Published On: Tue, Aug 10th, 2021

Glazerite East meets installer ambitions

Matthew Thomas, MD of Glazerite UK Group’s East site, discusses
the impact the fabricator’s latest investment will have on its customers

When it comes to serving our installers with a dynamic set of products and services, Glazerite likes to get ahead of the game. We value new ideas and innovation in every aspect and match that initiative with continuous investment into our facilities, our portfolio and our people. Everything we do is with our customers in mind, and it’s our installers who we hope will ultimately reap the rewards.

The recent introduction of the exciting Timberweld technology – first to our Residence Collection products and more recently to our Halo Flush Sash portfolio – is just one example of this and I’m delighted at the results so far.

The East site in Peterborough, where I’m based, is focused solely on the fabrication of the Halo range, though we do have the capability to manufacture some Veka lines here too. When we acquired the site in 2016, we focused on plans to invest in the plant and its infrastructure in order to improve capability and expand capacity. Everything we do here, and across the wider Group, is done so in order to strengthen our performance and better meet the needs of our customers.

Initially the main focus was a digital transformation for Glazerite East, which saw us integrate and embed the systems and processes already used across the wider Group. We then brought our production operations in line with our other plants in Bolton and Wellingborough, which resulted in a significant increase in output; more than doubling the 350 frames per week figure we were capable of achieving when we first took over the site. Today, we have the capability of achieving 700-750 frames per week, a figure set to grow even further by the end of 2021.

Following an injection of cash in 2020, we took receipt of a brand new Haffner SMR 5 head inline welding machine and other equipment, which allowed us to transform our output and improve performance. It meant we were able to weld two frames simultaneously and made set up time and cycle times quicker and much more efficient. At the same time, we took the opportunity to completely reconfigure the site, which has really helped to optimise the flow, as well as freeing up space for frame storage.

After such a big investment it would have been easy to rest on our laurels. Instead, we’ve ploughed on, first with the introduction of Timberweld to match increased consumer appetite for heritage style windows and more recently with the arrival of a brand new Haffner Murat SBA-4 Profile Machining Centre, which was installed earlier this year.

The new centre, part of an overall £400,000 spend so far this year at the site, enables us to improve on consistency of supply, giving us the ability to cut and machine PVC-U profiles with greater speed and accuracy. It is also set to boost our capacity to around 900 frames per week by the end of the year.

As part of the spend, we’ve also added a new corner cleaner and a sash horn miller, which has allowed us to manage the run-through sash horn process fully in-house. This has removed our dependency on third parties to manufacture Halo casements with run through sash horns, giving us much greater flexibility on lead times.

The ongoing investment to improve efficiency and extend capacity here at Glazerite East demonstrates our commitment to our installers and will allow us to meet current and future demand for the increasingly popular Halo range. Glazerite East is an integral part of the Group, and investments embedded here form part of our strategy to make wider, more sustainable improvements across all of our sites as we set out to realise our ambitious growth plans.

Such investment has been matched by a recruitment drive and I’m immensely proud of our 45-strong team here in Peterborough. They’ve worked hard to adapt to some major changes to work processes over the last five years, embracing technology and moving seamlessly from manual processes to automation on the shop floor. It’s been a big but important culture change, and with additional training and support, we’ve seen a real difference in how our team approach their work. As in every other industry, engaged employees have a significant impact on output and we are seeing the results across our operations at the site, coupled with a vastly improved service.

After five years of consolidated efforts, Glazerite East has been completely transformed. We can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring for our team, our suppliers and our customers.