Producers strive for innovations that reduce lifecycle costs and increase environmental performance. Leading managers in the glass industry give their personal opinions.
Ask any glass manufacturer, and they will confirm what machine and plant manufacturers report. At the same time, glass producers have further important perspectives to share. Giacomo Sangalli, CEO of Sangalli Group in Italy, talks about his current concerns: "First of all, energy consumption is a priority, as well as logistics and innovation. When it comes to logistics, we are not just concerned with reducing costs, but above all we aim to minimize CO2 emissions. As for innovative architectural glass: we are not merely focusing on our profit margins, but also on better heat insulation for buildings."
Energy consumption, logistics and innovation
Nick Shore, Head of Engineering at NSG, also has clear ideas about how to face current and future challenges: "In the short term, we need to become more competitive in the face of ever-rising input prices. The glass industry has had a very difficult few years due to the massive reductions in capacity around the world. We need to return to good levels of profitability that will give investors the confidence to invest in growth for the future.
In the longer term I believe the glass industry has to decarbonize to a large degree. The only practical way to do so seems to be electricity. We will need to develop novel melting and forming technologies, which will mean a radical rethink of glass melting furnaces. As an industry we need to demonstrate that we are part of the solution, not the problem. We need to become ever more efficient in our energy usage, while improving our product performance to give better lifecycle costs and environmental benefits.
We need to get better at letting people know how beneficial glass is; for instance, overall emissions of CO2 in the EU would reduce by 100 million tons per year by if all glazing was simply upgraded to meet current standards. We need to persuade legislators to look at the lifecycle benefits and encourage the use of energy-efficient glass, instead of just punishing high energy users without looking at the bigger picture.”
For more information how plant-wide automation can ensure your sustainable success over the entire lifecycle of a glass production facility – including planning and services - visit our website about glass manufacturing.