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May 2020—Vol.43 No.5



Glass International May 2020

And we’re still sparking a brighter future.

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sees what others can’t.

Neutron® identifies thin and thick areas by mapping glass distribution inside your entire container– no matter the shape – with no contact at full production speed.

Contents Editor: Greg Morris Tel: +44 (0)1737 855132 Email: Assistant Editor: George Lewis Tel: +44 (0)1737 855154 Email: Designer: Annie Baker

May 2020 Vol.43 No 5

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Company profile: Piramal Glass Transformation to a digital glass manufacturer


Furnaces: Paneratech Inspections before and after Covid-19


Furnaces: Electroglass: Can the glass industry meet emission targets?


Furnaces: Sorg An electric melter for all types of glass


Furnaces: FIC UK The future of glass furnaces


Company Profile: GCA GCA plots second furnace


Furnaces: Wieland Electric Safe combustion made easy


Furnaces: Fives Melting solutions for industrial projects


Furnaces: Gem Projects Glass colour change challenges


Furnaces: Teco Group Flat bottom furnaces


Inspection: Tiama Hot end sampling solutions


Recycling: Recresco Recycling goes backward during Covid-19


Furnaces: Heye International Chinese beer supplier uses swabbing robots


Digital glassmaking: Digital provides opportunity in crisis


History: Iron out problems

Managing Director Tony Crinion


Chief Executive Officer: Steve Diprose Chairman: Paul Michael

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Member of British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation

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Printed in UK by: Pensord, Tram Road, Pontlanfraith, Blackwood, Gwent NP12 2YA, UK. Glass International Directory 2019 edition: UK £206, all other countries £217. Printed in UK by: Marstan Press Ltd, Kent DA7 4BJ Glass International (ISSN 0143-7838) (USPS No: 020-753) is published 10 times per year by Quartz Business Media Ltd, and distributed in the US by DSW, 75 Aberdeen Road, Emigsville, PA 17318-0437. Periodicals postage paid at Emigsville, PA. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Glass International c/o PO Box 437, Emigsville, PA 17318-0437.

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International News



May 2020—Vol.43 No.5

Close the Glass Loop aims for 90% recycling



Glass International May 2020

FRONT COVER IMAGE: And we’re still sparking a brighter future.

The new normal?

Hopefully by the time many of you read this the majority of the world will be slowly coming out of lockdown and preparing for the new normal (whatever that means). While the worst of the virus appears to be over and I write this with fingers crossed, touching wood and holding every lucky charm conceivable - the next step governments face is resurrecting national economies and preparing for life where social distancing is a habit. For those of us who have spent lockdown at home, we have become used to the array of benefits digital technologies provide, whether it is the latest box set to watch or staying connected with friends, school and colleagues via video streaming sites. Can you imagine trying to get through lockdown without any internet connection? Technology came into its own during this period and is likely to be embraced in the near future too while the world rights itself. Home working and video calls will be an integral part of our lives for a while. What does this mean for the glass industry? While many glass plants were off-limits to outsiders during the pandemic, they relied on virtual guidance for technical support, particularly in crucial areas such as the hot end. Much has been spoken about the use of digital technology in glassmaking, maybe the crisis will be the kickstart required for glassmakers to embrace new technology. Perhaps this will be the new normal.

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VISIT: for daily news updates

SGD Pharma plots €37 million post Covid-19 expansion French pharmaceutical glass manufacturer SGD Pharma is plotting a €37 million investment at two sites, reports It is accelerating the implementation of its 2020 investment plan ahead of what it perceives as extended demand from the health sector in the post Covid-19 world. The investment will be injected in its Saint-Quen-

tin-Lamotte (Somme) and Sucy-en-Brie (Val-de-Marne), glassworks. It will expand its second furnace at its Sucy facility, equipping its hot end with forming machines to deal with the requirements of post-epidemic production, as well as developing its control capabilities in the cold end. Work is planned to start in June.

FEVE’s Close the Glass Loop campaign has partnered with Municipal Waste Europe (MWE) to achieve a postconsumer glass container collection target of 90%. The MWE is the European umbrella association representing public responsibility for waste while Close the Glass Loop is an industry stewardship programme for glass packaging. As well as a 90% collection rate the aim is to also ensure the packaging is recycled into the container glass production loop to come back as a new packaging.

Glassworks produce face shield holders

Glassworkers from O-I and Stoelzle have produced face shield holders using 3D printing to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Workers at Stoelzle Czestochowa in Poland produced face shield holders using 3D printing. They are assembled with plexiglass shields supplied by another company and then donated to a local hospital. O-I is using its 3D printing capability to make face shield frames, which are a piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) for members of the Northwest Ohio medical community. The medical staff are on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis. The glassmaker collaborated with industrial automation company Robex to make the shields.

Gerresheimer’s Indianplants help people

Gerresheimer plants in the Indian city of Kosamba have responded to to the Gujarat state government’s call for help in the wake of Covid-19. The company is supplying 500 food packages to employees and migrant workers affected by the travel ban due to border closures. SGD’s Saint-Quentin-Lamotte plant will benefit from the €37 million extension

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International News


Bormioli Pharma completes acquisition

Mexican glass container manufacturer Glass&Glass plans to install a second furnace at its manufacturing plant in Altamira, Tamaulipas. The 200 tonnes a day furnace is scheduled to be ready by summer 2021 and is being constructed to meet a growth in demand for the company’s glass products. Glass&Glass was formed in

2011 and started production with a single 100t/day furnace and four lines in 2012. It is dedicated to the production of glass containers and has a variety of type III quality products, designed to provide solutions to the perfume, wine and liqueurs industry, as well as household glassware. Its customers include the perfume giant Fraiche.

Glass&Glass offers its services throughout Latin America and the United States. As well as its manufacturing plant it has offices in Mexico City, Altamira, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. An interview with the company’s General Director, Raymundo Morales, will appear in the June issue of Glass International.

EME commissions batch house at Industria Vidriera de Coahuila (IVC) German batch plant provider EME has commissioned a second batch house including automatic return system for Mexican container glass manufacturer IVC at its Piedras Negras plant. EME commissioned its first batch plant at the site in 2012.

The second batch plant was commissioned in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic. IVC’s batch plant supplies batch for furnace 5 with a total capacity of 950 tonnes per day in flint and amber glass production. The EME design integrated

economic concrete silos with a head house in steel. EME said its equipment made for high efficiency at th batch plant. Raw materials weighing, mixing and batch transport is controlled from a specialised EME batch control system.

O-I delays Australasia sale O-I has halted the sale of its Australia and NZ business in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a financial note it said it had halted the review of the business for the time being

and will continue to run the operations, which are performing well. The world’s largest container glass manufacturer said: “As market conditions stabilise, the company will re-evaluate

alternatives for ANZ.” The Perrysburg, USA headquartered organisation added the company’s tactical divestiture programme continues to advance, but at a slower than anticipated pace.

Mir Stekla 2020 postponed until next year

The Mir Stekla glass trade show in Moscow, Russia has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which focuses on the production, processing and application of glass will now take place between June 7 and 10, 2021 in the same venue, the Expocentre Fairgrounds in Moscow.

Wheaton Brasil to install Vertech’s SIL technology

Wheaton Brasil is to install Vertech’s SIl technology at its Sao Paulo glass manufacturing plant. It is the 100th plant around the world to install the SIL system. Vertech’s SILC, SILX, SILXQual, SILXMould and SILXPallet will be installed on 23 production lines, within its laboratory and in the mould shop of the plant. The facility specialises in the production of cosmetics bottles. Wheaton Brasil is a manufacturer of perfume and cosmetics glass bottles, as well as pharmaceutical bottles.

CelSian extends webinar training programme

CelSian has extended its weekly webinar training in May and June. Its three-hour sessions take place every week at 2 PM CET. For more information visit academy/ or email academy@

Glass&Glass plots second furnace at Mexican plant

Italian glass manufacturer Bormioli Pharma has completed the acquisition of GCL Pharma for €8.9 million. GCL Pharma is an Italian company that specialises in pharma closures. Bormioli Pharma said: “It’s a new and relevant step in the right direction along our growth path, allowing us to serve the global pharma industry with more energy and renewed resources.”

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International News

Vetrobalsamo signs up for Vertech’s SIL technology Vertech’ has signed a collaboration in Italy with the future installation of SIL at Vetrobalsamo’s Sesto San Giovanni plant. The glass bottle manufacturer has chosen the full package option: the MES will be installed on all production lines of the plant. Vertech’ has more than 20 Italian plants equipped with SIL.

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Bucher Emhart Glass sales drop by a third due to Covid-19 Bucher Emhart Glass recorded a drop in order intake and sales by more than a third in the first quarter of the year. In its first quarter financial report, the Swiss engineering company reported sales of CHF 84 million ($86.9 million) compared to CHF 130 million ($134.5 million) in the same period of 2019. This is a 30.1% drop after currency, acquisition and divestment effects are taken into account. The glass forming and inspection specialist said it was due to postpone-

ments in connection with the switch to the new ERP product management system and the repercussions of the pandemic. It had temporary production shutdowns in China, Malaysia and partly in the USA, while travel restrictions made it difficult or impossible to install the systems at customers’ sites. But its order book continued to grow, rising by 12.2% from the previous year to CHF 253 million ($261.8 million) compared to CHF244 million ($252.5 million) the year before. In a financial note -

which commented on all five of the group’s divisions - Bucher Industries, said: “The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has significantly increased the uncertainty and is likely to have an increasingly negative impact on demand for the products and services of Bucher Industries.” The group has expanded its committed credit facilities by CHF 140 million to CHF 300 million. The group has also cancelled its glasstec 2020 participation, citing health and safety reasons from the pandemic.

Fevisa continues production Mexican beer bottle manufacturer Fevisa is continuing to produce glass. The Mexicali-headquartered glass manufacturer said all its production lines were running as normal. While glass making has been declared an essential business, the Mexican government had originally

deemed beer as a non-essential industry at the end of March. On April 6 it appeared to relent, re-instating it as an essential industry, but shortly afterwards clarified it was a non-essential business. But breweries which export are still running – which means they require

glass bottles to fill their beverages. Fevisa’s President, Juan Rafael Silva Garcia, said “As Fevisa clients directly or indirectly export to the USA, we are running all of our lines.” Fevisa serves the beer, Wine, Tequila and food sectors.

Glass International May 2020

01/06/2020 07:32:31

Consistent, end-to-end digitalization ensures lasting success


Generate and collect operating data effectively – and use it for business success

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In order to sustainably reduce operating costs in the glass industry, plants must be thoroughly optimized. Using a digital twin, system components can be tested before commissioning and the entire plant sections optimized while in operation. This enables you to maintain your leading market position while boosting the productivity and availability of your plant for the long term. Let Siemens accompany you on the path toward a digital future – as your partner.

06.03.18 10:48

International News


Friends of Glass urge brands to use glass

Pan-European consumer movement Friends of Glass is calling on brands to make the switch back to glass. The move comes after a new survey shows that shoppers are reporting that their favourite brands have started using less glass packaging The independent survey of more than 10,000 consumers across 13 European countries, found that in the UK, 32% could no longer choose to buy their regular shopping favourites in glass. However, despite this drop in availability of popular products in glass, the same survey showed that 57% of consumers in the UK still prefer glass because of its superior environmental credentials.

O-I reports ‘solid’ first quarter but warns of Covid-19 impact

O-I reported solid first quarter earnings – but warned of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for the rest of the year. The world’s largest container glass manufacturer said it benefitted from a favourable price mix as well as good cost performance. It said: “Fortunately, the manufacture of glass containers has been largely viewed as essential to the important food and beverage value chain in the countries in which we operate. “However, we are still impacted by the broader supply chain issues and in some cases certain end use categories that we serve are not deemed essential.”

Arc secures loan

French tableware manufacturer Arc International has secured a €31 million state loan. The company, based in Arques, employs 4600 people. The aid comes from the Economic and Social Development Fund (FDES) and has an interest rate of less than 1%.

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US container glass manufacturers applaud Chinese antidumping duty decision Container glass staff saluted for their efforts Glass&Glass plots second furnace O-I reports solid financials - but warns of Covid 19 impact SGD Pharma plots expansion Heye’s swabbing robots commissioned by Chinese beer supplier Turkey’s GCA plans to expand with second furnace Fevisa continues to produce glass containers O-I Australasia sale delayed Libbey takes cost cutting measurers

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Forglass designs PCR cullet handling system for Stoelzle Forglass has been selected by Stoelzle Glass Group to design, fabricate and install a cullet handling system at its Köflach plant, Austria. The challenge presented by the client was to increase the capacity of cullet transport and reduce its overall footprint at the same time. The Forglass-designed system will handle the unloading of PCR cullet brought in by truck or bucket loader, storing it in three new silos and dosing it directly on to belt con-

veyors. The Polish glass technology supplier will also design and construct a steel-framed building for the entire system, which will be attached to the existing batch plant. The Forglass technology is based on dedicated equipment for unloading the PCR cullet, crushing it to a predetermined size, then transporting it via vibrating chutes and bucket elevators into the silos, designed particularly to handle abrasive materials.

Dosing of the material will be accomplished by belt scales, placed directly under the silos. The client will enjoy the nearly doubled cullet storage capacity and an increased overall efficiency of the cullet line by 25%. The compact design of the transport system will occupy much less space than the old system,will gain the ability to control cullet size, thanks to a crusher, designed and manufactured by Forglass.

