For Andreas Mehlqvist, broken glass is just part of the daily scene. He is Bus Stop Manager for SL bus operator Nobina in Stockholm, and is responsible for over 4000 individual bus stops. He has also been Project Manager for a pilot project involving a changeover to unbreakable Hammerglass in around 20 of the bus shelters within Nobina’s Södertörn area.
– We selected those shelters that were most vulnerable and where we found we were replacing glass on an almost weekly basis. Since installing Hammerglass in September, we haven’t needed to change a single panel! We reckon we have saved upward of 100.000 SEK a month (10.000 €) on these 20 shelters alone – a really incredible figure!
Hammerglass is a specially coated polycarbonate – 300 times stronger than glass. In spite of the fact that the company behind the product, Hammerglass AB, has produced special mountings for fitting the panels into bus shelters, there have been problems in getting the product out onto the market.
– When big companies buy in toughened glass panels for bus shelters, the price is exceptionally low. Their Purchasing Managers are governed by the Public Procurement Act and are obliged to buy in at the lowest possible price – so they can keep strictly to their budgets. Any breakage and replacement that occurs comes under the operating budget, and that’s a matter for a different department, of course, says Ulf Bergström, speaking on behalf of the Hammerglass Infrastructure business division.
– Our panels are almost twice as expensive as toughened glass, so we do not get very far when we try to discuss these things. Unfortunately, the fact that they pay for themselves after the initial breakage is neither here nor there. We have tried to persuade most of the large public transport authorities, but their answer is always the same – we are too expensive, he continues. As a taxpayer, you get a bit fed up, of course, when these people just can’t manage to think outside the box. There is simply no co-ordination between purchasing and operations, otherwise they’d have fitted unbreakable glass in all the at-risk shelters. After SL accepted us as an alternative supplier, we are now extremely pleased with the initiative that Nobina has taken, and we hope more operators will follow suit.
Andreas Mehlqvist of Nobina was himself sceptical to begin with.
– Initially, we were afraid the panels would get plastered with graffiti, or else kicked out, but the really strong mountings from Hammerglass have meant the panels have remained firmly in place, and even where graffiti has been daubed over them it’s been easy to remove from the glossy surface, he says. We also thought that Hammerglass might burn, but that is clearly not the case. It is acrylic plastic that burns – Hammerglass doesn’t.
Andreas Mehlqvist further states that Nobina will ensure that more bus shelters are fitted with Hammerglass.
– It’s a lot less unpleasant for staff to clean up graffiti than to tramp around in broken glass carrying heavy sheets of glass. And in addition to the working environment and the cost saving, there’s also a third important factor that is at least as important, namely the fact that our customers can now wait for their buses in clean, undamaged bus shelters, says Anders Mehlquist, who believes several operators will follow Nobina’s initiative in protecting their bus shelters.
– So we are very pleased, and we will be happy for other operators to come and visit us on a study trip, he comments in conclusion.
For the newbuilding of police stations, schools, shops and the like, Hammerglass panes are provided in ready-made frame solutions from window and door manufacturers. When it comes to the reinforcement of existing property, the panes are fitted outside or inside the existing window glass – like an invisible grille. The company’s solutions already protect more than 20 police stations in southern Sweden, in addition to the thousands of other properties which since 1994 have been protected with Hammerglass.
Many exposed premises have previously been protected with safety film which is applied to the inside of the glass pane. This film provides protection against objects being thrown and may also protect against explosions to a very limited extent (max class ERP1). But today’s threat looks different. A car bomb with several hundred kilograms of explosive will force in windows within a radius of several blocks. Hammerglass has been tested with explosive charges equivalent to 100 kg TNT detonated at a distance of 14 metres. The weak point then becomes the actual mounting of the frame within the property concerned. With the aid of window frame anchors and strength calculations, however, there are solutions for most façade types. The protection itself consists of a 12 mm Hammerglass pane which only weighs 14.4 kg/m².
A normal Hammerglass pane will withstand gunfire from simpler hand weapons. Where the threat is more serious, Hammerglass is available in a laminated, splinter-free version which also protects against high-velocity weapons (protection class BR6-NS).
Over the last 5 years Hammerglass screens have been fitted in hundreds of ambulances which are in service right across Scandinavia. As a result of a unique co-operation scheme with the defence group Hutchinson we offer to retrofit vehicles...
The vehicles will be used both as emergency vehicles and as private security vehicles for politicians, business leaders, embassy personnel etc. It is also possible to retrofit all or parts of the protective equipment on existing vehicles.
Hammerglass AB has won its biggest order so far from Africa. The exclusive residential area of Hoda Village in Accra, Ghana, has chosen to install 12 mm Hammerglass (heat-reducing) IR-panels in sliding partitions and side windows in a major residential area. The order is worth close on 3 million SEK and will be delivered during the second quarter.
