Etienne Gruyez, MD at Stölzle Masnières
And ﬁnally, the view from a glassmaker: Etienne Gruyez, Managing Director at Stölzle Masnières Parfumerie 1. In your opinion, how important is the Industry 4.0/digital concept to hollow/container glassmaking?
This is a key new set of tools and way for working. Industry 4.0 is not just limited to the company itself. It encompasses the suppliers and the customers. The idea is to share the information all along the way. As the market is ever changing, it is important to be able to answer in a rapid way. The digital concept does allow speed at a fraction of what it used to cost. Also, Industry 4.0 will allow to create better products as more data is available and can be analysed.
4 How has your glassmaking technology evolved to embrace the digital age?
7 What is your vision of a container glass factory in five to 10 years time?
We are continuously investing in new technology that is available on the market but we are also working with some key manufactures to work together on developing new machines to better serve our needs. We are also adapting to new possibilities so we also need to be agile in our processes and decision making.
Quite a challenging question as we don’t know what the technology and market will be in five years. So, I don’t know what the vision will be but for sure, it will have to be even closer to the market needs and probably even closer to the end user needs.
5 Do you have a specialist devoted to digital glassmaking? We have a person who is working on all this new digital technology but at the same time, you need to encompass the entire company into the process as it impacts every level.
2. Has your company embraced this technology?
6 Are there any negatives to the digital age?
Yes, we have already started. First of all, we have been able to develop new products in a more streamlined and efficient way. We can offer new decorated glass samples in four weeks. This is a key advantage when our customers are asking for a rendering of items. They are no longer just getting a 3D printer sample, they get their real item. Also, the digital technology helps us in our production process. In the glass manufacturing process, we have hundreds of KPI from the gob, mould temperature, glass distribution, etc. When we add the Big Data analysis to all these sets of data, we are now able to pick up some trends, relationships between parameters which help us to produce a faster, better and a more reliable way. Machines can now self adapt to changes of parameters they are generating.
As with any new technology, there are some negatives but the main one is training the people involved and working with these new technologies. They need to accept to learn new tools and new ways of working. They need to learn to adapt. Our challenge, as a company, is to make sure we provide the proper training to our staff so that they can adapt to these constant changes. And these changes are even more rapid.
3 Does the Industry 4.0 offering benefit your customers? Yes, as already explained, customers are gaining speed to market and better design to cost features. It does provide them with more flexibility and agility.
26 Glass International February 2018
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