“AGNORA is known for fabricating the largest architectural glass in all of North America. We’ve chosen to specialize in custom fabrication and oversized glass. We’re not a glass factory,” underlines Richard Wilson, President of AGNORA, Inc., in Collingwood, in Ontario, Canada, about two hours north of Toronto. “To stay as the leader in this area, we continue to invest in the latest and most advanced technology, such as Glaston’s Roller Heat Control (RHC) upgrade for our special ProE Magnum flat glass furnace.
A GLASTON INTERVIEW WITH AGNORA PRESIDENT RICHARD WILSON
With a passion for excellence and penchant for challenges, AGNORA has been selected to serve the likes of world-class companies, such as Apple, Microsoft and Dior, as well as leading cultural institutes, such as the Onassis Cultural Center on Fifth Avenue in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. “Our customers use our glass units to make an unforgettable statement and to support their iconic brands.” “Our business is to fabricate oversized glass in sizes of 130 inches wide by 300 inches in length (330 cm by 762 cm) in our 288,000 ft2 (26,750 m2 ) facilities. Our customers set their own standards – and we push to meet them. These standards far exceed normal requirements when it comes to quality. So it’s been our job to create a whole new quality for them,” Richard explains.
BIGGEST SIZES WITH BEST QUALITY
Richard Wilson and his wife started AGNORA about six years ago to provide the exceptional high-quality, oversized architectural glass units that are available in Europe, but are hard to find in the North American market. When the company began, Richard says that he was looking for the best quality furnace to produce the best glass in the world: “We looked around – and it wasn’t very difficult to decide. There’s really only one flat glass tempering furnace manufacturer that can supply the size and quality that we were looking for.”
COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT
In June 2015, Richard visited the Glaston factory in Tampere, Finland, during his participation at the Glass Performance Days (GPD) conference. Glaston presented the Roller Heat Control (RHC) as part of their latest furnace technology showcase. The RHC modernization minimizes any quality problems caused by roller heat disturbance. Upgrading a furnace with automatic adjustment of the bottom heat level enables the operators to take the glass quality easily to a completely new level. The automatic RHC is based on an accurate measurement system. This system transmits roller heat information to the furnace control system and automatically adjusts the bottom heat level to balance the roller temperatures. “Even though our furnace is only five years old and in reality would still have another good 20 years of life, I decided on the spot that I couldn’t live without this technology,” Richard smiles.
ALL HANDLED VERY PROFESSIONALLY
Richard didn’t want to affect the production schedule, so he timed the upgrade over the Canadian Christmas break. The entire Magnum furnace was gutted and then rebuilt. “We went through all the preliminary work so the entire upgrade was seamless,” Richard says. “In all, we were very impressed. It was all done very professionally. And the Process Specialist who came over from Finland to help us out, was awesome. Glaston really provides great customer service.”
TRAINING SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD
According to Richard, training his operators was simple and straightforward. “It’s much easier to use the furnace than before. But even more importantly, the quality that we are now putting out is exceptional,” Richard stresses. “One of the lead contacts from Apple came to the AGNORA factory once the upgrade had been completed to perform a review. He couldn’t believe the difference in quality, which obviously makes us very happy!” he continues.
DO IT ALL AGAIN
Richard explains that his goal is to continue to focus on this specialized area of oversized glass. “And to do that, we plan to stay on top of technology. Our aim is to continue to produce the best quality glass in the largest sizes for our discerning customers,” Richard says. “If Glaston were to come out with the best technology a year from now, we’d be more than happy to do it all again,” he states. “It’s simple,” Richard sums up. “Our customers expect from us what we expect from Glaston – the best. And that’s what Glaston has been able to deliver.”
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