CLAYTON GLASS ACQUIRE ROMAG

romag_logoTwo of the North East’s leading glass and glazing companies today came under the same ownership as today we acquired Romag, one of the UK’s most well recognised and longstanding glass processors, albeit in a completely different arena to Clayton Glass.

Established over 70 years ago, Romag operates in the high security glazing and transport industries, with clients such as Bombardier and Hitachi in the rail sector. Recent years saw the company expand into the Solar PV market, although with that sector being compromised by the end of the feed in tariff and cheaper imports, the renewed focus is in specialism bespoke PV solutions.

Although there are many synergies between the two companies in terms of location, history and core glass manufacturing activities, they specialise in very different areas of the glass industry and hence we will continue to operate each company completely independently so that both can focus entirely on continuing to grow their specialist market share.

Whilst this represents  huge opportunity for the wider group, from a Clayton Glass customer perspective there will be no changes, other than perhaps a faster turnaround, on processing, drilling, painted glass etc, all of which have previously been bought externally but will now be sourced in house.

Our medium term aim at Clayton remains to continue our drive on quality, service, and delivery times all of which have shown large improvements since the move to Harelew, but particularly over the past few weeks.  A renewed focus with the customer service team in terms of response to queries and the flow of information is also underway.

We hope that with this acquisition there will be many synergies for both companies to the benefit of all of our joint customers.

Clayton Glass recognised by Stock Exchange

1000InspireAnother accolade has headed our way this week – and even better as this time it was totally out of the blue. We’ve been recognised as one of the top ‘1000 companies that inspire Britain’, an annual celebration of the fastest growing and most dynamic SMEs.

The award is given to recognise sustained sales growth – the criteria being significant growth over at least a 4 year period and having out performed their industry peers in that time.

Here at Clayton Glass we all know that we’re growing our loyal customer base month on month,  year after year –  we just didn’t know anyone else was watching, especially not the London Stock Exchange !

A huge thanks to all of our customer for your ongoing support.

http://www.lseg.com/resources/1000-companies-inspire-brit

 

Final stages of factory move approach

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As we move into November I am delighted to report the factory move is going to timescale and so far without any significant disruption to service. This is because as planned all of the major pieces of plant and equipment at the new site have been purchased from new, and hence so far having only added to our machining capacity we have not had to move any significant pieces of kit. For the last 6 weeks or so we’ve been making 60% of our standard IGUs at the new site, all of our roof products and just moved in the last week or so are laminated products. For IT reasons however, we are still despatching from Tanfield so all this product is currently being shipped back down the road, before being married up with the remaining standard IGUs, decorative, shaped and express items.

As our second Bystronic IG line is installed this week however, we enter a more critical stage. This will give us the capacity, on all brand new equipment to make 100% of volume products at the Harelaw site, up to 15,000 units per week. Sometime therefore the tables need to turn where we despatch from the new site and ship the smaller volume items up the other way. Ideally this stage will be limited, a few weeks perhaps as the necessary IT infrastructure is installed tested, but at some time in the next month or so we’ll make the move completely, including the Customer Service team and all the office staff.

In the coming period whilst we have toughening facilities on both sites and are wholly confident in our ability to manufacture in volume, there are a few finer details which may be more difficult to manage. With our laminate cutting table at new site and Georgian bar manufacture at old, it may for example be more difficult to make a laminated Georgian unit in this time. Our manual assemble cell which makes smaller and decorative units will be next to move so we there is the potential for a day or two of disruption there, and really any next day product could be affected over this period.

Entirely relocating a £15m business that dispatches in excess of 3,000 bespoke products daily, ordered on a 5 day lead time and delivered nationally, was always going to be a daunting task without a lengthy shutdown. We are however about 80% through this process and once the coming weeks are dealt with Clayton Glass will be the very proud owners of a state of the art, modern and light production facility to take us and our customer base well into the next decade.

We hope you understand therefore if we do experience any service issues over the coming weeks, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and patience. Ryan, Jason and the rest of the sales and customer service teams of course remain available at all times to deal with any particular concerns should they occur.

Clayton Glass gears up for factory move

At some point over the next year or so Clayton Glass will be relocating a couple of miles away, as the site we are currently on is developed for housing. Well that move seems a little closer now as we have now agreed to formally rent the new building in the interim period whist the various legal and planning processes run their course. For the last few weeks we have therefore had access to the new site and are busy clearing and fixing in preparation for this hugely exciting move.

New Factory Fit outThe 75,000 square foot layout has long since been planned from scratch, so unlike our current site the work will flow in a logical and orderly fashion through the 200 metre long factory. This site will house both SMARTGLASSTM and IG production under one roof, although to allow room for growth we are retaining our North Shields roof site even after the move is completed.

