In 2008, CristalTemper tempered glass was awarded the national prize for quality in Brazil (Prêmio de Qualidade Brasil). Together with a strong history in the market, the industry award was yet another affirmation of the brand’s success. Reuben Ford takes a closer look at CristalTemper’s leadership position and its winning range of glass solutions.
Today, the CristalTemper group is a legacy in Brazil due to the contribution its founder, Geraldo Vergilino de Freitas, has made to the evolution of the glass industry in Brazil. Since 1966, when he founded the first company of the group, his intention was to provide high quality glass with a transparent and dedicated work ethic. The first company, Vidraçaria Muriaé (Muriaé Glass Company), supplied windshields for cars, the success of which quickly opened the way to other markets.
The following years were essential to the development of the company, as they represented a period of considerable investment, both physically and financially, in its structure. Vergilino’s direct and dedicated approach led to the successful expansion of his business, opening various premises in the town of Muriaé in Minas Gerais state. It was not only the infrastructure that was growing, but also the company’s business activities and by 1980 the emphasis shifted to the sale and distribution of sheet glass in the region.
In 1997 Distribuidora de Vidros Muriaé (Muriaé Glass Distributors) was founded, with the intention of specializing in wholesale glass. Fast and unprecedented success quickly brought the decision to supply tempered (strengthened) glass, a previously poorly exploited product in Brazil. The company created its own brand, CristalTemper, which nowadays is internationally recognized.
As well as being the only glass producer to win a national prize for quality in 2008 (Prêmio de Qualidade Brasil), CristalTemper is certified by INMETRO (National Institute of Industrial Quality), and renowned for its constant investment in production technology to satisfy the growing demands of the market.
“We have the best technology available in the market,” says Administration Manager João Paulo Monteiro. In 2004, CristalTemper purchased a horizontal furnace for the tempering process, marking an important leap forward in the production of tempered glass in Brazil. The furnace can treat different sizes of sheet glass and a variety of thicknesses. Last year the company imported technology from Italy at the start of a project that will increase quality and productivity. New cutting tables, filing and finishing machines as well as improvements and extensions to existing technology have resulted in more streamlined and effective operations. “The new machines treat all the glass mechanically, which means that we can guarantee our high levels of quality, there is no margin for human error and a uniform finish is achieved,” explains Monteiro.
Despite the evolution in automated production processes, CristalTemper has not lost the human touch. Some pieces are still finished by hand, depending on the specifications and requirements of each product. The company manufactures two product lines: industrially produced, and personalized projects. “Personalized products are ordered directly by the client, and often require a manual finish. A glass table of a specific design, for example, receives specialist attention,” says Monteiro. The personalized products are ordered by the retail outlets, and are often one-off pieces. Orders can be placed on the newly developed company Web site (www.cristaltemper.com.br), which allows exclusive client access so that projects can be accompanied and approved online.
EXTENSIVE PRODUCT RANGE
Tempered crystal glass is around five times more resistant than normal glass, and in the event of breakage, shatters into small pieces without sharp edges to minimize the risk of injury. Sheet glass is treated at temperatures of 500 degrees Celsius to achieve the strength required. “In my opinion the Brazilian legislation will soon change to enforce the use of tempered glass across the board as a safety measure,” comments Monteiro. Such qualities make the glass an ideal material for a broad range of uses.
CristalTemper glass is used extensively by the construction industry. Anti-reflective and reflective glasses, as well as colored and frosted glass, are used in windows, partitions, shower cubicles and doors. The brand offers kits for bathrooms that include all the materials necessary to construct the shower cubicle including metal parts such as brackets, hinges and door handles. Highly advanced equipment produces well-rounded corners and detailed designs and finishes according to requirements. The Fantasia Line offers colored glass in different thicknesses and designs to adapt to any environment.
The company’s main factory is in Muriaé. Covering 59,000 square meters and employing 400 people, it has the capacity to produce 30,000 square meters of glass a month. Current investments in the infrastructure have resulted in an extension of the unit, and Monteiro predicts that this year production will increase by 80 percent. In fact, CristalTemper was reaching maximum capacity at the start of 2008 when investment in the expansion operations began. “In the first semester of 2008 we grew by almost 30 percent; in the second semester sales fell slightly. The 80 percent increase in productivity will represent complete recovery and a growth of 40 percent in 2009,” he explains.
More than 40 years of past experience have inspired intensive investment in CristalTemper’s future. Agile and efficient service guarantees the company’s close relationship with its clients. As an award winning brand recognized for its quality, CristalTemper has well-defined products and a clear strategy for continued success.