Automating Glass Production Automating Glass Production
Barcelona-based NAT VIDRIERA S.L.U uses a Haas VF-3 vertical machining centre to make moulds for the semi-automatic production of glass products. Here’s a case study on the same.
Barcelona-based NAT VIDRIERA S.L.U uses a Haas VF-3 vertical machining centre to make moulds for the semi-automatic production of glass products, for example bottles for cosmetics and perfumes. Not the sort of thing used by the big brands, made in very large quantities, using fully automatic processes, but those destined for less well known, high-end and luxury brands.
Oriol Camprubi Carreras , project manager and designer explained: “We bought our Haas VF-3 machine in mid-2015, to make the many different sizes and shapes of moulds and stamping dies we use in our manufacturing. Our main markets are lighting, both technical and classical, home and bath accessories, and packaging for food, laboratory, and cosmetic industries. We chose Haas because it’s a very complete machine—that is, it had the performance and the features we were looking for, at a very reasonable price. The service and support are also part of that package – we were new to CNC machining, and the local Haas Factory Outlet has taken very good care of us.
“As we make bottles in relatively low volumes, eight hundred to one thousand a day, we don’t need full automation at any stage in our process. The biggest challenge we face is the complexity and detail designed into some of the surfaces. Our customers are selling luxury products, so they want packaging to reflect the cost and exclusivity of the contents. Many of the moulds we machine take two to three months to develop, from when I first create the design in SolidWorks to when we begin production of the bottles.”
Glass Production in Spain
Carreras continues: “We don’t have a great deal of competition—at least, not in Spain. Most of the industry focuses on high volume, which, like many things, has migrated to China and the Far East. Personally, I feel that’s not great, as the conditions for local workers in those countries can be pretty poor.
“This company was started over forty years ago, as a cooperative. The current owner is Antonio Torrejon, who bought the business when he was general manager, ten years ago. He has a great deal of experience in glass production and he doesn’t want to grow too quickly. The philosophy here is step-by-step, which as a designer, suits me very nicely.
“I like to experiment and try new things. The Haas is the perfect machine for me, as it facilitates my style of designing. With the help of our operator, José Molina, I can quickly and easily turn my ideas into prototype parts, even though I’m not a trained CNC machinist. The Haas control is very easy to use, and it works well with our Cimatron CAM software.
“Most of our designs are made in collaboration with the client, but some of them are entirely our own creation. The primary purpose of the Haas machine is to serve our glass workshop, but as time goes, we’ll produce more moulds for other customers, and perhaps make our own products to sell to third parties. As a designer, I never stop thinking or dreaming about how I can use the Haas. And not just glass moulds! I have all sorts of ideas. But as a business we’ve never been busier, so some of my ideas will have to wait.”