Most excitingly however, as the services and new substation are being installed we are finally able to commit to purchases on equipment.  This is an area where we have put in a great amount of thought and research in order to engineer out many of the problems we naturally get from some of the equipment that is ready for an update. In total we will be investing in excess of £1.5M in new plant and machinery including –

Cutting table – Hegla Autoloader

Picture1Similar to the two tried and tested models we’ve purchased over the past few years, with auto-load carriage,  a choice of 8 glass racks, high speed cutting and edge deletion. But as this machine will primarily feed to toughening plant it has built in laser etching meaning the kite marks no longer need manually applying so will always be clear and smudge free. With the sequence numbers also being laser’d on rather than by hand in special pen, both of these significantly remove the potential for glass contamination.  Because the table knows the orientation of the finished pane and its partner, the Kite marks can be applied so as to be assembled in matching corners in the finished unit.

 Furnace 4.2 x 2.5 TBC

We’re in the final process of making our choice here, but given the latest convection techniques and enhanced zonal control either of the two contenders represent a leap in toughening speeds and visual quality. The new machine will be able to attain throughput volumes of around twice the speed of our current furnace, with optically clearer and flatter glass.

IG Line, Bystronic

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As we saw at Glasstech Dusseldorf, this new high speed IG line has many new features which just weren’t available when we purchased our current Lisec lines. The main body of the 45m long vertical line abandons rollers in favour of air flotation to support the glass in transport, so the potential for the internal roller and dust marks we see from time to time is eradicated. The line has inbuilt glass and coating side detection, so a unit can’t be assembled the wrong way around and the glass is scanned for defects in 3 separate ways before assembly. Perhaps for us one of the best advances is the way the glass is transported during the gunning stage, historically fully automated IG lines have used tracks to grip and support the side of the units whilst the wet seal is applied,  whilst in our new model the glass sits in a ‘V Belt’. This means there is no direct contact with the face of the glass at any point, so less risk of surface contamination and a naturally cleaner unit is produced.

 

At Clayton Glass we continually strive to improve the value of what we offer to the market as a company – in terms of customer service, value for money and the quality of our product. We’re determined then that in this latest investment cycle there are some absolute clear wins for us in terms quality engineering our product, ensuring that we remain ahead of our competitors as a large part of our manufacturing problems can literally be consigned to the history bin with these new technologies.

Whilst the timescale for the move is yet to be pinned down exactly, the equipment above we expect to have installed by the end of summer this year. Given it’s all brand new high performance kit, these 3 items alone will be able to fulfill around 70% of our current IG demand and will be fully installed, commissioned and in full flow before we so much as unplug a kettle here. This together with a 12 month window from the point the legals are completed we hope will ensure the move goes as smoothly as these things can, most probably over the quiet Christmas period into early winter 2016.

Factory aside, from the office perspective we’ll have much more space to grow into and we aim to markedly improve the welfare facilities for both factory and office staff alike, with improved restrooms, staff canteen and extended welfare facilities. Our aim for the move is not just a physical one, but to offer a class leading working environment on which we can build an even stronger company culture, enhance the brand especially of our roof products, and cement our futures for decades to come. On this new platform we’re confident we can build a £25M manufacturing facility, in the North East over the next few years, and we will keep you closely informed as we progress.

4th manufacturing line for SMARTGLASS conservatory roof glass

SMARTGLASS LOGOFast approaching £500,000 a month in sales, we’re again increasing manufacturing capacity of our flagship roof brand SMARTGLASSTM . With an enhanced product range demand is forecast to grow further still, warranting a significant capital programme, situated in our North Shields manufacturing facility.

The new line,  totally self-contained with own toughening and assembly line will initially single shift to contribute 150 shapes per day, but with the equipment in place we will have the ability to double shift as demand require,  to provide resilience for breakdowns or to bring back in lead times at peak demand periods.

Production will commence w/c 17th June. For more details please contact customer services on 01207 288200.

New North West Hub for SMARTGLASS

mapGood news for all of our conservatory roof glass customers – this week sees the addition of two new light vehicles operating from our sister site in the North West, Northern Express Glass. With roofs being trunked to Blackpool and loaded overnight, this will enable us to improve deliver times for drops around the North West, including Manchester, Liverpool and down the M6 towards Birmingham.

Both the three hour head start compared to direct from Durham, and the fast response nature of the vehicles will allow for greater flexibility, quicker turnaround and earlier drop times. For volume customers we also intend basing an 18 Tonne wagon from the same site, again improving our coverage.

Deliveries from the Northampton hub will continue to focus on the South and East of our region, but with this assistance from the team in the North West we expect to see an improvement for all roof site deliveries. With this latest addition SMARTGLASSTM now can be optimised to despatch from one of 3 separate locations, maximising coverage and turnaround for the ever growing SMARTGLASSTM brand.

For more information contact one of our customer services team on 01207 288200.

Clayton Glass open new Trade Centre and Manufacturing Site

trade CENTRE logo

We are pleased to announce as part of our strategy to develop and grow presence in the North East of England, Clayton Glass has acquired the plant and machinery of Coastline Glass Ltd, based in North Shields.

The new site, will manufacture toughened glass for in-house demand.

Whilst acquiring the assets, Clayton Glass has also recruited some of the key staff previously employed at Coastline Glass, including the sales, customer service staff, drivers, and a number of the production and management team.

The new site in North Shields will trade under the banner of Clayton Glass Trade Centre. For more details please do not hesitate to contact one of the team on 01207 288200.

