Clearview South July 2013 - Issue 140 - Page 48

VIPVIEWPOINT CLEARVIEW EXCLUSIVE Laying The Ground Work Mark Bristow speaks candidly about the glass and glazing industry and Guardian’s decision to install an offline magnetron coater for the UK market… “It’s staggering to see the changes that have occurred in the glass industry over the last few years,” states Mark Bristow, Guardian Regional Manager for the UK & Ireland. Mark has been in the glass industry since 1978 holding positions from Technical Manager at Doulton Laminated Glass to Group Operations Director of Solaglas AGP (Leeds) and has developed an intricate understanding of not only the glass industry as a whole but more importantly of the glass industry in the UK, which holds strong market differences to the glass markets Guardian is so familiar with in continental Europe. Mark was instrumental in developing the UK market, overseeing float glass distribution through imports from the Guardian plants on the continent. Once a strong market position had been established, Mark became the driving force, expressing the need for Guardian to invest over £100 million in the construction of a float glass plant in the UK. Mark was then responsible for preparing the market and ensuring that the float glass line could be sustained commercially once the furnace was lit, back in 2003. Marks commercial awareness and intricate understanding of the UK market has driven Guardian’s enterprise at Goole from success to success. However the next challenge has already begun! “Developing the UK market for a float line the size of our plant at Goole was no easy task,” says Mark. “Guardian Goole has at times manufactured over 750 tonnes of glass per day, feeding not only the UK home market, but also helping to establish new territories throughout Europe and further afield. Over the past few years we have seen the UK market change dramatically. When Low E was introduced into building regulations as a standard requirement in 2002 we thought that this would have a massive detrimental impact on the clear float plant we had just fired up, however in reality it had the opposite effect; it laid the ground work and the change in business culture to develop a better level of product and performance. “There was a lot of market research involved in the decision to open our new £35 million magnetron sputter coating line in the UK, as there were many factors to take into consideration - establishing the right time to construct the coater was crucial in anticipating the markets needs. Rising fuel costs and government targets have certainly played a factor. If the government sets legislation demanding improved product performance in our buildings, then the market will reshape itself to accommodate. “However this has in no way been the only factor. The glass and glazing industry is notoriously competitive, with companies always striving to differentiate their window performance from their competition; we have seen this most recently with the window energy ratings (WER). When WER’s were created it was expected to take years for companies to get to an A rating, yet in reality it took months, now we see companies everywhere offering A rated windows as standard. This has taken the USP (unique selling point) away from A rated windows, so how does the industry create a new USP? “You only need to look in any of the industry press and the answer is glaringly obvious; increased demands for better thermal efficiency and product differentiation are moving hand in hand. More triple glazing is being manufactured than ever before and new advanced coated glasses are moving into the mainstream, which left Guardian with a choice, either accommodate the market or be left behind and Guardian has never been a company to step away from a challenge! “As Guardian is a global business we are fortunate to be able to see how similar market patterns have occurred on a world wide scale. The need to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions is a global problem, leaving markets in different countries with the same challenge, however the solution in all markets has been the same; dramatically improved product performance. “Guardian’s new magnetron sputter coater has opened the doors to innovation in the UK and we have already tailored products specifically to suit our customers’ needs, like ClimaGuard A+ and our new improved ClimaGuard Premium. With many more new products to come, there has never been a better time to be a Guardian customer than now.” Visit www.guardianglass.co.uk for more information Guardian Industries UK Glass Division 48 JUL 2013 To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com