Tips and More about Glass Fabrication

Thanks for checking in today. Before we get started there are a couple of items that must be addressed. We give them a whole lot of lip service but is that all it is? We must live and breath these guys or all that follows will be vastly diminished and any improvement gained will not hold long term if at all.


 SAFETY and QUALITY production will not exist without these 2 items.

SAFETY comes before everything. Putting aside the obvious - injury to employees/ compensation claims\ lost time - if not running a safe operation the bottom line will hemorrhage …. bleeding $ ‘s all over the floor and pouring into garbage. The (not so hidden) cost of damage due to improper handling, rework, lost product, damage to equipment is accepted as the norm… a cost of doing business. QUALITY is the first casualty, if lucky - when Safety is allowed to take a back seat, and that comes with the very visable cost of incomplete shipments, rejects and returns. Customers cannot afford to go back to a job 2 or 3 times, costs too much. Their reputation is only as good as their last installation. They have a choice and even the most loyal of customers will exersize this right eventually. Simple economics if they want to keep their doors open.

So First steps…. Be Aware, Be Consistent, BE SAFE. Do not compromise….EVER.

Quality is subjective. It is variable. eg. 1/4″ tempered glass in a Commercial Strip Mall does not receive the same scrutiny as a residential 3/8″ lo-iron shower enclosure, but both demand a level of quality consistent with the needs and use of the customer.

For todays purpose I will stick to Heavy Tempered Glass. There are Published Standards and Guidelines covering almost every defect a lite of glass can have. The only Standards I live by are ANSI and related. It is safe to say we are all on the same page regarding break patterns and the need for (in-house) testing and compliance. I will share one observation. I am dumbfounded by how many times have I come across Tempering Operators priding them selves on obtainng the smallest break patterns possible. WHY???? The smaller and tighter the pieces are, the more stress is in that Glass. Not a particularly well thought out plan of action when tempering 3/8″ or 1/2″ glass with multiple holes and notches. Stick to ANSI Standard, even have a little wiggle room but don’t go crazy. Dare I say it? Size does matter.

OK, on to the other guidelines. The ones covering allowable defects. Throw them away. They are meaningless. Try telling “Mrs McFee” she has to stand in another room (bathrooms are getting smaller, especially in metropolitan areas) with “normal” lighting and don’t really look near the edges. Good luck with that. First of all there is no such thing as “normal lighting” in bathrooms anymore. Second, all “Mrs McFee” cares about is the mark on her brand new expensive Shower Enclosure Door that took years of scrimping and saving to afford. It catches her eye everytime she walks into the bathroom. It is killing her. No amount of “standards and guidelines” will convince her it is acceptable. So how do we avoid this. It is actually simple. Prepare up front, before there is a question. Have literature with pictures for your customer to share with his customer so expectations are realistic before the contract is signed. Assure your customers are informed customers who understand Tempered Glass is handled at least 20 or so times before being loaded on their truck. It will never be 100% perfect. Educate them in what is and is not acceptable by your respective company standards. After that, it is up to them to pass on this knowlwdge to the end user… their customer.

There you go, That was easy. Right? Wait up a bit there, it’s not quite that easy. It is now time to live up to promises made by consistently delivering the goods. Start by”5-S’ing” the Hell out of the Plant. It works, I’ve proved that many times over. Consistency is the key. No clutter, same process each and every day. Routine, Routine, Routine. It’s a start.

Next time I will get into specifics on how to cut down on damage, catch mistakes, increase throughput at a Tempering Furnace, all the while keeping customers happy with usable product delivered on time. Expect some Lean-Six-Sigma and TOC creeping into the mix. It always does.

Thanks for reading.

Post time: Dec-30-2020