– Together with our agent in Ghana we’ve been working on this project for over a year now, so it feels good to finally make it like this, says Hammerglass Export Manager Ingrid Timmermans. Security issues are high on the agenda in many African countries, and our products have been shown to work really well in the locations where they have been installed. In addition to our glass-clear panels we also offer green- or grey-tinted Hammerglass IR, which reduces solar heat radiation by about 50%, so as well as the customer getting an unbreakable glazing solution there’s also a marked reduction in the cooling requirements of the property in question.
Torbjörn Timmermans is Business Manager for Hammerglass Property, the property installation division of Hammerglass AB, and along with the local agent he has been in dialogue with local property owners, window suppliers and building firms in Ghana.
– It’s been very important for this project to have mutual understanding and close co-operation between the parties involved. As we’re going to make the order to specification here in Förslöv, everything has got to tally exactly – dimensions, mounting technology, transport solutions, customs clearance and local freight handling. As luck would have it, we’re beginning to acquire a bit of experience of ingenious export solutions – if you haven’t got that experience, it’s easy to suddenly find yourself in difficulties when you least expect it. In total, it will be a few tons of Hammerglass that are eventually shipped out, so it will take a little while to get through that with our production facilities.
In recent years, Hammerglass Property has really extended its reach on the export side and already has a number of prestige projects in Kuwait, England, Canada, the USA and Cyprus in the bag. Its investment in Canada and the USA is expected to show strong growth in the next few years, and at the moment a lot of money and effort are being expended on certification and local approvals in those countries.
–Where export solutions are concerned, we have learned to respect time horizons. It is not unusual for us to be working 2 or even 3 years on a project before it actually comes to fruition. We’re aware, though, that Sweden has a very strong brand, and that it inspires confidence when we can combine the appeal of our own brand with the fact that both production and product development all take place in Sweden. We’ve got a 4-man strong Engineering Department, and the fact we can produce ready-to-use, strength calculated solutions that are also drawn in 3D makes things a lot easier. It makes communication a lot simpler, and adds further weight to that sense of trustworthiness that we need to project as a small company operating in a global market, concludes Ingrid Timmermans.
The public transport system in Liverpool is continually affected by vandalism in bus shelters and travel centres. A decision was therefore taken on the use of long-term solutions for both rebuilds and newbuilds. When Kirkby Bus Station was to be rebuilt, the architects contacted Hammerglass AB for assistance with the choice of materials, design and fixing solutions.
The project was budgeted at over 300.000 € and Hammerglass panes were installed by the co-operation partner, the Wilde Group, which operates across large areas of the United Kingdom. The Wilde Group has specialised in shell protection and works largely within the public sector. 12 mm Hammerglass sheets were used for this project. As the architects wanted glass-clear edges, all sides of the panes had to be bevelled and diamond-polished. The panes were manufactured to size in Förslöv and then shipped over to Liverpool for installation.
– For our part, we at Hammerglass hope this will prove to be just the first of a series of projects in Liverpool, says Hammerglass AB Export Manager Ingrid Timmermans. We’ve done a number of jobs both in England, Scotland and Ireland, but this is the first time we’ve been so heavily involved right from the start of the project. Here, we’ve been relied upon for both design solutions, strength calculations and simulation models. Many of the earlier supply contracts have been for unbreakable insulating glass destined for what is referred to in the UK as ‘social housing’, that is to say apartment complexes for society’s most vulnerable groups. Because we’re holders of a ‘Secured by Design’ certificate, which is the system used by UK police forces for approved and recommended safety solutions, we receive a lot of enquiries from areas where our glass and our competence are in demand, continues Ingrid Timmermans.
Ulf Bergström, the Hammerglass Infrastructure Division Manager, participated in the project as an expert and was able to bring to it his experience from similar travel centre projects in Sweden.
– We’ve been able to bring with us lessons we’ve learned from installations we’ve carried out in Växjö, Stockholm, Täby and, most recently, Älmhult, says Ulf Bergström. The fixing solutions are important, because it shouldn’t after all be possible for unbreakable panes simply to be kicked out of their mountings. And it’s just as important to be able to produce precise measurements for bevelled panes and to map out in advance where we might experience problems with fitting the panes into the steel structures. The Kirkby Bus Station project all ran very smoothly, and the customer appears pleased, so we’ll see what the future has to offer us, says Ulf Bergström in conclusion.
Hammerglass is a specially coated polycarbonate sheet – which is 300 times stronger than glass and is almost unbreakable. The unique surface is wear-resistant and makes graffiti removal easy. Thanks to nanotechnology, the panes can also be used as an insulating glass – something which is not otherwise possible with polycarbonate.