Kenya supports 25% glass duty Kenya’s major glass manufacturers have supported the government’s move to impose a 25% excise duty on glass imports. Consol Glass and Milly Glass say local manufacturers have the capacity to meet domestic demand.

They said the government was protecting local industry from imports dumped from Egypt, the Middle East and Comesa countries. Bottles often ended up in the hands of producers of illicit brews because of the dumping.

The 25% duty was introduced through the Business Laws (Amendment) Act, 2020. Kenya’s glass manufacturers said many Egyptian producers often recieved givernment subsidies. The new Kenyan tax would create a level playing field they said.

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International News


Pyrex acquisition

The owner of the Pyrex glass brand has been acquired by a European private equity firm. International Cookware Group and its subsidiaries were sold to London-based Kartesia. The International Cookware Group designs, manufactures and distributes cookware equipment, made of borosilicate glass. It is primarily sold under the iconic Pyrex brand, which International Cookware commercialises across EMEA under a licencing agreement granted by Corning Inc and Corning Limited.

Guardian Glass cancels glasstec 2020 date

Guardian Glass has decided not to participate at glasstec 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made with the health and safety of its employees and customers in mind.

Horn Glass progresses with expansion

Horn Glass is progressing with an expansion of its offices. The company is constructing a new building wing at its Ploessberg Germany headquarters which will house 60 staff. Smaller office units, fitted for two to three people, instead of open-plan offices enable the teams to create an inspiring and productive working atmosphere. The project is scheduled to be finished by mid of 2020.

DGG-USTV conference cancelled

A glass technology conference organised by colleague in France and Germany has been cancelled due to Covid-19. The USTV-DGG conference was due to take place in Orleans, France between June 15-19, 2020. It is a collaboration between the French Union for Science and Glass Technology (USTV) and the German Society of Glass Technology (DGG).

US manufacturers applaud Chinese antidumping decision US container glass manufacturers have welcomed a decision into antidumping duties of Chinese imports of glass. The US Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation into Chinese imports of glass containers. It found that Chinese producers of glass containers dumped glass containers in the United States and assigned antidumping duty rates as high as 255.68%. This determination accompanies an affirmative prelim-

inary determination in the companion countervailing duty (CVD) investigation on glass containers, which was reached in February 2020 and yielded margins ranging from 22.60% to 315.73%. The American Glass Packaging Coalition (AGPC), a coalition of producers of food and beverage glass packaging containers, filed AD and CVD petitions on September 25, 2019. It requested Commerce investigate unfair pricing and subsidisation of the Chinese glass container industry. Unfair pricing has resulted

in an influx of cheaply priced imports of glass containers, which have severely harmed the US container industry. “Chinese producers of glass containers are selling at dumped prices in the United States, which harm the domestic glass container industry,” said Daniel B. Pickard, partner in the International Trade Practice at Wiley Rein LLP and counsel to the AGPC. Photo Marco Verch, h t t p s : / / w w w. f l i c k r. c o m / photos/30478819@ N08/40470462190

Baccarat extends partial layoffs Luxury French glass manufacturer Baccarat has extended the partial unemployment of its staff until July 4. The layoffs had originally been planned until the end of

April but has been extended as a result of the Covid -19 pandemic. Of the site’s 520 employees, only about 50 of them are still working to maintain the fur-

naces. A team of a further 10 employees is expected to resume work this month in order to fulfil the few orders the company receives.

Zippe increases capacity at Siam Cullet recycling plant Siam Cullet recently commissioned a post-consumer glass recycling plant in Thailand supplied by Zippe. The supply of the recently concluded order comprised a recycling plant including

metal and non-ferrous metal separation, a screen conveyor, organic separation, ceramic, stone, and porcelain separation (CSP), as well as colour sorting. Capacity has increased to 45

tonnes per hour after initially being 30 tonnes/hour. The plant operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and operates to the customer’s full satisfaction.

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Company profile: Piramal Glass

Piramal Glass’s transformation to a digital glass manufacturer Piramal Glass describes itself as a trailblazer in the use of digital technology in glassmaking. Working with global brands such as Microsoft, it has transformed its operational procedures to include digital technoplogy in the manufacturing process. Greg Morris spoke to its CDO and CIO, Poorav Sheth.


hen the Microsoft CEO gave a conference paper about the digital transformation at Piramal Glass, it was one of the proudest moments of Poorav Sheth’s time at the company. The Indian container glassmaker had been working with the world’s largest computer software company on its digital journey. So successful was the partnership, that Microsoft leader, Satya Nadella, discussed the company’s digital transformation to a number of global CEOs at a global conference. For Piramal Glass’s Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information Officer (Pictured above) the moment represented validation of what the company had achieved in recent years.

Vision While terminology such as Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Smart Manufacturing seemed like something from a science fiction film just a few years ago, they are part of Piramal Glass’s vocabularly today. This was in part thanks to its Vice-Chairman, Vijay Shah, who predicted that such technology could disrupt industry and bring extra efficiencies

to the glassmaking process. Mr Sheth joined the company nearly four years ago after a career previously working with an IT service provider helping customers with their digital transformation. After meeting Mr Vijay Shah, Piramal Glass Vice Chairman, he was excited by his vision. Mr Sheth said: “When I joined it was a clean slate approach. The role was how to leverage some of these emerging or new age technologies to transform the business, so that was the overall charter.” Although Mr Sheth was a newcomer to the glass industry he was familiar with manufacturing thanks to his family background. He set about gaining as much glass knowledge as possible. “The glass industry has few reference points so it was not like joining the auto industry and talking to people to find out what the industry is like. Glass is niche industry and a lot of things I found on my own. The first three months were discovery, understanding the business and the process, it was very interesting.” Piramal Glass forged a digital strategy and worked with partners to identify some of the processes where digital technology could be applied. Mr Sheth visited plants and offices in other industries to gain an idea of how digital could be used in glassmaking. A series of workshops were organised with the company’s business teams to pinpoint where digital could be implemented. A total of 60 cases throughout the business were identified where digital could be leveraged to improve the business. These were prioritised and the company set about implementation. It focused on four themes: smart manufacturing, smart supply chain, a digital workplace and the customer experience. Mr Sheth said: “Our overall vision is how to make Piramal Glass an insight-driven organisation, to transform customer experience, to enhance operation experience and generate new revenue models by leveraging digital technology.” Continued>>

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Company profile: Piramal Glass


� It has a corporate office in Mumbai, with manufacturing plants in Kosamba and Jambusar, both in Gujarat, India. Its Sri Lankan glass plant is in Horana and its US plant in Missouri. Its decoration facility is also in Kosamba. � Its use of RTMI has reduced manual data gathering by 40%, resulting in a 25% improvement in employee productivity.

Smart manufacturing Like many glass plants, its sites used to use a lot of paper and manual processes. In 2017 the digital team piloted three production lines at its Kosamba, Gujarat plant in India, integrated them with digital equipment and connected them to the cloud. It used Microsoft Azure IoT platforms to get real-time visibility into its manufacturing operations and analyse the defects at various stages. To facilitate the transformation, Websym, a Microsoft partner, brought in its plant monitoring system hosted on Microsoft Azure. Using Azure IoT Hub, data from equipment and high-speed production line sensors was pushed to the cloud for further analysis. With its technology partners Piramal Glass developed a Real Time Manufacturing Insights (RTMI) solution, to provide losses, production reports and quality control workflows, as well as KPIs on the personal computers and smartphones of plant personnel. Alerts are sent through SMS, email, and push notifications whenever there is an anomaly detected or a drop in production efficiency. Such was RTMI’s success that it was then upscaled to 60 production lines at Piramal Glass’s plants in India, Sri Lanka and the US, within six months. “RTMI for us besides being a visibility, workflow and dashboard tool, is also a source of data for us, and with the data we are using we can create machine-learning models.” The company is pushing the data to a larger platform and building AI models which can predict certain things such as quality failures and what the

best parameters are for certain job runs. Similarly the data can be integrated with a furnace – known as the furnace digital twin – for more analysis such as correcting the temperature and reducing energy consumption. The technology brought many benefits, with the most notable its production efficiency. “Depending on which product or production line, this was 1 to 2% in the first year which in the glass industry is a big deal.”

Digital journey While the company has made massive progress on its digital journey there is still some way to go before it reaches its destination. “We are the trailblazers because we have taken a lot of early decisions in moving in this direction. “But we are still some way away in terms of the ideal state. We recently started acquiring the data and building the models but implementing them, operationalising them, and peaking them is something that will take a period of time.” He is keen to stress that humans still have a vital role to play in the glassmaking process. Training has taken place to upscale employees and familiarise them with the new processes. It has organised a digital champions training programme which has helped train people from production process on ways of working with the new technology. “We want some of the key operations people to be upskilled enough to take on some of these key data science initiatives. “We want to augment the decision making to employees and help them make the right decision at the right time. Technology and data will help them make the correct decision. “Glassmaking is an art and what we are doing is blending the science with the art.”

Supply chain It has also modified other areas of the organisation. Using telematics, a product can be tracked from the moment it leaves a glass plant until it reaches a customer. Continued>>

� Piramal Glass produces 1,375 tonnes of glass per day on 60 production lines.

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Company profile: Piramal Glass



Piramal Glass, Mumbai, India


So even if it is on a ship in the middle of the ocean Piramal can confidently tell a customer where a glass container is and when they are due to receive it. Similarly, its warehouses have complete tracking systems enabling complete traceability of products. The company has an innovation hub where employees are invited to submit ideas through their smart phones or desktop. It has been running for three years and has so far generated 16,000 ideas of which, 250 were converted into projects. It has also formed a digital classroom which has been particialry beneficial for hard to replicate training, such as furnace maintenance. It has also built a virtual reality platform which allows people to tour the plant and interact with its workings. Glass is regarded as a Business to Business industry, but Piramal has introduced Business to Consumer elements to its customer experience, including an app of its product range. It has also built an entire Virtual Reality headset application where customers can get a 360 degrees tour of plant. “A lot of customers want to visit plants, but due to coronavirus they cannot travel, so this is an ideal way to see the plants,” states Mr Sheth. One big focus as a result of the cyber implementation has been its cyber security. It has worked with Microsoft and other vendors to ensure it is not vulnerable to an attack by hackers. It has a chief information security officer as well as a technology architecture team, that validates both its information technology and its operational technology. While its customer base is sometimes thousands of miles away in places such as France, the new technologies have enabled it to become closer to its customer. Giant strides have been made by Piramal Glass in a relatively short space of time. But more advances - such as the increased use of robotics - will be commonplace in the future states Mr Sheth. “If you can blend humans, robotics and AI to work seamlessly, I think that is the end goal.” �

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SmartMelter Inspections during and after Covid-19 Lockdowns

� 22kg Compact rolling case containing

two sets of equipment


lass melting furnaces continue to wear and degrade during a crisis and won’t wait for lockdowns and travel bans to pass. In contrast to repair and construction companies who must be on-site to perform their services, SmartMelter has given customers the flexibility to conduct self-performed repeat inspections to monitor refractory corrosion for years. Most repeat customers make use of this option. Covid-19 has produced unique challenges to SmartMelter, as it has to every business. One of these challenges is that customers have less personnel in their facilities as they try to to keep as few employees in the factory as necessary. This means engineers and hot maintenance personnel who are not directly involved in daily production are working reduced hours or remotely. Those employees who are still showing up are working in staggered shifts and maintaining physical distance to reduce the chance of infections. The new challenges also include: � Getting to customers – especially first-time customers – to label the furnace and train plant personnel. � Helping customers who can’t perform their own furnace scans during times of lockdowns. For the first challenge of getting to customers, we have developed a new self-inspect programme to equip initial customers to be self-sufficient. Under this scenario, we send the equipment (a single 22kg rolling case) to customers and teach them how to label the furnace and use

the equipment. This is done via videoconference and training videos we have developed for this purpose. These customers have a SmartMelter coach available during all working hours in their time zone to assist on the phone. Daily check-ins are conducted as well to review the progress and data collected. We also give these customers longer equipment lease periods to allow them to inspect at their own pace or with limited personnel. This new variation on firsttime inspections has already been sold to customers on three continents. One of these inspections led to the customer having to cancel a marketdriven colour change to flint and will affect the scope and timing of an upcoming intermediate repair. For the second challenge, which is helping customers who can’t scan the furnace themselves due to dire circumstances, we get creative. PaneraTech has field engineers on three continents who can at a minimum serve customers in the country where they live. Our Certified Partner, Fosbel, expands this reach even further. Customers who are near a Fosbel technician have the option to receive a comprehensive furnace audit that includes a SmartMelter report and targeted recommendations. For standalone SmartMelter inspections, we also have access to contract technicians who are geographically close to customers and can operate our equipment. Our practice has always been to teach the customer to be self-sufficient at

data collection. Even during the initial inspection, we have typically shared the burden of collecting data with the customer. It has always been a partnership. Now, with physical distancing so important, we can offer to perform the entire inspection. There is no need for the technician to interact with the plant personnel or touch the customer’s computer to upload data. All we need is WiFi access or to tether to a mobile phone. The customer receives an email from us with a link to install the SmartMelter XSight software. From there, he can monitor the inspection progress remotely. Again, no interaction with plant personnel is necessary. We managed to conduct this type of inspection for the Italian manufacturer Vetrerie Riunite during the darkest hours of the Coronavirus crisis in northern Italy without endangering the plant personnel or our field engineer. Our inspection revealed that the throat needed to be overcoated immediately. These inspections that require us to do everything through a third party or our own field engineer are more costly. Pricing is also being updated to reflect the savings when customers scan the furnace themselves.

