Vidrala has enrolled all its glass manufacturing furnaces in PaneraTech’s Digital Furnace Monitoring (DFM) programme.

In 2015, Vidrala was one of the first companies to validate PaneraTech’s SmartMelter technology as part of International Partners in Glass Research (IPGR) in one of its plants in Portugal.

Over the last five years, the Spanish-headquartered group has used PaneraTech’s radar technology to regularly make critical decisions about maintenance of its furnaces.

When PaneraTech introduced a holistic programme to manage furnace health through digital transformation, it was the software platform, XSight, that first captured Vidrala’s attention.

“XSight brings visibility and transparency into our furnace KPIs, asset health, and maintenance schedules,” according to Vidrala’s Technology Team. “It is a true digital transformation of our furnace management program.”

XSight acts as the command centre for the programme.

When a furnace is onboarded, a digital model is created and PaneraTech’s team enters all furnace history and activities to date.

XSight captures furnace data such as regular walk-downs and observations, inspections, audits, repairs, and maintenance. This data is analyzed based on best practices in the industry and recommendations are made for operational improvements to extend furnace life.

Enrollment in DFM includes an experienced PaneraTech Asset Manager assigned to Vidrala’s furnaces to support their staff. The Asset Manager will train employees to evaluate information on the platform and make data-driven decisions). Asset Managers will work with the plant teams to meet KPI’s developed by Vidrala.

A customized schedule of furnace evaluations will include SmartMelter® radar scans, continuous monitoring of electrodes with Polaris IoT sensors, and periodic SmartAudit checks (visual, thermal, and endoscopic evaluations).

“Vidrala has been a valuable partner to PaneraTech since the earliest days when our technology was being validated,” said Yakup Bayram, CEO of PaneraTech. “We are happy to continue this relationship by working together to optimize the life of their furnaces.”

The objective of Digital Furnace Monitoring is to help manufacturers make more glass, even with a workforce that is evolving into younger generations.

As experienced employees retire and turnover increases, PaneraTech provides the support needed to increase production and reduce CAPEX.

Vidrala is a European glass manufacturer that produces more than eight billion glass containers per year. It participates in global initiatives such as installing smart manufacturing lines at its plants and working with IPGR, Glass Futures and universities to foster solutions on sustainable glass manufacturing, with a customer centric approach.