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SmartMelter®, a breakthrough solution for measuring refractory wall thickness, is monitoring the health of the bottom of a Cardinal Glass float line as it operates in its final months before a scheduled rebuild. Cardinal has partnered with PaneraTech, Inc, the developer of SmartMelter®, to lower the risk of operations by preventing surprise glass leaks.

The risk of a glass leak has always been a concern for glass manufacturers, who struggle to reduce the cost of repairs without pushing furnace wall thickness to dangerous levels. Without a way to determine actual wall thickness, managers have had to be cautious and make educated guesses about refractory conditions based on methods such as thermal imaging and well-kept records.

The development of SmartMelter® has completely changed the process of furnace health management. Using advanced radar technology, SmartMelter® can detect glass infiltration and  map the actual thickness of furnace walls. This allows the manufacturer to delay a costly shutdown for repairs as long as possible without the fear of a glass leak.

Cardinal Glass, a leading U.S. company in the development of residential glass for windows and doors, has a float line furnace scheduled for a rebuild in January 2017.  They had a common concern that their furnace bottom thickness might be eroding. The PaneraTech team used SmartMelter® to map the thickness of the furnace bottom. Once the measurements were taken, they were validated by Cardinal Glass with traditional drilling techniques.

Today, PaneraTech is helping Cardinal Glass assess wall conditions on a regular basis to ensure a safe shut down and rebuild of their furnace. Because they know the actual condition of refractory walls, they will not have to disrupt production unnecessarily before the scheduled rebuild date.

“SmartMelter® is one of the most innovative technologies developed to improve the life expectancy and operation of our float furnaces,” said Kelly Busch, Vice President of Technology at Cardinal Glass. “Cardinal is using the system on our floats for not only sidewall block measurements, but also furnace bottom thickness measurements, allowing us to accurately predict hot and cold repairs and safely operate and extend the life of our furnaces.”

PaneraTech is currently partnering with glass manufacturers who have a furnace in a critical stage through the SmartMelter® Demonstration Program (SDP). The program details are available on the SmartMelter website at


About PaneraTech

PaneraTech tackles the most challenging problems with cutting edge technologies. In partnerships with major glass manufacturers for over half a decade, our team pioneered the SmartMelter® solution for better insight into furnace health. Beginning as simply a wall thickness sensor, SmartMelter® has evolved into a comprehensive furnace management solution that enables you to better manage and optimize the life of your furnaces.


About Cardinal Glass

Cardinal Glass Industries leads the industry in the development of residential glass for windows and doors. We have grown to more than 6,000 employees located at 37 manufacturing locations around the United States. At Cardinal, we try to maintain a clear vision: design and fabricate the most advanced residential glass products in the industry.