What happens to the industry after lockdowns are lifted? We hope lockdowns are a thing of the past by the time this article is printed. Continued>>

What will life be like for glassmakers after the lockdown? Fred Aker* discusses how manufacturers can assess their furnaces in the most challenging of circumstances.

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Depending on how long the ‘newnormal’ takes, things are going to get complicated. Will there be mandatory quarantines when crossing borders? If so, the measures addressed above will address this situation for SmartMelter. For customers who need other services, things will get complicated. � They may continue to not have access to specialised furnace repair and maintenance skills. Especially in less developed countries. � Repair and furnace construction companies need to catch up for the weeks/months that they lost. Due to this backlog of work, rebuilds and repairs will need to be delayed. � Supply chains have been interrupted. While specialised equipment such as IS, ware handling, and inspection machines have continued to be produced during lockdowns, the specialists from Europe and the USA have not been able to travel to customers to install and commission this equipment. This will lead to further delays and require furnaces on their last legs to operate longer than planned.

How can SmartMelter help with these challenges? SmartMelter can determine what maintenance is immediately necessary and what can wait. Our experience has been that many companies are too conservative with maintenance. They overcoat more than is necessary and before it is necessary/prudent to do so. We can help customers make condition-based decisions. We can also monitor the insulation for early glass or metal penetration, giving manufacturers the confidence to possibly operate a furnace for a year or longer than planned. We can detect and quantify problems long before there are thermal or visual indications through the insulation. This will be especially important for certain sectors of the glass industry. On one end of the spectrum, we have pharmaceutical glass producers who will be especially critical for providing ongoing medical supplies. To quote the New York Times from May 2, 2020: “Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, whose foundation is spending $250 million to help spur vaccine development, has warned about a critical shortage of a mundane but vital component: medical glass. “Without sufficient supplies of the glass,

life of their assets while reducing the probability of a catastrophic leak may be necessary for their survival. This holds true for any low margin glass sector.


� Poor monitoring of a glass furnace. Courtesy of the Millville, NJ Fire Department.

there will be too few vials to transport the billions of doses that will ultimately be needed.” While we respectfully disagree with Mr. Gates or New York Times categorisation of glass as ‘mundane’, we do agree that pharmaceutical glass will continue to play a life and death role in this crisis. Depending on the vaccine developed, 7-14 billion doses will need to be administered. These critical infrastructure operations cannot afford any unplanned or avoidable downtime. On the other end, we will have especially hard-hit glass segments. These include tableware makers who are primarily selling into the hospitality industry (restaurants, hotels, bars). Tableware producers were already living on razor-thin margins before Covid-19. Anything they can do to extend the

Where do we expect SmartMelter services to develop in the future? We expect more customers to perform their own data collection with our easy to operate equipment. This will save money on inspections while reducing the number of outsiders entering plants. The turnaround time on this equipment including shipping will be much slower than if PaneraTech or our certified partner Fosbel is hand-carrying equipment to the plant and leaving with the equipment following completion of the data collection. We have prepared for this by building additional sets of our proprietary hardware and making it even easier to use. No matter how the industry wants to execute inspections, SmartMelter will be available through multiple channels to serve the customer’s needs. This may be through our Certified Partner, Fosbel, self-service, contract technicians or PaneraTech field engineers. It is not important how the data is collected. The value we provide is in the analysis of that data and the resulting reports and recommendations. This allows customers to plan the life cycle of their furnaces with deterministic data. �

*Vice President Sales & Marketing at PaneraTech, Chantilly, Virginia, USA

� Marked up photo to help label the furnace.

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Can the glass industry meet emission reduction targets? Richard Stormont* says the answer to this question is YES, and the technology is already here.


� Fig 2. Two Electroflex container glass electric .

� Fig 1. The insulating batch blanket of a cold-top electric melter. small fraction of the emissions from .conventional fossil fuel fired melting. The difference becomes even greater when taking account of variations in the actual output of furnaces in relation to their nominal capacity. Such variations are almost inevitable due to product mix, market demand, machine maintenance and furnace age and condition. The thermal efficiency of the cold-top all-

electric melter remains high even at reduced pull, in contrast to the fuel-fired furnace, in which thermal efficiency reduces sharply as output is reduced (Fig 2). While most glassmakers are well aware of the energy consumption and cost of their furnaces, many take little account of the fuel consumption and cost of conventional gas-fired forehearths and distributor channels. With small combustion chambers and limited scope for waste heat recovery, the thermal efficiency of gas heating in forehearths, that is the proportion of heat energy transferred to the glass in relation to the total energy input, is typically extremely low. Electrically heated forehearths and distributors not only eliminate combustion gas emissions entirely, contributing significantly to the total emissions reduction target, but converting from gas to electrically heated can typically reduce operating energy costs by between 60% and 90%. This is a prime example of both operating cost and environmental benefit going hand in hand. Continued>>

he EU has set specific targets and a timetable for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Many other organisations and governments around the world have set guidelines and adopted policies with the same aim. In the case of the EU a 20% reduction is called for by this year 2020, 30% by 2030, 40% by 2040, culminating in ‘net zero’ by 2050, all from a reference point of 1990 emissions levels. In glass melting and conditioning adopting electric heating technologies has long been seen as the way to minimise emissions. With an insulating layer of batch covering the surface of the glass in a continuous vertical melting process, a well-designed all-electric melter can have a thermal efficiency of 85%, close to twice that of even the most energy efficient fuel fired furnaces (Fig 1). Together with the absence of fossil fuel firing and having all the energy applied by means of electrodes immersed in the glass, emissions from the process are typically limited to any carbon dioxide released from raw materials - a

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unboosted fuel efficiency and emissions reduction of furnaces from 1990 to now, that translates to a 40% reduction in combustion emissions per tonne of glass produced in that furnace. The fact that the above output increases have consistently been achieved while maintaining or improving glass quality shows that there is considerable scope for increasing these levels of electric boost, further directly reducing emissions per tonne of glass.

�Fig 3. Control panels for three electric furnaces and their electric forehearths under assembly and test.

Electric glass melting and conditioning are established technologies - the author has been involved with both for 50 years. It remains a fact however that the large majority of electric furnaces have been for so-called ‘special’ glasses, borosilicates, fluoride opal, lead crystal and specialist technical glasses. Generally, they have also been of modest size, mostly in the range of say 10 to 80 tonnes/day capacity. In contrast the majority of the world’s container glass, which accounts for some 50% of total glass production, is produced in furnaces with capacities of between 200 tonnes/day and 400 tonnes/day, with some larger still. Successful designs of small and medium-sized electric melters cannot simply be scaled up, a process that is much easier to achieve with fuel-fired furnaces. In-depth understanding and great care in concept design are needed to ensure the energy and temperature distribution necessary for successful coldtop vertical melting in larger furnaces (Fig 3). There is already proven technology and operational experience of all-electric container glass melters of 200 to 250 tonnes/day and more, and Electroglass has well-developed concept designs for 300 to 350 tonnes/day melters. However scaling up the use of allelectric melting , both in terms of the capacity of individual installations and in rolling it out on a scale needed to match the world’s container glass demands alone will take more time than is available in respect of meeting the EU targets for example. Expansion of the use of electric melting in the 200 to 350 tonnes/day range for the container glass industry will continue, with key glassmakers taking the lead. However to stand a realistic chance of meeting many of the emission reduction targets and plans, a major focus for the next decade or two needs to be based on expanding the use of highly effective and

Boost design proven technologies we already have - the most efficient electric boosting systems for essentially conventional fuel-fired furnaces. Electroglass’ CCC (Convection Current Control) boosting systems have, with constant development and refinement, been in use for some years and have an established reputation of delivering the highest energy efficiency combined with marked glass quality improvement. The average energy consumption is just under 20 kilowatts of continuous power input for each extra tonne/day over and above the unboosted output of the furnace concerned. Less attention has been focused on the actual percentage of output increase this technology has delivered. Of course, some of these boost systems have been required to achieve only modest increases in furnace output, but many have increased output by 50% to 65%, and occasionally more, up to 100%. A 65% increase in output over the unboosted output of a furnace through electric boosting means that 40% of that furnace’s total output is being produced electrically. Leaving aside the undoubted improvements in the

The boost design is crucial. Simply installing a high level of boost power is not only unlikely to achieve the desired output, but may well drastically reduce residence time, refining and therefore glass quality, even at substantially higher boost power inputs per tonne of glass. The zoning, number, size, positions, immersions and electrical connection arrangement of electrodes are critical. The study and understanding of each of these and other design variables, backed by decades of modelling, experience, practical application and proven results, are essential for success. While we continue with the development and application of larger all-electric melters, multiplemelter installations and other related approaches, existing electric boosting technology (and careful extension of it) and existing electric forehearth technology are already available to meet the immediate requirements for emissions reduction. �

Richard Stormont, Managing Director, Electroglass Ltd, Benfleet, UK.

� Fig 4. A large all-electric container glass furnace under construction.

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We print your world Uniting inks and substrates to create a uniqueness, which is incomparable.

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As the glass industry looks forward to more sustainable melting, SORG is looking back.

Half a century ago to be precise, when we patented the first all-electric VSMŽ furnace. While everyone else catches up, we’re still leading the way with bright ideas. And with the need to reduce emissions more important than ever, the time to get switched on is now. Find out more at


An all-electric melter for a variety of glass types The cold-top vertical melting principle of an electric-fired furnace reduces energy consumption. And, with an increased focus on the environment, they are likely to enjoy a renaissance in years to come reports Volker Müller*.

since 1971, all kinds of special glasses have been successfully produced, including everything from borosilicate glass to tableware.

The early days The first widely-used application of allelectric melters was in producing glasses with volatile components. Due to the cold raw material cover, these components can be reabsorbed in the batch blanket and not lost to the environment. One example is opal glass, with a fluorine content of up to several percent,

often used for cosmetic containers and jars, dinner plates and lamp shades. The hydrogen fluoride emissions are greatly reduced, protecting the safety of workers around the furnace, and also the environment. Glasses containing boron are another example, including C-glass for insulation and technical fibers, as well as borosilicate glass for lab and cooking ware. Avoiding the evaporation of sodium borate stops superstructure corrosion, furthermore, Continued>>


or glass furnaces using only electricity as their energy source for melting, the cold-top vertical melting principle of Sorg’s Vertical Super Melter (VSM) is a proven technology. It can reduce energy consumption in a number of ways. With no combustion, no energy is lost in terms of a large quantity of waste gasses. The only gas stream generated is a relatively small amount from the decomposition of raw materials in the batch, as well as water vapour from raw material humidity. This waste gas stream can be removed from the furnace superstructure, cleaned by means of a small baghouse filter and released into the environment without any further treatment. As the main process steps take place in the vertical direction of the furnace, the outside surface area of the cylindrical melting tank is relatively small. Furthermore, heat insulation can be applied to large parts of the tank, making losses through the refractory exceptionally low. Other large components with high wall losses, such as a large superstructure or heat recovery system, are totally unnecessary. Sorg’s patented rotating crown batch charging system will achieve a perfectly even coverage of the melt with a layer of raw materials. This batch blanket acts as an insulating layer on top of the melt and an integrated batch preheater, resulting in superstructure temperatures of between only 150 and 300°C. The sealed superstructure also prevents dust within the factory. Relatively easy to operate, all-electric melters also benefit from less maintenance and a shorter repair downtime. And with more than 100 VSM furnaces installed

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boron components have lately been classified as harmful to human health. Classic soda-lime glass has been frequently produced by the VSM too – but mainly for special applications with high to very high glass quality requirements. These include lighting ware, such as headlight covers, lamp shades and tubing for fluorescent lamps. Together with drinking glasses for wine, beer, water or liqueur, and perfume flacons and cream jars.

Present day possibilities In recent years there has been an increased demand for all-electric melters in localities with high environmental requirements. A glass producer located in an urban setting or in close proximity to a recreation area may only be allowed to extend production capacity by switching to a furnace technology that avoids emissions of air pollutants like sulphur dioxide or nitric oxides. In certain cases, electricity can be the cheapest energy available – particulalry in areas with high hydro-power potential or limited / no supply of natural gas. Simplicity of operation is one of the biggest advantages of all-electric melters. Without the need for combustion and waste gas treating equipment, only a small number of auxiliary aggregates have to be installed, operated and maintained. Just two main control loops are required – the electric heating power and glass level. Plus, there’s no need for fuel, oxidizer, ratio or furnace pressure control, no complicated waste gas treatment, no more cleaning burners and so on. Once raw materials are adjusted to the cold-top process and as long as they’re of a stable quality, day-to-day furnace operation is benign and can be broken down into relatively simple rules for the operators. Maintenance work is mostly limited to the batch charging system as well as inspecting and exchanging worn electrodes, whenever necessary.

