Established in 1974 with its first projects in the glass industry dating back to the 80s, Eurotherm Italy is part of Eurotherm by Schneider Electric (see Glass Worldwide March/April 2021 for a recap on the acquisition that took place in 2014).
The Italian operation comprises 60 members of staff and mainly serves the glass business in Italy, where five of the most important European OEMs are located.
Giorgio Morando joined Eurotherm Italy 13 years ago as a service engineer. “Since then I have had several roles that brought me closer to the world of the glass industry, in fact I have been deeply involved in our glass market initiatives here in Italy but also abroad,” he explains. “Since 2018, I have been responsible for power applications in the Oil & Gas and Mining, Metals and Minerals (MMM) segments for Italy and I worked in close relationship with the global Eurotherm glass team and also with our Schneider Electric colleagues.”
The Eurotherm-Schneider union broadened both companies’ offerings, according to Mr Morando, and was “particularly beneficial for our approach to the glass industry. We call it ‘From Grid to Glass’, meaning that we can now offer everything from medium and low voltage distribution equipment, to process automation and electrical power control systems.”
Working with key OEM glass players in the region, Eurotherm Italy supports float and container glass manufacturers, as well as producers of glass fibre and display glass. “Hollow glass is very important especially for the pharma market and flat glass is equally key,” says Mr Morando. “In Italy, there are five flat glass plants with significant prospects for growth. Recently we have been working with pharmaceutical glass customers,” he recounts. “We have designed control solutions for refurbishing existing pharma glass plants, but also for greenfield plants for pharmaceutical glass pipe and glass flask production.”
Power and control
An experienced supplier of power and control technologies, Eurotherm provides scalable, modular solutions, from the simplest SCR power controller to full-scale information integration and plantwide distributed control systems.
“Our control systems are based on state-of-the-art technology,” says Mr Morando. “We engineer specialised solutions based on robust and high reliability, precision control products. These are the factors differentiating our offering from general purpose PLCs.”
Eurotherm has developed a high-efficiency solution for bushing power control using the EPower power controller in automatic load tap changer control mode. This provides control with a clean waveform, “while drastically reducing harmonic generation and helping to keep the power factor at a much higher level than a standard silicon controlled rectifier (SCR) controlled system,” explains Mr Morando. The controller also features Predictive Load Management for resolving ‘flicker’ issues that can be present in multiple burst-fired electrical control systems. “This feature is highly appreciated in roof-heating applications, especially during start-up phases,” reports Mr Morando. “It characterises our latest flat glass production plant refurbishment made in Italy.”
Recently, Eurotherm Italy replaced hundreds of obsolete power units in a glass fibre production plant with EPower advanced power controllers in automatic load tap changer control mode. According to Mr Morando the solution allowed the customer to achieve higher power quality (cos-phi) with a two-year return on investment.
Working with OEMs that sell their furnaces worldwide, Eurotherm Italy’s reach extends to the Far East where the market is very active. “We collaborate with OEM furnace builders who are marketing their furnaces across emerging economies,” confirms Mr Morando, “but at the same time, we are partners to global industrial businesses where we supply turnkey solutions.”
Giancarlo Quintana, Sales Manager for Southern Europe states confidently that “Our aim is to be recognised as the go-to partner by the glass market.” However he cautions that “general purpose products and commercial visibility are not enough. We need to go further, by offering more specific, precision hardware, complemented by fit-for-purpose software packages, and enhanced by ‘peopleware’, able to add unique value thanks to decades of expertise and highly regarded support.”
Global customer support
The Italian glass team has very successful relationships with its customers and works closely with other regional glass business development managers and the global team, according to Mikael Le Guern, Global Glass Business Development Manager. This interaction is “essential” with a global glass business, he stresses. “It enables us to deliver consistent solutions in multiple regions to help facilitate supply chains.”
“We believe it’s vital to share expertise and knowledge, and provide optimised, cost-effective, high-performing solutions,” says Giorgio Morando. Drawing on a global, comprehensive support network and its highly trained engineers, Eurotherm Italy can approach clients with the confidence of having a wide, global and experienced team to rely on for any challenge which may arise, he explains. “The expertise of our service and application engineers and the availability of products such as the EPower controller, able to manage multiple Fieldbus communications, make it easy for us and our customers to interact with other suppliers. One of Eurotherm’s mantras is ‘Customer First’,” he continues, “but it is not only that: I strongly believe that a win-win outcome can only be achieved through a solid relationship with customers, by being a trusted partner to them, committed to creating synergies of knowledge and experience for long-term relationships. This is particularly true in the glass industry where furnace campaigns are usually onerous and long-term investments."
“In Eurotherm, and this is especially valid for Italy, we have a lot of customers with whom we’ve been collaborating for many years, sometimes decades,” Mr Morando reveals. “This longevity is inevitably due to the trust we’ve built over the years thanks to our experience and specific application knowledge, as well as the reliability of our products and solutions. We passionately support our customers, acting as trusted advisors.”
Eurotherm Italy is committed to helping clients working in the glass industry to be in line with the goals set by the Paris agreement, “which means bringing total carbon emissions down to zero and implies moving from fossil fuels towards more electrical power in a transition to hybrid or all-electric solutions,” clarifies Mr Morando.
“The decarbonisation trend is leading to large opportunities where we already have expertise relating to the electrification and digitalisation of glass melting and heating processes,” notes Mikael Le Guern.
In fact, the Eurotherm Italy office recently became the first Italian building of the group to achieve Schneider’s zero CO2 status. Whether a factory, office, R&D centre, service centre, etc., a Schneider building is classed as zero CO2 when it uses only renewable energy sources, purchased from suppliers or produced on site; moreover, emissions must be reduced without purchasing carbon credits.
The company’s business has also become increasingly digitalised over the years. “We are building on this basis,” says Giorgio Morando; “enhancing our solutions’ capability to boost industrial process optimisation, leverage servitisation and help our customers to effectively adopt and benefit from IoT technologies.”
“Eurotherm is strongly committed to providing a factual contribution to support the glass industry’s move to electrification as an integral part of its digital transformation,” agrees Giancarlo Quintana. “Our Southern Europe glass team, just like the Eurotherm global glass team, is joining forces with major players in the glass market to build a new and different hot-end approach aimed at satisfying the 2050 carbon footprint expectations and improving glass production throughput and quality.”
Eurotherm and E-Power are registered trademarks of Schneider Electric.