Automation opens door to greater capacity.
“When we saw the CHAMP 25 line a few years ago, we knew this was the future we should pursue for our next round of capital expenditures,” says Dan Wright, CEO of Paragon Tempered Glass.
Paragon Tempered Glass – a 2012 merger of two well-known processors in Ohio and Michigan – underwent numerous changes in ownership over the years. When The Cypress Companies of Ohio took the helm in 2012, Paragon was finally able to invest in machinery to improve its future.
Dan Wright came in five years ago as VP of Sales and quickly moved on to CEO/President of Paragon Tempered Glass. With significant history in the glass industry as both a supplier and a customer of Paragon, he can see the potential in the specific industries Paragon serves.
“A large percentage of our business is transportation glass – for truck caps, RVs and construction equipment manufacturers. We also supply glass for a wide variety of other industries,” he says. “We’ve seen record growth recently and have been able to make significant investments in capital equipment to grow our business.”
CHAMP PAVES THE WAY
Dan and his colleague Wes Brigner, Director of Manufacturing, already knew Bystronic glass and Glaston well from their vast experience in the glass industry. The two Paragon plants have 30-year-old Bystronic glass pre-processing equipment and Glaston tempering lines.
“We know that Glaston is very reliable, and the equipment does an awesome job,” says Wes. “We’ve always thought highly of the two equipment manufacturers that are now one Glaston.”
About two years ago, the men saw the CHAMP 25 line. They reached out to Glaston to learn more and decided it was the right path for their business.
“Not only would the line give us the speed and capacity we needed, we also knew our relationship with Glaston would be excellent and the quality would be of the highest caliber,” Dan says. And this all proved to be so – even down to the way the product was packaged and shipped.
“Of all the equipment we have purchased over the years, this machine came with the best packaging, instructions and top-ofthe-line support,” Wes emphasizes. “When it came to support, the Glaston team had a response for us within minutes and a game plan to take care of any issue within an hour. This means the world to us!”
Dan agrees that the partnership was exactly what they had hoped for.
ALL IN ONE
Paragon purchased their first CHAMP 25 line in October 2019. Although COVID-19 slowed the process, the line was installed in September 2021. The new line incorporates four different processes – robotic loading, cutting, grinding and drilling with two sets of drills. Earlier, this would have taken four separate pieces of equipment. Now the line combines all processes into one and is tied into the company’s digital printer.
CHAMP automates the processes, significantly improving yield and quality. At the same time, it helps Paragon focus on what they’re best at – fabricating a high volume of high value-added parts.
This is the direction their business is moving – providing parts with more holes and odder shapes – and serving new and different cab styles with a sharper look.
OPERATORS EXPECT THE BEST
Glaston worked closely with Paragon’s maintenance group, answering questions and providing information, for a smooth installation.
“Our operators are really excited about the CHAMP line, as they see this as the future. Especially at the Ohio plant, our people have adapted over the years to many changes and expect the best. They also know we share the business profits with our workforce. They understand that the better we do, the better they do, too,” Dan says.
Wes adds that the additional automation is helping them grow the business in a way they can excel without making the personnel work more hours. “We’ve been short on team members and see automation as a way for us to work to live – and not live to work,” he says.
Wes says they’re already trying to figure out how to get more space to purchase another CHAMP 25 line.
“We’re going to continue to add capital equipment over the next few years. We want to grow the footprint in our two facilities so we can continue doing more. Our new line enables us to shorten lead times significantly and give our customers the service they deserve,” Dan sums up.