Current limitations As with every technology, the coldtop vertical melting process has certain limitations, the first of which is in possible meter size and pull. Since the cold-top process requires an even layer of batch to be spread across the whole surface of the melt, the possible size of batch charging equipment becomes a limiting factor. No matter if an articulating boom

charger, standing beside the furnace, is used – or a rotating crown batch charging system introducing the batch from above – all electric melters reach a size limit of around 200 metric tons per day. The production of reducing glasses, most commonly used for amber and certain green containers, is difficult since the chemical reactions in the rough melting phase lead to a hardly controllable behaviour of the closed batch blanket. Non-reducing colouring mechanisms for amber glass do exist, but they would have to be developed for large-scale application and potentially increase raw material cost. Neutral glasses, especially tubing with an expansion of around 50x10-7 K-1 used for pharmaceutical containers and ampoules, have a limited absorbance for dissolved gases. A refining cell between the melter and glass conditioning system can improve the glass quality – but since such a cell requires additional space and energy, hardly any neutral glass is produced with all-electric melters today. Glasses for continuous reinforcement fiber (E/ECR/alumo-silicate glass composition) have a very low alkaline content and therefore a high specific electrical resistance. All-electric melters of a reasonable size would need to operate at dangerously high voltages. Also, the quality requirements of the continuous fiber drawing process demand an additional refining/ conditioning system, with similar drawbacks to the ones mentioned before.

Future plans The fight against man-made climate change and containing the growing global catastrophe make a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions unavoidable. As long as there is a sufficient supply of carbon-neutrally generated electric energy, the solution for future glass production is electric melting. For glasses mass-produced by fossilfired furnaces today, especially container glass, the limitations mentioned earlier will require a certain transformation of the whole production process. The limited furnace capacity means that a single all-electric melter might only supply one or two production machines. However, this will also lead to higher flexibility in production and less furnace repair downtime impacting the overall output of the plant. A shorter total lifetime of the all-electric

melter is compensated by shorter glass-toglass repair time and considerably lower refractory cost. Also, the ‘economy of scale’ works in less favour of all-electric melters. Going from a medium to a large furnace (e.g. 140 t/d to 200 t/d) will only lead to a minor increase in wall losses – so the larger furnace is only slightly better in its specific energy consumption. Finally, the limitation of possible glass colour remains – but why shouldn’t a climate-neutral, ‘green’ beverage container actually be green instead of amber? Different decoration possibilities, such as printing or spray coating, can supplement the bottle design, at least for one-way bottles.

Here to stay The future of glassmaking requires sustainable melting technology. Legal guidelines like emission trading and increasingly strict limits on air pollutants will force glass producers to change their furnace technology. Classical combustion technology, like the regenerative firing principle that has been used for more than 150 years now, will soon demise. At the moment, there’s a lot of research and discussion on hybrid melter concepts and alternative combustion fuels, such as hydrogen. These developments still have a long way to go – and due to the high capital cost and long lifetime of glass melting furnaces, the process is slow, with the conservative glass industry hesitant to advance in these new fields. All-electric melters on the other hand, have proven technology and been in use for decades. Such furnaces will see a renaissance in the production of special glasses, and by implementing certain process changes, will be the go-to alternative for mass produced glasses like containers. With our own 50 years of experience in all-electric melting, clever equipment design and proven concepts – Sorg can supply a suitable furnace for existing plants and greenfield projects alike. �

Visit our brand-new sustainable melting microsite to find out more: *Head of Electric Melting, Sorg, Lohr, Germany

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The Future of Glass Furnaces Stuart C Hakes*, Christoph Jatzwauk**, Erik Muijsenberg, Petr Jandacek and Hans Mahrenholtz*** ponder how furnaces will evolve in the post Covid-19 world.


Re-build cost In any case it is not necessarily disadvantageous, because the cost of a re-build of an all- electric furnace is considerably less than the re-build cost of a regenerative furnace be it endfired or side-fired and so two electric

furnace campaigns will cost less than one conventional rebuild cost. They are also much quicker to re-build. The other problem levelled at electric melters is that they are inflexible, and this is indeed partially true. Cold top all-electric melters, which are the most thermally efficient, are generally limited to a range of pull of approx. 40% of maximum In fact there are only two down-sides to all-electric melting which really need consideration and that is that the current cost of electricity is generally much higher than other fuels and also that with current level of technology, electric furnaces are generally smaller than that is required of major manufacturers in containers and flat glass. This has changed, as I will explain later. It is quite likely that with legislation and the pressure on CO2 emissions, legislation will drive companies to look at alternative fuels which reduce CO2. There will be some move to biofuels on the basis that they are using renewable energy but this still does not fully address the CO2 emissions. Hydrogen burners are available and a sister company of

FIC UK Limited (FlammaTec) has one in operation. However, there are other issues with hydrogen which need to be overcome, particularly if the case of using oxy-hydrogen flames, remember this is the way rockets are put into space. The other problem with electric furnaces is that for some glasses, a cold top electric furnace is unstable, particularly of amber glass. This is currently solved by using semi hot-top furnaces for amber glass and this is technology which was proven in the 1970s when a number of electric furnaces were in operation making amber beer bottles.

Efficient The reason all-electric furnaces are efficient from a thermal point of view, is because of the low volume that needs to be heated. Most electric furnaces, except those making amber, are a cold top. This results in the heat in the furnace only melting the raw materials and refining them. The losses through the refractory are limited only to the glass bath as any Continued>>

e have all learned that we live in a very strange and changing world due to the Covid-19 virus that is currently endemic around the world. Life has changed for most of us and the ramifications for the future are that there will be many structural changes. Notwithstanding the current pandemic, the glass industry has to change. Whether you believe in global warming or not, it has already been decided by many Governments and institutions that it is necessary to force industry to make changes and this has been enacted into legislation and targets. It may be that your own country is not following any of these dictats but nevertheless it will affect many glass manufacturers, because even if Government does not lead, your customers will start to demand it. Many customers, be it the public at large or institutions using glass will want to act as ‘green’ to their market in order to be seen as responsible citizens. This presents challenges for us all. It is well known that electric melters are considerably more efficient thermally (Table 1) and of course do not emit any CO2 apart from the raw materials (Table 2). For the purpose of this article I am ignoring the effects of carbon dioxide emissions on the production of refractories, steel, electricity etc. and only looking at the emissions in the glass plant itself. The problem with current electric furnaces is that they have a bad press. They are seen as having short lives although this is no longer the case. Typically we see lives of all-electric cold top melters of eight years and there is no reason to think that with modern technology moving forward that this could not be extended.

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(0 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 0.45










0.00 regSP

� Table 1 superstructure is generally insulated by the batch blanket. It follows therefore that all-electric furnaces are vertical melters, unlike conventional furnaces which are horizontal. Electric furnaces have been built up to 300tpd although almost without exception most are in the range of 50-200tpd. Whilst in theory it is technically feasible to produce a system to cover batch over a furnace melting between 600-1000tpd, the costs and operational difficulties are enormous. In addition, the depth of the glass to maintain vertical melting over such an area would again be technically challenging in terms of both refractory design and more importantly furnace life.

Pooled resources As a consequence of this limitation FIC UK Limited and Glass Service (Czechia) pooled their resources to look at how this might be overcome for the majority of furnaces in the world. We have modelled our proposals using existing furnaces as a base case e.g. a 350tpd container furnace and a 600tpd float furnace and modelled the changes and have shown that our thinking is workable and produces the same quality glass as the original base case furnaces. This represents a significant breakthrough as we have determined that the existing footprint of a container furnace or float furnace can be maintained. This is a considerable saving on the capital cost. FIC UK Limited and Glass Service (Czechia) recognise that there is a tremendous leap from the existing furnace to these large all-electric furnaces but have devised a pathway allowing companies to move slowly in this direction. These pathways are grouped under two headings, superboosting as an initial step leading to a Hybrid furnace.

� Table 2


regEP, EB

■ Combustion


regEP, EB, CP

regEP, EB, BCP


rec, EB




■ Direct (Comb. + Melting)


need some top heat to maintain glass quality. Our modelling also shows that these hybrid furnaces can operate from 15% electric mode up to 80% electric mode so can be operated flexibly depending upon the fuel availability and fuel costs. As I stated previously, the hybrid furnace pretty much follows the existing footprint of the furnace reducing the capital costs. Another point to remember is that although we have said there is top heat required, (and this could be natural gas if available or bio-fuel), but can also be by electricity. The above-glass electrical heating can take two forms – either by preferably molybdenum disilicide elements or less favourably silicone carbide, or alternatively the electricity could be used to generate hydrogen and oxygen on-site by electrolysis and burn this in the furnace. The use of top heat in this hybrid furnace also eliminates one of the limitations of conventional all-electric melters, namely turn down ratio and amber glass production. The hybrid furnace is thus flexible and can operate from zero to maximum pull and melt any colour or tints. It is thermally more efficient than existing melters and is lower capital cost. I hope to show by this presentation that there is a pathway to large all-electric melters which is surely the way forward in the next 10-20 years. Extensive modelling has been carried out to give some confidence and assurance to those contemplating this move. The future of glass is in all probability electric. �

From our modelling it is clear that adding more power means that we can go to a maximum of 80% of the energy supplied by in-glass electrodes. Our modelling has found that we do

* FIC UK Limited, **FIC GmbH, ***Glass Service (Czech Republic)

Superboosting is a term used when taking an existing furnace, with or without a small amount of electric boost, and progressively adding more boost to the furnace and steadily reducing the amount of firing. This is relatively easy to do on an end port furnace as typically used on container furnaces and is easily possible on float furnaces, however, in the case of a float furnace it really requires individual chambers grouping either the port singly, or in pairs. This approach allows customers, at an appropriate time, either at a re-build or by hot drilling the furnace on-the-run to add more boost progressively and reduce the amount of fuel in the furnace accordingly. Theoretically, 1kW electric boost in the glass should save 2kW of natural gas but in reality we have found in practice that this figure is not reached. The increase in power of an existing zone or zones or the addition of other zones in the melter upstream of the hot spot (uprise position for float furnaces) is a simple pathway. We have found from our modelling that it is possible to put in over 50% of the energy by boost whilst maintaining glass quality and output. In some furnaces much more than 50% of energy in the form of boost can be improved but it depends on furnace design. We have also modelled using high levels of cullet (up to 80%). After the saturation point of the furnace at the 50% (or more) level then changes need to be made to the furnace as we start to go into the Hybrid phase.

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Pack ed wi t hi nnov at i ons,NEO I nt el l i gence pr opel sy ouri nspect i on machi nei nt ot he4. 0er a. YourEVOLUTI ONmachi nei snowi nt el l i gentand connect ed.Def ectr ecogni t i on,easyset t i ngs,hotendal er t sandt r end anal y si sar eal l newf eat ur esf r om whi chy ourpr oduct i oncanbeneďŹ t . Al lexi st i ng I RI S machi nescan beupgr aded wi t h NEO I nt el l i gence. Cont actust oupgr adey ourmachi ne.

Company profile: Gürallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA)

GCA plans second glass packaging furnace investment Turkish glass manufacturer Gürallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA) is investing in a second furnace for its packaging division. Greg Morris spoke to its container glass General Manager, Abdullah Gayret, about the company. � Container glassmaking takes place at the Kutahya site in Turkey.

“Glass is magical with its chemical and mechanical properties. It is open to scientific innovation. It poses unique aspects for environmental and human health. We enjoy the technological aspect, it requires new opportunities and innovation for

” Mr Abdullah Gayret, General Manager, GCA.

special technologies.


urkish glassmaker Gürallar used to be renowned only for its tableware business. But the ambitious Kutahya-based business has rapidly established itself in the container glass segment in the past five years. The company only officially formed its glass bottle making division, Gürallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA) in 2015 after four years’ experience in glass packaging via its tableware division. The organisation analysed the future growth pattern of container glass consumption in Turkey and decided there was an opportunity in the packaging sector. It worked with German engineering company Horn to construct a single 300 tonnes per day furnace serving three production lines. The flint glass packager quickly became a

premium bottled water specialist and currently makes 1.5 million units a day of jars and bottles. But it now has its sights on more than doubling its capacity. Thanks to a growth in the market in Turkey and nearby, it will launch a second furnace later this year with an option to expand this by a third in the future. Its container glass General Manager Mr Abdullah Gayret said: “With our second furnace investment, we know it will be challenging to make it better than before. But we are trying to do better than we did before, we are always striving to surpass our past successes.” The new lines will produce flint glass to begin with but it has the capacity to make coloured glass should customers require it.

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Company profile: Gürallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA)

Customer service The packaging group targets customer satisfaction and its services are designed according to the needs of its customers. It assigns Customer Project Coordinators within its engineering teams to its customers. The coordinators are the main contact people for its customers and act as spokespersons within GCA, bringing the ‘voice’ of its customers to all its corporate functions. “They help us to create close and transparent customer relations based on mutual trust and respect.” GCA is aware of the significance of offering products in an eye-catching manner. It provides customers with expertise to help this happen. “We specialise in premium glass water bottles and premium soft drinks. These come to life

thanks to the offering of our high level of glass transparency and quality rooted from our glass composition.” Approximately 30% of its output is exported to neighbouring countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe as well as further afield in Australia and USA. “From the day we started our export operations, we have made constant progress in terms of our export capacity.” R&D remains key to its continued growth. The Gürallar group’s LAV tableware business is already one of the few companies to design and make its own manufacturing machinery.