Clayton Glass Launch new Trade Centre in 2013

trade CENTRE logoIt’s long been recognised that as the region’s largest IGU manufacturer whilst we enjoy many blue chip customers and national delivery, we’re simply not geared up to service the small local tradesman. Well that’s all set to change in 2013.

Based on our same premises but independently managed, January will see the launch of a new way of accessing our products and services where everyone is welcome – small volumes, fast turnaround, cash sales, walk in one offs, same day units – we’ll do the lot!

Or why not try our super express service – units while you wait !

Most importantly, by harnessing the manufacturing capability of Clayton Glass in a small dedicated outfit, Trade Centre customers can benefit from the same great quality, huge range, manufacturing standards and guarantee. If need arises we’ll even sell the odd trim, sealant or fixings to help you get the job done.

Call in and collect, or arrange express delivery throughout the North East, from January 2013.

SMART new livery for Vehicle Fleet

We’ve been busy across 2012 investing in our fleet which now consists of 12 vehicles with the collective ability to reach over 100 drops a day, nationwide. In the last year we’ve invested in a new 38 tonne articulated truck and trailer unit, three Luton vans and two 18 Tonne lorries, in a mixture of leased and owned units.

Pictured here is the latest addition to our fleet in the form a fully liveried articulated trailer, the prime use of which will be shipping SMARTGLASSTM from base to Hub, for onward delivery nationwide. Look out for it on the roads near you!

Upcycled 5th Insulating Glass Unit Line at Clayton Glass!

Our shortly to arrive triple gas presses have created some welcome spare equipment which is being put to good use over the road in our SMARTGLASS factory. With demand continuing to soar we’ve been able to quickly bring on stream some useful new capacity with the purchase of a new wash section, and by ‘upcycling’ one of our older presses for use in the roof factory. Whilst there’s had to be some ‘creative’ engineering going on, the end result is a ‘new’ piece of kit  and 50 extra roof sets a week all for under £10k, and believe us, you don’t usually get much for that these days!

Investment: Additional Argon Gas Line to be commissioned at Clayton Glass

Due to a huge increase in demand for our most energy efficient products, we are delighted to announce significant investment in the purchase of a second argon gas press. Retro-fitted to one of our existing Lisec IG lines, this press now means all sealed units made by Clayton will benefit from the consistency, accuracy and speed only flood filling of argon gas can bring. To be installed in July 2012 this equipment will boost our overall argon filling capacity to 14,000 units weekly and remove the need for drilling though spacers and unsightly corner keys.

Furthermore,  given the rising demand we are now seeing for triple glazed units, both presses will be upgraded to fill dual cavity units, now making gas filling of triple glazing a fully automated process. With this method, using standard Planitherm Total + or Pilkington KS and argon gas we are able to manufacture U-values down to 0.6 W/m2/K in a 44m IGU and 0.8W/m2/K in 36mm overall unit.

Warm Edge Capacity Increases Further, With Significant Investment

We have made a significant investment in new machinery, to increase our capacity for rigid warm edge spacer bars. New automated spacer bar cutting equipment now means we have added a further 50% to our capacity of this type of product. The new equipment is linked directly to our order processing software, eradicating potential cutting errors and increasing the speed, capacity and lead time in production.

In addition we are now stocking a number of warm edge spacer bar options, including Thermobar, Swiss V and Super Spacer. All are stocked and readily available with any combination of glass technologies.

For more details on warm edge solutions and which one is most suitable to your requirements, please contact customer services on 01207 288200.

SMARTGLASS goes national with new distribution facility

Clayton Glass is delighted to announce that from February 2012 a new SMARTGLASSTM distribution facility will be opening in the Midlands.  Located off the M1 near Northampton, this new ‘Hub’ will employ a small team of three, providing storage and distribution facilities for roof deliveries beyond the current daily reach.

‘As our roof customer base has increased, then so with it has both the number and distance of end user sites we need to get our product to’ commented Commercial Director Jason McCabe. ‘The key to timely and successful roof deliveries lies with a small fleet of lightweight vehicles in the right location, so whilst we will retain the use of our heavy goods fleet, this will be to ship roofs in volume to the hub overnight for onward delivery the next day’

‘To coincide with this, on the production side we’ve invested further to give a much increased capacity to manufacture now in either one of our two County Durham factories. The key for us lies in being able to manufacture quicker, to get the right roof on the right vehicle and to optimise by delivery slot’. We’re hugely confident that with this new facility we will be able to improve our turnaround, delivery capacity and with it our overall customer experience’

‘We’re now taking orders for roof glass on a national basis, so naturally we’ve seen our sales grow too.  Where in the past we have had to turn work down due to logistics barriers, we can now fulfil with ease. More customers only serves to increase momentum and to give critical mass for further investment’

Initially two drivers and vehicles will operate from the site, giving SMARTGLASSTM the reach and ability to achieve morning drops to the South coast and beyond, whilst reducing overall delivery costs and improving customer communication. ‘We can now get your roof further, quicker, adds Jason. And with satellite tracking across the entire fleet you can rest assured we can literally pinpoint every one of our 30 roof deliveries, every day’

SMARTGLASSTM – Contact Customer Service – 01207 288200