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Building the Biggest Float Glass Plant in the Gulf

The largest and the most modern float glass plant in the Gulf countries will rise in the Royal Commission’s Industrial City of Yanbu, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The state-of-the-art manufacturing complex will be set up by Obëikan Glass Co; the plant design and the supply of the main process equipment entrusted to the specialized engineering company Fives Stein.

Typical Fives Stein Melting Furnace

Obëikan Glass Co is setting-up a fully integrated state-of-the-art float glass plant in a region which has been experiencing an unprecedented boom in the construction industry. Growth in construction means growth in building products (which account for 80-85 per cent of the float glass market) magnified by an architectural and engineering trend towards greater use of glass in building façades, for reasons involving not only design trends but also environmental protection.

Float Glass Line General Layout

The glass plant will rise at Yanbu el Bahr, industrial and port city in Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea coast in Medina Province, about 350 km north of Jeddah. Yanbu harbour, close to the Suez Canal and on the major East-West shipping route provides easy access to the European and far-east markets for its products. The city is connected to the oil and gas pipelines conveying crude oil and liquid natural gas to support the development of a large industrial base.

Inside View of a Typical Fives Stein Melting Furnace

The plant is to produce 800 tons per day of clear and tinted glass feature which will let it be the largest in the region. With provisions for on-line pyrolytic coatings, it will be the most modern of its kind in the Gulf countries thanks to Fives Stein technology. The French specialized company was approached by Obëikan Glass Co. to be part of the project and is responsible for the plant design and supply of the glass manufacturing line comprising the float furnace, the tin bath, the annealing lehr and the air pollution control system.  Fives Stein will also provide the start-up and plant operation assistance services insuring a smooth and efficient support until the production teams become fully self-sufficient.

Top Rolls Inside the Tin Bath

With its international export-oriented base, Obëikan Glass Co. float plant is destined to be a world class facility in terms of performance of the equipment and quality of the glass products. High regard for environmental issue is a distinctive feature of the project: the plant will have a reduced ecological footprint, in accordance with the most stringent international emission standards. It will operate with natural gas and will incorporate a complete air pollution control system consisting of a de-dusting filter, an acid gas reduction reactor and a selective catalytic system for the abatement of nitrous oxides.

The start-up of the facility is scheduled for the beginning of April 2010.

Obëikan Investment Group (OIG) was established in 1982. Since the beginning the group adopted an enthusiastic and ambitious plan for growth and coping with the latest technological trends to support the Kingdom Industrial mission.

Printing division was the first to be established. In 1991 OIG established Obëikan Bookshop to sell and publish educational books as well as stationary supplies. Followed after by the Packaging Plan in 1993 and shortly by liquid packaging in 1994

Obëikan Investment Group has joint ventures and partnership with large international companies such as Elopak (Norway), Combibloc (Germany) and Krones (Germany). The ambition to grow translated to new expansions like Obëikan Combibloc, Film Factory, Obëikan Flexible in Lebanon and the most ambitious is the Duplex Board Mill.

Through its network of 25 overseas offices, Obëikan Investment Group intends to become leader in export and distribution in the Middle East and Africa.

Fives Stein is a group of engineering companies operating in the steel and glass industries. In the float glass industry, Fives Stein stands as the major engineering and glass manufacturing line specialist supplier for new glassmakers and has already successfully been contracted for 20 float glass plants worldwide.

Currently, the group is implementing 5 major float glass contracts in Russia, Turkey, Poland, India and Saudi Arabia. These contracts generally include the float glass plant engineering and the delivery of the process line: melting furnace, tin bath, annealing lehr and air pollution control.

Photos: Fives Stein
Last review: April, 2009

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