GCA incorporates its technologies in development into its production processes under the leadership of its experienced engineers from the R&D division. From a technological perspective, it carries out research and development activities on the design and development of its glass machinery. This increases the efficiency of its production machines, quality of products as well as developing new projects for customers. It has collaborated with several universities both in Turkey and abroad to realise new product development projects, as well as create systems adapted by industry 4.0 to enhance its production efficiencies. Emphasis is placed on developing new products, increasing production quality, improving manufacturing processes while reducing costs, and transforming know-how on production technologies into benefits. One example of this is its weight reduction projects while maintaining the mechanical strength of products.

Furnace of the Future It is also participating in the Furnace of the Future project with FEVE which has been endorsed by 20 European glass container manufacturers in Europe. The project has been described as a fundamental milestone in the industry’s decarbonisation Continued>>

The business has more than 20 years of experience in the tableware sector, which has helped it strive in the container glassmaking sector, stated Mr Gayret. The company has two tableware factories – one in the same industrial zone as the packaging plant and the other to the north of Kutahya. “We have a diversified portfolio of products and good quality for our flint glass. “We also bring the technical and technological expertise of our engineers on complex systems from our tableware business into glass container manufacturing business.”

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Company profile: Gürallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA)

journey towards climate-neutral glass packaging. The project will see the first large-scale hybrid oxy-fuel furnace to run on 80% renewable electricity in the world. It will replace current fossil-fuel energy sources and cut CO2 emissions by 50%. The technology will allow the industry to use high rates of recycled glass which is currently not possible with electric furnaces. For each additional 10% of recycled glass in the furnace, there is an additional reduction of CO2 emissions by 5% and energy consumption by 3%. Mr Gayret said: “It’s a pleasure for us to be part of this innovative project. “Glass is an important material for all people of the world but there are concerns such as increased energy consumption and emissions we have from furnaces and production process so for that reason this kind of project is crucial because it removes these kinds of barriers from our market. “Our technical and engineering team are glad to have a chance to participate in this project.”

Industry 4.0 The question of Industry 4.0 has become a hot topic in recent years. Automation-based technologies are used in the production, control and data monitoringreporting stages of its factory. In-process equipment and processes can communicate with each other digitally to minimise human errors. In this context, reports are generated without the need for manual operation. Reports are then personalised with appropriate interfaces. Its production and design teams already use 3D printers during their daily operations. Having the ability to design and sample in real time and showcase the design to customers helps it run more customer centric operations. “Thus, our customers have the possibility to hold real product samples in their hands before committing to a specific design. It is today not possible to have samples in small quantities in glass material which we believe could be a reality also in the future.” It sees Industry 4.0 applications as an opportunity not to be missed. It is continuing digital transformation studies on auto control and intervention in production. It believes that machine learning and artificial intelligence tools will play an active role in all processes, thus creating new customer experiences and needs. “We estimate that in five years’ time we will see some remarkable changes in Industry 4.0 with our technology suppliers.” Mr Gayret added: “The benefits from smart production will present themselves as a decrease in quality defects risks bringing an even competitive edge to our company while an increase in efficiency which would result in more win-win relationships with our ecosystem. “We believe we will need to combine our current

personal and professional skills and people capabilities of our experienced glass experts with a new generation of software engineering skills.” Like elsewhere, there is a pressure to attract talented youngsters to the industry in Turkey. “We need to get smarter in our businesses to attract younger talent into the glass industry. As per our industry income levels and by the fact that it is a heavy industry which poses heavier working conditions, young people are in general more reluctant to join us as an industry. “This poses a threat for everybody as there is a risk of a talent gap between generations. That’s why we need to get smarter and attract more young people and minds into the industry.”

Technological suppliers He is quick to point out the strong relationships it enjoys with its technology partners. “To be able to operate with such a complicated and fully-automated environment we operate today, we need to have strong relationships with our suppliers. We collaborate with globally renowned suppliers who operate at the top of their game in the international arena.” Mr Gayret joined the company 20 years ago as an electrical engineer and progressively worked his way up the career ladder. Mr Gayret said: “Glass is magical with its chemical and mechanical properties. It is open to scientific innovation. It poses unique aspects for environmental and human health. We enjoy the technological aspect, it requires new opportunities and innovation for special technologies.” One trend of today is that of changing consumer expectations in the digital age. It has pushed manufacturers to change and develop at speed. Customers judge the quality of products and services they receive not only against other companies in the same business sector but also against the best customer service they have experienced in any industry. Speed is an important evaluation criteria for customers. “Today, how well we follow the trends and customer expectations determine the quality of services we provide to our customers who we consider as business partners. “To respond our customers’ needs and demands, we try to keep a certain level of flexibility by responding with low volume short production runs and/or running multiple products on the production lines at the same time. “By coping with these kind of requests, we also differentiate ourselves from our competition and approach our vision, which is to ensure our internal and external partners’ continuous satisfaction and being preferentially selected by them through the trust we build.” �

Gurallar Cam Ambalaj (GCA), Kutahya, Turkey

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� Whether ratio, pressure or temperature monitoring: analog value processing shows its strengths in numerous combustion applications with samos Pro Compact Safety PLC.

Safe combustion made easy The safety requirements in combustion technology are so high and the use of customer-oriented and reliable solutions so important that Wieland Electric is offering a new generation of analog safety modules and safe full assessment converters, reports Markus Kick*.


he production of glass, steel, ceramics, porcelain, or even plastic is literally hot: whether melting, sintering, drying, heating or evaporation depending on the process and production area, an industrial thermoprocessing plant’s temperature can range between 100 and 1,500 degrees Celsius. The safety requirements for industrial furnaces are therefore equally high. It is not only the high temperatures that pose a potential safety risk. Other parameters such as furnace pressure or the ratio of air to fuel mass flow must also be continuously monitored to ensure reliable operation. This calls for solutions that are as simple as possible and conform to the appropriate safety standards. Safety controllers contribute decisively to the functional safety of machines, making installation, function set-up, and verification and validation easier. An example of this is the samos Pro Compact from Wieland Electric, which can communicate with any type of operation and visualisation system or protocol due to its decentralised

approach. Included with the samos safety controller is a robust programming software which uses multi-fieldbus-open control to enable simple programming of even complex processes. Its large library of certified safety functions has recently been extended to include the latest safety modules and full assessment converters that detect and process analog values. “Safe Combustion is one of the strategic industries of Wieland Electric. A big segment within that industry is the focus on the international glass industry”, explains Markus Kick, Global Product & Business Development Manager for Safe Analog Processing and Combustion Technology.

Safe processing of analog values The new safe analog modules support sensors with 0/4-20mA interface as well as temperature-dependent resistors such as Pt/Ni sensors and supply their analog data to the safety controller. The values can be monitored and programmed with the new certified safe function blocks ‘Limit’, ‘Range’, ‘Relation’ and ‘Difference’ of the included programming software samos

Plan 6. The powerful function blocks enable comparative or arithmetic linking of the analog data, dimensioning and scaling of the measured current values as well as displaying the data through the programming software. Specifically for the glass industry they have created function blocks like Chimney Draft, Furnace Pressure or Ratio. Within the samos Plan 6 programming software, all raw and scaled values are transmitted and the current status is being constantly analysed. The actual analog values can be easily communicated to higher-level controllers and HMI panels. Since the samos Pro Compact safety controller has USB and Ethernet interfaces, access to the system is possible at any time. Three industrial Ethernet protocols (Modbus TCP, EtherNet/IP and Profinet IO) are also included in the base controller and additional gateways for fieldbuses make the integration into a wide variety of industrial networks as easy as can be. This provides more transparency for the user, as the analog Continued>>

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values can also be easily transferred to other control systems. In addition, up to three different fieldbus systems can be operated in parallel from one controller. With both online and offline simulation, a customised verification report and oscilloscope function the samos Plan 6 programming software guarantees standard-compliant documentation of each safety function. The modules meet all safety standards, including SIL 3 according to IEC 61511 and IEC 61508 for Low and High Demand Functions and PL e / Category 4 according to EN ISO 13849-1/2 as well as for North America the UL FS approval for Functional Safety Applications. As a special feature for the North American EX market, the safe converters are approved to UL 913.

� Markus Kick, Global Product & Business Development Manager for Safe Analog Processing and Combustion Technology

Flexible parameterisation

Safety functions for EX applications Safe Analog Processing applies in particular to the samos Pro Compact safety controller and its new analog input modules, whose range of applications is significantly expanded in combination with the new safe converters for thermocouples, signal doublers and communication units. To be able to operate safety functions from EX applications, Wieland will

� Easy and fast connection of analog signals to samos Pro Compact Safety PLC.

offer the signal processing devices together with its safety controller. The corresponding certified field devices are able to convert EX signals in such a way that they can communicate with the samos Pro Compact. The doubling of signals or handling thermocouples and ohmic inputs will also be possible in the future. A further advantage results from the configuration displays, which not only allow process value monitoring via the built-in display, but also data transmission to the cloud and thus online visualisation thanks to their Modbus RTU or Bluetooth interface for iOS/ Android devices.

Summary As shown, the use of safe analog processing portfolio holds potential to efficiently and easily meet high safety requirements in process applications. Particularly in combustion applications in the glass industry, users benefit from the function block library of the safety controller from Wieland Electric. �

Markus Kick, Global Product & Business Development Manager for Safe Analog Processing and Combustion Technology, Wieland Electric E-mail:

Wieland answers the question of how analog sensors can be easily set in combustion technology with intelligent features within the samos Plan 6 programming software. The sensordimensioning selector allows the user to work in the desired physical unit. In addition, function blocks are certified in accordance to standards (EN 7462/ ISO 13577-2, EN50156-1/2) and can be customised. Modules for pressure, temperature and flow are available for many applications. An example is the function block Pressure Analog Minimum, which is preset in the combustion library and detects whether the pressure below a safe value or differences in pressure. Up to four limit values can be physically dimensioned and scaled. Furthermore, hysteresis relative and absolute can be configured and timelimited mute and bypass functions can be selected. The same applies to the Ratio Analog function block that monitors limit conditions for undercutting, overcutting, inside or outside a window.

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Fives: melting solutions for industrial projects Remi Pujol* outlines the variety of melting options available to glassmakers from the container and float sectors. Fives isan international engineering group that has served the glass industry for decades supplying solutions for glassmakers. Its glass melting technologies are designed for maximum longevity, optimum efficiency and with the environment in mind.

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 1. Electric furnaces (Fig 1) are a green alternative to traditional fossil fuel-fired glass melting. Fig 2. Oxy-fuel combustion increases furnace efficiency, reduces emissions and improves glass quality by creating a more stable process. Fig 3. Flexible hybrid furnace: up to 80% electric boosting with air/oxy-gas combustion for low emissions production of container glass.

Electric melting furnaces Electric furnaces (Fig 1) are a green alternative to traditional fossil fuel-fired glass melting, offering better thermal efficiency, lower emissions and the potential for advanced automation. With a reliable supply of renewable energy, electric furnaces have the potential to reduce combustive emissions from glass melting to zero. Electric furnaces are especially suited to manufacturing lines melting one glass type under a stable load. Capacities as little 10 tpd and as much as 150 tpd have been successfully in operation, and this could be increased to 300 tpd. Example applications include: pharmaceutical, container, tableware, perfumery and cosmetics, opal glass, tubing for pharmaceutical and lighting applications, fibers, HV insulators, and coloured glass (float/rolled). One of the advantages of electric furnaces is the straightforward layout, which enables it to be almost fully

automated. Automation further increases efficiency, but is also a safety benefit, keeping personnel out of danger. In electric melting the raw materials are distributed evenly over the top to form an insulating batch layer in a cold or semihot top vertical process. The materials are melted and refined as they are drawn down through a deep melting tank to exit at the throat. This process ensures minimal heat loss – in fact, electric furnaces can reach thermal efficiency of up to 85% dependent on capacity. This high thermal efficiency and the system’s energy efficiency are one of the main reasons why glass manufacturers choose electric furnaces.

The Prium E-MELT series Fives offers cold-top and mixed-melt electric furnaces, as well as electric boosting, in its Prium E-MELT range. � The Prium E-MELT cold-top vertical melter (CTVM) offers a cost-effective option to produce a range of glass types.

The deep-CTVM format will produce exceptional quality glass with low fault concentration and high homogeneity. This solution is particularly applicable to glasses with volatile constituents such as lead, boron and fluorine but can equalling be applied to standard soda-lime glasses for container applications. � Prium E-MELT mixed-melt furnaces offer an alternative for situations in which cold-top operation isn’t possible due to high-gassing of melting reactions (e.g. carbon-sulphur amber) or when greater output flexibility is required. It uses a low-power combustion system to heat the crown and electrodes for the rest. It extends the benefits of an electric furnace to situations in which electric melting would not previously have been feasible. Fives is continuously striving for increased efficiency and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). We use physical and computer-based modelling techniques to Continued>>

Fig 4. Produce high quality automotive and architectural glass with Prium Melt Float, the float glass furnace with Low Energy Melter for maximum efficiency.

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design and evolve power systems, furnace geometry and process control systems. Our control systems utilise technology incorporating touch screens, PLC’s, specialist software and computer equipment from various manufacturers. Solutions are tailored to each individual project based on the technical complexities of the installation and the requirements of the customer.

