As the world’s economies emerge from Covid and demand for energy is surging, electricity prices have shot up, putting pressure on manufacturers everywhere. For the glass industry, this means that how you run your furnaces can have a serious impact on your profitability.
Some glass manufacturers are responding by introducing night shifts, so they can switch to running furnaces on lower-priced electricity. But this is an extreme option that disrupts operations and is unpopular with many workers.
Others are finding the solution to high energy prices by reducing the number of hours that they run their furnaces. Many of our clients are achieving this by revisiting how they load the furnace bed, using computerised optimisation instead of relying on their operators to do it by eye.
Improved optimisation strategies
Over the years we have seen that an experienced operator can achieve between 45% and 55% bed utilisation when they apply their experience to do it by eye.
In contrast, a well thought out, computerised optimisation strategy that fits well with the constraints of the business and the specific furnace will achieve 70% to 75% utilisation.
With around 25% faster throughput and so reduced furnace operating hours, these glass manufacturers are making substantial savings on their energy bills thanks to optimisers like Jotika.
Handling real-world complexity
Glass manufacturers are often cautious about introducing new systems. After all, this is a business that is far more complicated than many would think. That’s why Jotika has a real edge. We have been in the glass business (and only the glass business) for more than 30 years.
When we talk to clients about optimising bed utilisation, we understand there are many real-world constraints that have to be considered: The amount of space you have for holding pieces before and after the furnace; the need to keep certain orders together so they can get out the door faster; and even how fast you are able to pick the individual items of glass to place on the bed.
Our optimisation system has been developed in consultation with furnace manufacturers, so we know exactly what the technical constraints are, in terms of layout, positioning glass on the bed, the disparity in sizes and aspect ratios. In addition, we allow the optimiser to be configured further by your operators so you can set up your own profile rules to take into account factors such as the mix of glass, sizes and aspect ratios; and the way that your furnaces change as they age.
Benefits across your business
If you are using other Jotika systems, the benefits of furnace optimisation are further multiplied up and down through the business, from order to dispatch.
Read more about our glass bed optimisation or contact us to see how we could help you optimise your production and reduce costs.