Glass industry witnessing a boom

The glassware industry is witnessing a boom producing a variety of products ranging from unbreakable to blended ones and doing a business worth Rs 1,500 crore annually.

Harnessing the latest technologies, the industry offers a wide range of products from toughened, unbreakable, laminated safety glass, solar control glass to insulating glass which can be used in interiors as well as exteriors of buildings, say industry sources.

Besides buildings, the industry, has expanded its base to other areas including jewellery, crystal show pieces and ornaments, says A R Unnikrishnan, Head-Institutional Sales and Marketing, of a glass company.

Though the glass is mostly imported from countries like China, Germany, Belgium and America, with very few Indian companies involved in the processing business, the industry, with Rs 2,150 crore investment in the next five years in processing segment, is likely to witness a three-fold increase by 2009, says Gaurav Bansal, one of the major players in the industry.

In next five years, the industry will offer a Rs 4,500 crore market for architectural glassware, he adds.

This estimate does not include glassware consumption in the auto sector and takes into account only the consumption by architectural design segment, he adds.

"Now unbreakable and bended glasses in different shapes and designs are common in offices and houses as well, which give elegant look to the buildings", he says.

Without using chemical in the manufacturing, only heating and cooling processes make the glass too hard to break, he says.

Another latest technology - the fusion method where glass can be fused with any other material like granite and metal among others - produce a unique decorative product, he adds.

Then, there is solar control glass, which does not allow sunlight to pass through making them widely used in the buildings, says Unnikrishnan.

The solar control glass gives architects huge aesthetic flexibility by providing wide range of colours and diverse performance characteristics, he adds.

Privalite, an electrically operated vision control glass, is among the latest products, says S K Saluja, a designer, adding it's a laminated glass with a liquid crystal film between the two polyvinyl butyral layers.

Now, the glass can also be converted into hard concrete-like material, which could be moulded in any shape, form and texture for being used in exterier decoration of buildings.

Glass fibre Reinforce Cement, made of alkali resistant glass fibres and cement sand mortar, possesses combined compressive properties of cement mortars and the valuable flexural and tensile strength of the glass fibres, says Harpreet Singh, Project Coordinator of a Mumbai-based company.

Another product being widely used as exterior panel for buildings is sandwich structured Fiber-X. In this, any kind of material like aluminium and stainless steel can be sandwiched between a composite material producing colourful, flat, durable, insulation and sound-proof exterior panels, says Suresh Mutha of Chennai-based company.

600450 Glass industry witnessing a boom

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