Oxy-fuel furnaces designed for greater efficiency Oxy-fuel combustion (Fig 2) increases furnace efficiency, reduces emissions and improves glass quality by creating a more stable process. The addition of oxygen to the fuel almost eliminates nitrogen from the oxidiser, which greatly reduces the mass flow rate of flue gas leaving the furnace. Melting efficiency is increased and the environmental benefits have made oxy-fuel combustion a preferred technology for many customers and even a requirement in some applications. Further adding to the advantages of oxy-fuel furnaces, Fives has developed the Heat Recovery Area (HRA) system. This proprietary system reduces the crown height at the back of the tank to optimise the radiative exchange between the flue gas and the batch blanket and reduce the temperature of flue gas leaving the furnace. The result is a 5 – 10% reduction in energy consumption.

Prium Oxy Melt with Heat Recovery Area The flue gas in oxy-combustion tanks is usually evacuated by openings in the breast walls of the furnace. These flue gas outlets are placed in the batch area to reduce the temperature of the flue gas leaving the tank. However, this design is inefficient, as it allows an uncontrolled recirculation of flue gas between the hot (central) zone and the colder zone above the batch blanket. Furthermore, the semitransparency of the flue gas allows an intense radiative exchange between flue gas, walls and batch surface, thus levelling out the desired temperature drop of the flue gas towards the outlets. The new proprietary design of HRA technology from Fives solves this problem by a controlled, even flow of the flue gas in counter-direction to the batch blanket flow. This is achieved by a reduction of the crown height. Previously, the high level of the crown and a large flue gas volume were believed to be compulsory for an intense radiative emission towards the

batch surface. However, Fives discovered that a much lower crown level optimises the radiative exchange between flue gas and batch blanket. In addition, size and orientation of the flue gas outlet minimise radiative losses by the hot crown and flame radiation.

An evolution in hybrid furnaces Fossil-fuel driven furnaces are emissions intensive. Electric boosting can help reduce the furnace’s carbon footprint, but the balance of energy efficiency has typically been lost at around 30 -50% electrical input – until now. Fives has designed a new type of hybrid furnace, incorporating its Heat Recovery Area (HRA) technology to achieve up to 80% electric boosting, which could reduce emissions by up to 60% (Fig 3). Container glass production goes green The Eco-Flex hybrid furnace from Fives addresses the disadvantages of gas combustion, while mitigating the limitations of all-electric furnaces. By replacing up to 80% of the natural gas with green electricity, furnace emissions are dramatically reduced, but the additional benefit of this system is the ability to use high rates of recycled glass (up to 80%). For every 10% of cullet added to the mix, CO2 emissions are reduced by 5% and energy consumption falls by 3%. These savings are not possible with electric furnaces, which cannot use large quantities of cullet. The hybrid furnace is designed for all types of container glass production.

Flexible electric boosting Eco-Flex is designed to operate with the same quality level, from 15 – 80% electric boosting. It’s not simply a case of fixing on a number and continuously operating at, say, 50% electric boosting – you can change the boosting ratio on the fly, without a production stop, down to a minimum of 15%. Previously, hybrid furnaces were limited by three things: 1. High electrical energy ratios require a lower temperature above the batch layer. 2. Separation of melting and refining, and effective degassing of the melt, require higher temperature above the fining section (with free glass surface). 3. High boosting input increases need for a strong thermal barrier (division between melting and refining). This implies the need for a temperature gradient within the combustion

chamber, which is difficult to achieve in a single combustion zone, especially with the burner/combustion configuration in an air-gas end-fired port furnace. Low temperature regions of the crown are prone to volatile attack and it can be difficult to control temperatures in an optimal way. The Eco- Flex uses proprietary Heat Recover Area (HRA) principle to overcome these limitations. HRA technology lowers the crown height over the preheat zone to maximise the heat transfer between waste gas and the batch surface. In a conventional oxy-fuel furnace, this creates an energy saving of 8 – 10% and reduces waste gas temperatures, benefitting secondary heat recovery and simplifying exhaust handling. The HRA zone length can be adapted to suit your needs and the whole system can be scaled to suit any capacity and container glass type/cullet ratios. Combustion can be adapted to either oxyfuel or air-gas.

Float glass furnaces With environmental concerns at the forefront of glass manufacturer’s minds, reducing energy consumption is a priority. Less fuel means less emissions, but ordinarily it would also mean lower temperatures and reduced quality and efficiency. To overcome this, Fives developed its proprietary Low Energy Melter (LEM) technology for use with the Prium Melt Float furnace (Fig 4). The LEM improves melting efficiency while reducing energy use down to 1200 kcal/kg (5 GJ/ton). Float glass furnace from Fives is designed to produce architectural and automotive glass with the highest clarity and quality according to ASTM and EN standards. When combined with the Prium Bath and Prium Lehr, the Prium Melt Float is an energy efficient float glass line solution for flat glass measuring 2 – 15 mm thick. The furnace design, together with our advanced control systems, ensure guaranteed flatness and optical characteristics, as well as automatic glass flow regulation. Our tailor-made designs are made possible thanks to our wide technological knowledge and our innovative mindset. Every glass manufacturer deserves a glass melting line that is tailored to their requirements. �

*Sales Manager-Glass, Fives, Didcot, UK

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Glass colour change challenges Geert Jacobs* describes suitable colour change procedures and how factors such as glass melt parameters and the design of a furnace must be taken into account to avoid decreased quality.

Glass chemistry and batch The basic principle of a colour change is to minimise glass composition changes to keep the glass characteristics stable as much as possible, obviously at exception of the glass colour. Fig. 1 shows that brutal changes in the glass melt redox, density and/or heat absorption will change the glass melt mixing and residence time distribution so that favourable glass melting conditions can be lost. There is a fundamental difference in colour change procedure if the colourants concentration needs to be increased or decreased. Colour changes requiring a decrease of colourants e.g. from emerald green to flint, will always take much more time than a colour change requiring an increase of colourants concentration. In case of an increase of the colourants concentration, advantageous overdose techniques can be applied to accelerate the colour change process. Overdosing can obviously not be applied for a colour change from coloured to flint glass. The use of cullet during a colour change

is beneficial. First of all, if the cullet has the right colour, there’s an obvious advantage that it helps to reach the ‘new’ colour. Secondly, the increase of cullet will improve the melting process and favourable higher furnace temperatures can be obtained. Cullet will also sink towards the bottom, improving the replacement of ‘old’ colour glass by the ‘new’ colour.

Furnace - glass melt flow A colour change is basically a physical replacement of one glass melt by another one. The success of this glass melt renewal consequently largely depends on the strength of the convectional glass melt flow pattern and mixing behaviour of the glass furnace. Barrier boosting or bubbles in the hot-spot zone, as often present in container glass furnaces, and/or a barrier wall will reinforce an upwards convection flow, creating favourable conditions in the furnace for an efficient glass melt renewal and homogenisation. Increased boosting or bubbling will improve the colour change process. Precaution is needed for the melting zone boosting. Although higher temperatures and lower glass melt viscosity improve the colour change process, generating an upwards convection in the back of the furnace can destroy your favourable glass melt flow pattern, resulting in a glass quality threatening short cut glass melt flow. The lower the viscosity, the easier the glass melt in the furnace will be renewed. So, it is very important to heat up at maximum the glass melt, especially in zones where temperatures are usually low (e.g. near the bottom). Care must be taken not to destroy the driving forces of the favourable glass melt flow, i.e. the local glass melt temperature and density differences (Fig. 1). A colour change usually implicates a change in radiative heat absorption of the glass melt. Colourants such as iron (Fe2+), chromium, nickel and cobalt absorb infra-red radiation resulting in lower furnace bottom temperatures. As this

effect conflicts with the important colour change rule of heating up the glass melt to improve the glass melt replacement, it must be accurately compensated with a higher energy input.

Changeover time As shown in Fig. 1, furnace design, configuration and glass melt flow pattern are key parameters for a successful colour change. Changeover time depends highly on the colourants concentration differences between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ colour. When the colourants need to be introduced or increased to obtain the ‘new’ glass colour, overdose techniques can be applied to increase the colour change process by factor 3 to 5. When the colour change implicates a decrease or elimination of a colourant e.g. changing from coloured glass to clear flint glass, overdose techniques obviously cannot be applied. A second parameter determining the changeover is the compatibility between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ colour. Especially when dealing with a transition from an oxidised to a reduced glass or vice versa, small redox change steps must be taken to avoid a chemical reboil. If the furnace is in perfect condition and if advanced overdose techniques can be applied, colour changes can be done in less than eight hours on a typical 150tpd end-fired container glass furnace having a barrier boosting and/or a barrier wall. Unfortunately, the faster a colour change is carried out, the higher the risk for colour change failure...

Colour change risks A wrong colourants concentration or a bad timing of the overdose concentrations e.g. due to missing residence time distribution data will result in a colour change delay of several hours to several days (in case of a colour overshoot).



lass melting is a continuous process where the glass melt level in a furnace must be kept constant. Most of the colour changes on industrial float and hollow ware glass furnaces are also gradual replacements of an ‘old’ colour by a ‘new’ colour glass melt. The main objective of a colour change is to reach the ‘new’ colour in an efficient way, minimising production losses, glass quality decrease, furnace corrosion damage, changeover time and related cost & financial losses. Fig. 1 gives an overview of the main colour change parameters. Glass melt physical & chemical characteristics and melting conditions will determine the success of a colour change. As shown in Fig. 1, both glass melt and furnace parameters are closely interacting, having impact on glass redox, local glass melt temperatures, glass melt density and glass melt flow pattern.

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� Fig 1. Schematic overview main glass melt (blue) and furnace (yellow) colour

� Fig 2. Example of a failed colour change process due to a too fast glass melt

change parameters.

redox change.

Forcing the furnace beyond its melting capacity limits for a fast colour change may result in an incomplete melting, fining process and an increased furnace corrosion generating stones, knots and/or cords in the glass. Colour change failures are often caused by a poor glass melt mixing in the furnace, an unfavourable glass melt flow pattern and/or by incompatibilities between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ glass melts in the furnace. When dealing with a poor mixing performance of a glass melt furnace and an unfavourable glass melt flow pattern, remaining ‘old’ colour glass will slow down the colour change process. A poor mixing of this ‘old’ and ‘new’ glass melts will result in glass colour instabilities and heterogeneities. If there is a significant redox state difference between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ glass melt, contact between these two glass melts will cause chemical reboil resulting in excessive foaming in the furnace and/or the massive appearance of blisters in the glass. When dealing with a dark glass colour, the radiative heat absorption

of the glass melt will usually increase too. This increases the risk for creating a so-called dead zone containing ‘old’ colour glass melt. This remaining ‘old’ glass can cause colour heterogeneities and, especially when dealing with redox incompatibilities, the generation of a vast

amount of blisters in the glass. It happens that persistent colour heterogeneities and/or blisters appear days or even weeks after the colour change, triggered by a pull and/or temperature increase, setting in motion this dead zone glass melt. Having remaining ‘old’ colour glass in a so called dead zone must absolutely

be avoided as this hard to solve problem always implicates significant production losses. There are two opposite solutions: either removing the ‘old’ colour glass (usually located near the bottom of the furnace) by increasing local temperatures, which will obviously result in a temporarily stronger glass quality degradation; either keeping the glass in the furnace, decreasing temperatures and/or pull, avoiding any mixing with the ‘new’ colour glass melt. Keeping this ‘old’ glass untouched will improve the output glass quality, unfortunately at the cost of a limited energy input and lasting furnace capacity loss. Worst case scenario is when the target colour has a high concentration of colourants with strong infra-red absorption e.g. (nearly) black container glass or some very dark tinted float glass types. Additional to the above possible problems with remaining ‘old’ glass near the bottom of the furnace, bottom temperatures risk to drop below liquidus Continued>>

� Table1. Determining the ideal colour change strategy: finding the right balance between colour change speed and risk level for glass production and quality problems.

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temperature resulting into crystallisation problems ruining the glass production for several weeks or even months. A colour change is never a routine operation. Even after successfully completing dozens of similar colour changes, it can go wrong due to changed furnace conditions or due to changed glass melt characteristics. Due to the complex interactions of multiple furnace and glass parameters (Fig. 1), small changes easily create cascade effects, ruining the quality of the glass production for days or even weeks. An example of a chain of events triggered by a too fast redox change resulting in a lasting poor glass quality is in Fig. 2. Similar to the redox change example given in Fig. 2, other parameters such as glass melt density, local temperature differences in the furnace or colourants overdose may cause a complete colour change failure when changing these parameters too fast, aiming a (too) fast colour change.

Optimising the colour change process The detailed elaboration of the colour change consists of the determining the target glass composition, the different batch formula modification steps and the changes in furnace settings & control to improve the glass melt renewal. As shown in Table 1, the elaboration of the colour change procedure basically consists of finding the ideal balance between a fast colour change, limiting out-of-specification glass production, having a higher colour change risk levels and a slow transition taking less risk for colour change problems, having more out-of- (colour) specification glass production. Aside the glass furnace condition and melting efficiency, the compatibility of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ colour glass melt must also be taken into account. If there is a substantial difference in redox state between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ glass melt, a relatively slow transition is recommended to keep the risks for a colour change failure at an acceptable low level. At what level an increased risk for glass quality decrease is acceptable depends also on the value of the transition colour glass production. If this glass can be sold at a profitable cost, a slower transition is preferable. If the in-between-colour can only be used as (heterogeneous) cullet, a faster procedure is more beneficial.

Conclusion The main objective of a colour change is to have a fast transition, minimising production losses, without taking unacceptable risks for furnace damage and glass quality decrease. As every colour change has its unique glass production planning, furnace and glass parameters, every colour change has its unique best available procedure. To elaborate the most suitable colour change procedure, glass melt parameters like radiative heat transmission, redox and glass melt density and the design, state and melting efficiency of the furnace must be examined and taken into account. The main challenge of each colour change is to determine the ideal compromise between the colour change speed and the risk level for production losses and quality decrease. To accomplish this challenge, GEM-Projects offers its vast know-how and experience to elaborate together with the glass plant batch and melting team, the most time and cost efficient colour change procedure. �

*Glass technology consultant, GEM-Projects, Belgium

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A TECO fact... Did you know that a TECO-designed flat bottom furnace has more pull/m2 than a deep refiner design for equivalent quality?



Flat bottom furnaces

Mike Davies* reports that the latest flat bottom furnace design from the TECO Group brings energy and emissions benefits to the container glass industry. providing the necessary functions at a lower cost. The term value is defined as the ratio of function to the cost. Within engineering, production and manufacturing, these disciplines practice ‘function analysis’ or the process of eliminating over-engineered methodologies, processes and designs to achieve the goals of manufacturing. Value engineering is an organised process that uses a team from a variety of disciplines to analyse designs, systems, equipment and material selection to achieve the objectives of a client at the lowest life cycle cost. Using experienced teams, value and economy are improved through studies of alternate design concepts without compromising the quality, performance and requirements of clients. These teams focus their functional analysis on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of an item. Here are just some examples: How does this feature add value? Does it make sense to continue to do this just because it is the way we have always designed it? What can be eliminated with the advances in technology that do not add value anymore?

Value engineering

Engineering designs

Value engineering is defined as a systematic method to improve the value of goods or products and services by

The basic furnace design principles that are trying to be achieved are improved glass quality, higher melting rates

and homogeneity of the glass, while performing a balancing act on energy, emissions and extending the furnace life. Two common design features in a container furnace which attempt to address these principles are barrier walls and deeper or sunken refiners. A barrier or weir wall is a physical wall generally made of fused cast AZS or chrome refractory located at the spring zone to enhance the natural convection currents of the glass. This aids in refining before the glass enters the throat. The barrier wall blocks the forward flow of colder glass from entering the throat and redirects it upwards to the higher temperature glass. Some walls are now water cooled to slow the corrosion rate of the barrier wall, but this design is subject to an energy penalty. Advantages - Claimed � Glass Quality � Homogeneity Disadvantages � Added refractory costs and/or cooling costs � Added steel cost and complexity � Added construction � Wall wears down quickly, does not last life of furnace, negatively affecting Continued>>


he latest flat bottom furnace design from the TECO Group is a new standard in performance and design. This new standard flat bottom furnace delivers high quality glass while maintaining the low specific energy and emissions while extending furnace life. World class engineering, modeling and experience are the keys to achieving the goals of container production using flat bottom furnaces and providing glass quality for the entire life of the furnace. The goals of a manufacturing company are consistent growth and produce quality products through continuous innovation. Within the glass industry this can be measured by capital efficiency or the ratio of total tons pulled in comparison to the amount of capital expenditure in maintaining the operation of a furnace. Eliminating, reducing, integrating or simplifying non-value added processes are some of the key engineering concepts to optimising a furnace and its capital efficiency. Let’s look at different design concepts for container furnaces and discover the advantages of value engineering and simplicity by design.

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� Picture 1. Before and after of a weir wall.

glass quality within a couple years � Large gaps created between vertical joints � Defects from worn refractory enter the glass prematurely, lowering pack-tomelt yields Deeper or sunken refiners are used in conjunction with barrier walls and are located between the wall and the throat. These deeper refiners are used to increase the residence times in the refining area of the furnace. The longer the residence time, the more time gasses have to escape the molten glass or be reabsorbed, and increasing the homogeneity of the melt. Advantages - Claimed � Increased residence time, refining � Improved glass homogeneity � Improved quality Disadvantages � Added bottom construction complexity � Added refractory cost � Increase maintenance (if watercooled) Simplicity by design Simplicity by design is the principle that states that most systems work best if the systems are kept simple rather than made complex. Simplicity becomes the key goal in engineering design and unnecessary

� Fig 1. Example of a short circuit in the glass.

complexity should be avoided. The intent is to apply the simplest, most straightforward methods possible to develop and produce new products. The flat bottom design is the simple straight-forward result of engineering from Tecoglas, KTG Systems and Toledo Engineering. The flat bottom design is the result of the TECO Group’s experience from around the world in all areas of glass manufacturing, all types of glass and melters. Toledo Engineering, Tecoglas and KTG Systems have utilised CFD modeling studies of furnaces to evaluate and optimise various engineering designs, and KTG Systems optimises furnace boost systems with physical modeling studies. The resulting designs have eliminated additional bottom construction, reduced wasteful and expensive excess refractory and additional steel requirements. Unnecessary complexity has been avoided without compromising glass quality, glass homogeneity and melt rates, all the while optimising the specific energy, emissions and furnace life. In fact, these measures of design excellence have improved over the old technology designs.

Case Study – Modeling A Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model to study a flat bottom furnace compared to a furnace with a deeper refiner with a weir wall was conducted.

Four scenarios were considered, these being a flat bottom, a flat bottom with boost, a deeper refiner and deeper refiner with worn down weir wall. The model study results, which were also validated in practice by an independent third party are as follows: A short circuit develops on the � throat facer wall (Fig 1) As the weir wall wears down � this short circuit becomes much more pronounced Overall best performer is the flat � bottom furnace Hot spot boost improves refining � The deep refiner design � has lower melting and fining indices, especially when the weir is worn In these model studies, by releasing several hundred thousand massless particles randomly distributed in the batch, the model tracks these particles from start to finish and then calculates indices which allow us to evaluate the models. By referencing these indices to validated models, this allows judgment of the glass quality. These indices prove the flat bottom meets or exceeds the end port furnace designs with deeper refiners and weir walls (Figs 2, 3 and 4).


� Fig 2. A measure of the median amount of

� Fig 3. A measure of the time-temperature

� Fig 4. A measure of the time-temperature

time for a particle to exit the riser.

history of each particle.

history of each particle above refining temperature.

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� Fig 5. Daily average of a Teco group’s 60 m2 flat bottom furnace.

� Fig 6. Container furnaces energy consumptions.

Case Study - Production A daily average of Teco group’s 60 m2 flat bottom furnace are reported in Fig 5. There has been no loss in quality. The quality is noted as ‘exceptional’ and continues to outperform the client’s previous deep refiner style furnaces. Picture 1, is the before and after of a weir wall in a glass furnace. Here it can be clearly seen that the expensive weir wall refractory has worn significantly. Any effect from a weir wall degrades over time, resulting in lowered glass quality, lower packed yields and unsatisfied client goals. Weir walls erode at a rate such that often at least half of the wall is gone within the first three or four years of operation. The largest operating endport regenerative furnace operating in the world was designed by Tecoglas. The flat

bottom furnace operates at 500 mtpd producing flint and green containers. A second identical Tecoglas furnace was subsequently built next to the first, proof of a satisfied customer. At the 66th Glass Problems Conference, Oscar Verheijen of CelSian presented ‘Improving Energy Efficiency of Glass Furnaces’. Fig 6 is a chart from this presentation showing energy consumption versus. pull rate from container furnaces of all types and designs. The red circles have been added to show where the production data values of the two flat bottom furnaces referenced

Compressed air savings: the low hanging fruit

in this article would fall on this chart. Conclusion The Teco Group’s flat bottom container furnace has set a new standard of energy consumption, emissions, extended life, and continued high glass quality resulting in customer satisfaction. By analysing value added engineering practices and simplicity by design with the Teco Group’s engineered modernisation concepts, this generation of flat bottom furnaces meets or exceeds the goals of glass manufacturing companies without the use of unnecessary features. �


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Hot end

Developments of Tiama’s Hot End sampling solutions Sébastien Beltran* and Stephen Follis** discuss how the development of Tiama’s hot end monitoring solutions provides key information of the glassmaking process


iama has continued to develop its range of Hot End monitoring solutions called the Tiama HOT Systems, providing key information on the Hot End process from the gob through to the fully formed container. In 2016, Tiama launched a sampling solution as part of this range called the Tiama HOT lab. There are currently 30 Tiama Hot lab machines installed globally at key glass container producers, covering five continents. The Tiama HOT lab is an automatic statistical solution providing quick, accurate, non-contact dimensional measurements of hot bottles. These measurements include glass thickness, internal bore, D-angle (tuck-under angle) sunk & bulge and all other external diameters.

� Tiama HOT lab with multi product.

Multi-Product production The unique design of the Tiama Hot lab ensures it provides accurate measurement solutions for the industry’s range of glass container designs including non-round shapes. A new feature, added at the beginning of 2020, provides a solution for measuring Multi-Product production. Multi-Product allows the user to place

an assortment of bottles, varying in height, shape and diameter into the loading cart. The robot then finds, collects and places the bottles into the Tiama HOT lab one by one and measures them all. The new Multi-Product feature is

another element that now comes as standard with the Tiama HOT lab. All existing machines can benefit from this function using the latest software update. Continued>>

� Label panel measurements.

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Hot end

Increased confidence

Another feature proving to be beneficial for the various Tiama HOT lab users is the ability to measure the labelling panel. This measurement provides two key results, the flatness of the labelling area (sunk and bulge) and the vertical glass thickness/distribution. Both results can be presented in a 2D colour chart which displays the measurements ‘un-wrapped’. The 2D charts identify the areas which have the most sunk or bulge and can be correlated with the glass thickness in relation to the mould seam and height location.

Existing customers confirm that their main use of the Tiama HOT lab is production orientated. Measurement results identify the weaknesses in production, the operator can then implement a change on the IS machine followed by re-measuring a newly formed container to ensure their action resolves the problem. All users of the Tiama HOT lab confirm that confidence in the manufacturing process through measurement is provided. Benefits from using the Tiama HOT lab help improve productivity and increase quality standards. In turn, this has led to existing customers ordering additional machines (typical is one Tiama HOT lab per furnace). Some factories use the Tiama HOT lab mainly for verifying quality during and immediately after a job change. In addition, they also use the machine when producing a new sample. Being able to measure the bottles and create a report immediately at the Hot End reduces the down time of the full machine during this sampling phase. In the past, it would be necessary to wait for the bottles to reach the cold end before they could be measured accurately.

D-angle (Tuck-under angle) In the past, it was only possible to measure this parameter in a laboratory using a shadowgraph comparator or dedicated camera-based machine. Now, with the Tiama HOT lab, measurement of the D-angle is fast, accurate and repeatable. Measuring the D-angle provides the Hot End operator the ability to decide when it is time to take necessary action before it becomes a critical quality problem.

Internal bore Internal bore diameters ranging from 7 - 32mm and up to a depth of 50mm can be measured using the Tiama HOT lab. Internal profile graphics are presented together with numerical values in a simple report format. The ability to provide an accurate measurement about the internal bore situation, rather than just no-go/go, ensures high quality standards can be maintained.

A return of investment approach Measuring full sets of bottles on a regular interval (typically every two hours) provides one of the biggest returns on investment. SPC tools identify cavities and parameters that are drifting towards the process set limits. Reacting to these warning limits allows the Hot End operator

to verify the situation and act before a lehr full of bad bottles from one cavity occurs. Instead, their corrective actions can be made much sooner than relying on the Cold End inspection equipment to report the problem, followed by verifying the situation afterwards with confidence in the measurement results. The operator still needs to collect the bottles and place them into the loading cart which takes less than three minutes on a 10-section double gob IS machine, but after this moment there is another financial saving. Instead of an operator spending an average of 20 minutes every two hours gauging bottles, the Tiama HOT lab carries out this work in an automated manner. Although installing a HOT lab doesn’t necessarily mean you can reduce the number of Hot End operators, what it does provide is more time for the operator to do more meaningful tasks such as focusing on optimising the forming process.

A smart factory oriented solution The Tiama HOT lab is perfectly in line with the Tiama Smart Factory concept YOUniverse. The machine collects measurement data from all samples and performs automatic and protected reports. Thanks to data, the communication between the Hot and Cold End is improved with a positive impact on internal process quality. �

*Laboratory Product Manager and **Hot End Product Specialist, Tiama, Vourles, France

Label panel measurements

� D-angle.

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Recycling collections must continue during lockdown or risk longer term damage to our environment says Recresco director, Tim Gent*.

Backwards steps for recycling during Covid-19 lockdown A

s the UK lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic continues and looks set to continue for some time, councils across the country are struggling to accommodate dramatic increases in household waste. Staying at home has become the new normal with the Government issuing very clear guidance but the change in our social habits is having a dramatic effect on our households and on the household waste we generate.

Pressure DIY projects, completion of odd jobs, clear-outs and an increase in home cooking, are adding further pressure to our already overloaded waste collection system. With recycling centres around the country closed until further notice, local council collections are feeling the pressure.

To address the increased burden and prevent build-up of household waste, the Government has advised local councils to prioritise black bag collections over recycling. Although the guidance includes advice for councils to continue with recycling collections if at all possible, the message is clear that as recycling waste poses a much lower health risk than black bag rubbish, the latter must take priority. Although well intentioned and based on protecting health and safety of people, this advice does not take into account the long-term effects on our environment and the overall awareness and commitment of consumers in the aftermath of the current crisis. It is true that black bag waste poses a greater health risk in the short term however the long-term effects on our people and environment particularly in the ongoing climate emergency must be a consideration.

Councils across the country are already reporting a dramatic increase in fly tipping as households become overwhelmed with the increased waste they are producing. Waste dumping reporting app ClearWaste shows that overall fly-tipping is up by 76%, with some London boroughs facing a 100% increase. Meanwhile, British Glass has urged councils to continue recycling collection services if possible as concern grows that valuable materials which could be recycled back into use are instead finding their way to landfill. The representative body for the UK glass industry has noted that several local authorities have reduced their waste and recycling services due to staff shortages. If recycling rates continue to fall, it not only impacts the circular value of recyclable Continued>>

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materials but also increases demand for carbon-intensive raw materials which have a much more negative environmental impact.


Socialising at home With the closure of bars and restaurants and the country in lockdown, the British public are socialising with their families at home. Latest data from Kantar shows that supermarket alcohol sales increased by 22% in March and as the lockdown looks set to continue for the foreseeable future this is only expected to increase further. Increased sales in the food and drinks sector means demand for glass has risen sharply so the need for good quality recycled glass is now at record levels. Household waste recycling rates in England have increased to almost 50% over the last 20 years due to a combination of increased knowledge, environmental awareness and government commitment. Yet these figures still fall short of EU targets so any reduction in recycling at this point would surely represent a step backwards and would undo the progress that has been made. It is important for all consumers to remember the overall long-term value of recycling generally and we must work collectively to ensure the great advances that have been made in recycling rates over recent years should not be undone.

Glass can be repeatedly recycled again and again without losing any quality and when collected, sorted and remelted into bottles and jars, it offers infinite recyclability and stays out of landfill. The climate emergency we are all facing will remain a challenge long after the current crisis has been controlled. Every recycling collection diverts glass from landfill where it will never decompose and reduces the need for carbon-intensive raw materials. These are unprecedented times and as councils and contractors experience staff shortages, some temporary compromise around waste collection must be made however it is important to remember that while the current pandemic will eventually come to an end, the damage we are doing to our environment will continue to grow. During this crisis, the most important actions we take must be to keep people safe, but it is also imperative we protect our essential services and infrastructure for the long-term benefits of us all and of our planet. �

*Director, Recresco, UK

recycling Recresco.indd 2

* latest swabbing-robot installed in July 2017 in Germany

Endlessly recycled

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Tsingtao beer bottle supplier commissions Heye swabbing robots Chinese glassmaker Shandong Jingyao Glass Group has invested in three swabbing robots from Germany technology supplier Heye International, writes Petra Heumann*.


he latest production expansion at one of China’s leading beer bottle producers features three swabbing robots and Press Duration Control PDC equipment sourced from Germany’s Heye International. The swabbing robots are the first to be installed by Heye in the country. Shandong Jingyao Glass Group has invested strongly in the high speed production of lightweight bottles in recent years. As well as supplying bottles for China’s iconic Tsingtao beer, the company has emerged as an important source for such global brands as AB InBev, Carlsberg, Heineken and Snow Beer. The glassworks in Linyi City, Shandong Province features four melting furnaces and 16 production lines, with a combined nominal capacity of 1000 tons/day. Some of the world’s most advanced Narrow Neck

Press and Blow process glass container production technology is operated at the site, including a series of advanced Heye International IS machines and associated equipment. As part of the company’s investment programme, Shandong Jingyao Glass has worked with Heye International to install China’s first automatic swabbing robots and to guarantee that machine operators are properly trained to operate the equipment effectively. The robots deliver zero rejects and avoid section stops during swabbing. Compared to conventional swabbing methods, lubricant savings of up to 75% are possible. According to Heye’s Andy Lee, improved operator safety is assured, with stable and repeatable volume, thickness and location of swabbing provided,

making more time available for operators to focus on production optimisation. “Installation and commissioning of the three robots and associated process controls was successfully realised in close collaboration with the customer,” he confirmed. Separately, the glassmaker has invested in a PlantPilot information technology solution from Heye International and initiated a technical assistance agreement with the production technology specialist to improve and optimise NNPB technology at the site. �

*Marketing at Heye International Obernkirchen, Germany. Email: Web:

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Digital glassmaking

Digitalisation provides an opportunity during Covid-19 crisis Richard van Breda* highlights how the use of digital has helped support glass manufacturers during the pandemic.


he Covid-19 crisis and global lockdown has affected every part of our lives. However in crises, opportunities often present themselves. The advantages of digitalisation is one such opportunity. Parallels can be drawn between pro cycling and the glass industry, in as far as presenting a digitalisation opportunity. The organisers of cycling’s Tour de Suisse, when faced with cancellation due to the pandemic have taken the tour digital. The Digital Swiss 5 - Digital pro cycling race of the Tour de Suisse will have cycling pros compete virtually via a linked digital platform. Their racing bikes are connected to ‘smart’ roller trainers, which apply the respective resistance to the pedals - depending on the topography of the track. The pros see the track and their real-time position in the race as a real-life video image. The organisers state that “…Despite the corona crisis, fans can watch their favourite teams and riders compete live on TV or an online stream.” How can this be related to container glass manufacture? Now and in the medium term it will certainly be difficult to produce glass digitally and virtually.

Virtual control and support Many of the technology and equipment providers are taking their services virtual as a result of the crisis. Many of the control systems and parameters are digital. Some equipment providers are utilising this to continue to provide virtual operational support during the Covid-19 lock down. Some OEM (original equipment manufacturers) even continue with commissioning and testing via virtual interactions. Will this further alter the way technology is supported in the

future? Extending this; given enough automation and digitalisation, could glass plants be run from a central control room and not from the shop floor? Many veteran glassmakers speak of the art of bottle making. An art where skill has been developed over a lifetime and is reliant on feel and experience. Modern process control aims to shift this from the art to the science of bottle making. The advent of digitalisation means multiple inputs from multiple sensors are received, processed and analysed to optimise the process. There are literally tens of thousands of process parameters and control points that need to be optimised to ensure the perfect bottle is produced. Therefore, more sensors are required to measure and control all of these process parameters to produce the perfect bottle – making the ‘art’ of bottle making objective and scientific.

Aggregation of marginal gains As performance director of British Cycling, Dave Brailsford transformed the team from nowhere to the leading force in global cycling. He used his strategy of “the aggregation of marginal gains,” an approach in which every process variable was measured, then analysed and a 1% performance gain was implemented. Compounded, this has had monumental positive effects. Digitalisation was the enabler. Everything was digitally measured, recorded analysed and improved – right down to the seams on the cyclist jerseys! In the same fashion, detailed measurement and control of every aspect of glassmaking is required. By making continual small marginal 1% gains will create a massive compounded cumulative

improvement. For this a key enabler is the digitalisation and measurement of the glassmaking process. Sensors, sensors and more digital sensors are required in the process. All systems need to be linked. Big data needs to be accessible and real-time live control feedback provided. Typically the glassmaking process is a number of discrete OEM supplied pieces of equipment, all individually controlled – digitally. But the modern process still requires the glass manufacturer to link the systems using human intervention and decision making. Plant wide digital automation is required. Integrating these systems and linking of process ‘intelligences’, sensors and actuators, as well as databases through standardised digital interfaces will provide plant wide digitalisation, control and automation. How does this benefit the consumer at the end of the value chain? Discrete digitalisation makes it possible for tracking, tracing and serialisation throughout the value chain. Containers can be tracked from raw materials all the way through the production, filling, packaging, distribution processes, until the end customer and consumer. Here digital serialisation can provide important marketing and promotional opportunities for brand owners. Completing the circle, the digital foot print links the container back through the recycling process. The lock downs of the current Covid19 crisis may help the industry realise the advantages possible from increased digitalisation of the process and the industry. �

Richard van Breda Consulting

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Prof. John Parker

Iron out problems


lemental iron is not found naturally in the earth’s crust except as a meteoritic incomer. But in mineral form it is the fourth most abundant element. Silica itself accommodates very little iron but sands washed down into estuaries and onto beaches contain ironrich grains (hence their brown colour) and iron containing clays adhering to their surface. The whitest sands are generally the purest and some iron can be removed by beneficiation e.g. washing. Small grains have a larger surface area per unit mass than large grains and so selecting larger grains also reduces contamination. The Venetians five centuries ago achieved their renowned clear cristallo glasses by collecting only the clearest white quartz pebbles from river-beds and crushing them as their silica source. Float glass has typically 0.1wt% iron (Fe2O3) and quality container glass around 0.03 wt%. In natural minerals and silicate glasses, iron exists in two oxidation states, ferrous, Fe2+ and ferric, Fe3+ in varying proportions. Their optical absorption spectra are complex and depend on coordination number - whether the oxygens surrounding them are in tetrahedral (4) or octahedral (6) arrangements or indeed something else. The optical absorptions at the ultraviolet edge and in the near Infrared depend almost entirely on the Fe3+ and Fe2+ concentrations respectively and absorption measurements at specific wavelengths allows their concentrations to be determined, small changes in base glass composition being insignificant. 50 years ago round robin exercises arranged by bodies such as SGT were common; they compared the results from different laboratories and helped standardise procedures whilst also giving a check against wet chemical methods. How does this affect the glass maker? Well iron redox affects glass colour. Fe3+

principally absorbs in the ultraviolet and weakly at the violet/blue end of the spectrum. The ferrous ion absorption is larger than for ferric ions; it peaks in the near infrared but extends into the red of the visible spectrum. So ferric ions confer a pale yellow shade (the complement to blue) while ferrous ions give a bluish hue to glass. Usually ferric ion concentrations are larger but not dominant and the resulting colour caused by both species is green, commonly seen in bottle bases, when viewing sheet glass edge on but not in quality wine glasses! For minimum absorption, glassmakers target the oxidised Fe3+ state. One factor influencing the ferrous: ferric ratio is melting temperature, higher values favouring Fe2+. This so-called redox ratio is also influenced by the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere surrounding the melting batch. Once the batch is melted and circulating within the tank changes in the atmosphere above the melt do not change the ratio since oxygen diffusion is extremely slow. And even though ferric iron concentrations should increase on cooling, the ratio created during melting is fixed in the absence of any other factor. The proviso is if other redox species are present. At the melting temperature all redox species will have the ratios they would adopt if present alone – the oxygen concentration in the atmosphere is unchanged. On cooling each will prefer a more oxidised state but change requires oxygen and now the redox species are in competition. Because diffusion distances between interacting ions are much smaller than to the outside atmosphere and diffusion times are proportional to distance squared, redox ions can maintain mutual equilibrium down to temperatures as low as the glass transition temperature (550˚C) and high temperature redox

equilibria can be seriously challenged. So ferrous iron can be oxidised to Fe3+ while Mn is reduced from Mn3+ to Mn2+, the mechanism used for millennia to reduce the colour of iron impurities. Simpson and Myers showed how to quantify the reducing effect of batch additives such as carbon, the oxidising effect of saltcake, and the consequences of food waste and paper labels in cullet. Batch components were ascribed a number per unit weight representing their reducing/ oxidising power, calculated from the chemical equations for their reactions with oxygen and their molecular weights. The combined effect of all the species in the batch is called the redox number. A constant value promotes colour control, if nothing else changes. Ferric ions can also cause an intense amber coloration if surrounded by three oxygens and one sulphide ion. Sulphur is added to the batch in the 6+ oxidised state as sulphate (saltcake. Na2SO4). In glasses melted under reducing conditions the Fe3+ concentration is lower but sulphur can exist as sulphide - the chromophore concentration depends on the product of both. If melting conditions are too reducing all the iron is present as ferrous and the amber colour is absent, too oxidising and there is no sulphide. Before the chemistry of this colorant was understood achieving control was difficult. One historical name for the colour – carbon-sulphur amber – illustrates this lack of understanding; carbon was needed to control the redox and not as an active colorant. Now the batches are made with an appropriate negative redox number. �

*Curator of the Turner Museum of Glass, The University of Sheffield, UK.

Prof John Parker highlights the effect of iron on glass colour.

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Prepare for the future it’s less expensive than you think.


Smart Factory is approaching and, thanks to the YOUniverse, it has become far easier to prepare for. It’s also cost effective because the Tiama Hot-End Monitoring System is modular: you choose what you need and when you need it, building the YOUniverse that suits you.

TIAMA HOT MASS For gob weight control, gob shape and temperature monitoring

TIAMA HOT MOVE Article positioning management with early warning to avoid jam

TIAMA HOT EYE For critical defects detection and recognition, dimensional measurements

TIAMA HOT FORM For infrared radiation monitoring and real time statistics

… and they can take action autonimously – now that’s Smart! So, whatever your choice, it will improve your knowledge of the process and it is backed by our service, support and training, along with constant research. For more information visit

Data – the deciding factor

Profile for Quartz Business Media

Glass International May 2020  

Glass International May 2020  

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