This is the fifth blog is a series on the practicalities of the characteristics of glass.

This characteristic is cost. Glass is a very expensive flat panel product. During processing it can be cut, arissed, toughened, printed, and maybe made into a double glaze unit with gas or laminated with a high-tech interlayer. The end result is still a flat panel product, but with a very high cost.

It only takes a small damage to render this costly product useless. It could be cut wrong, cracked in breakout, toughened incorrectly, printed wrong, cracked, scratched, shelled or any manner of other small defects applied to the glass to render it of no value. With other flat panel products like stone, steel and plasterboards small defects do not normally result in the product being binned.

The importance of not damaging the product is higher for glass than in most industries.

Well managed Process and Procedure can minimise most damage to glass. Likewise good equipment built to protect the glass reduces damage. Simple things like trolleys to suit the size of the glass items, bearing surfaces clad in non-marking polymers, full bearing surfaces with no exposed hard surfaces, retention systems which stop the glass from moving and rubbing when in the factory or in transportation. I could go on. The equipment to help reduce damage to glass is readily available from ourselves and others. Given the real cost to the business of damaging glass the investment in good quality equipment and systems is a no-brainer. Add some good process and procedure and you're sorted.

Here's a challenge for you. What did glass damage actually cost you last year? In addition to the raw material costs take into account delays, rescheduling, possible reordering of replacement components, the cost of customer liaison and letting customers down, the resultant late payments, opportunity cost of spending the time more productively etc. Most estimate the actual costs to be 4-10 times the cost of the glass.