, it can't produce clean glass."

In addition to using quality water, Lang noted that more companies are looking to use less water. "In more and more areas of North America, companies are being asked to conserve water," he said.

He suggested re-circulating rinse systems or a closed loop water filtering system to help use less water.

Tom Parseghian of Power Brushes Inc. also looked at cleaning the cleaning equipment. He focused more specifically on maintaining brushes. "It's tough to clean a brush," he said.

He warned people away from using power washers because it can permanently bend and damage the brushes. He also warned that if storing brushes, they should be stored so that the bristles are not fully supporting the brush and so the bristles don't touch. "All brush material has a memory, like carpet," he said.

If stored poorly, he suggested giving it some time and adding moisture so that it returns to its original state.

Glass Fabrication continues through tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport.