ICG Kolkata meeting

Asia Pacific Meeting of Glass & Allied Industries - The CSIR-Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute (CSIR-CGCRI), Kolkata, the International Commission on Glass (ICG), the All India Glass Manufacturer’s Federation (AIGMF), and the Indian Ceramic Society (InCerS) jointly organized the Asia Pacific Meeting of Glass and Allied Industries from 2-3 December 2013.  The ICG, aninternational glass society comprising of 37 national organizations in glass science and technology, also held a Steering Committee meeting.Sponsors of the events included: Henan Zhongyuan Special Refractory Co.

Ltd., China; Zhengzhou Huite Refractory Material Limited Co., China; Borosil Glass Works Ltd., Mumbai; H&R Johnson Ltd., Mumbai; La Opala RG Ltd., Kolkata; Hopewell Tableware Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur; Hindusthan National Glass and Industries Ltd., Kolkata; All India Glass Manufacturer’s Federation, New Delhi and CSIR- Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata.

The objective of the Asia Pacific Meeting of Glass and Allied Industries was to energize the glass and allied industries in the Asia-Pacific countries and in India, by creating policy guidelines to expand their glass industries and to provide new directions for research in the field.

Specifically one aim was to catalyze participative science and technology development in the domain of glass and allied science. Another was to develop a Knowledge to Business (K2B) interface which would enhance the competitiveness of the Asia-Pacific Glass Industry and encourage regional cooperation.

Shri C.K. Somany, and Chairman, Hindusthan National Glass and Industries Ltd., (HNGIL) was the Chief Guest. He recently was presented with the 43rd Pheonix Award in Berlin, Germany for his significant and major contributions to glass industry in the field of science, production and education. During this meeting a special function was organised by AIGMF to celebrate his recognition as ‘Glass Person of the Year 2013’ in association with La Opala RG Ltd., at Bengal Club, Kolkata. Select photos of the event are available at http://aigmf.com/past-events.php

Dr. S. Kumar Former Director, CSIR-CGCRI was the Guest of Honour.

Prominent amongst the delegates present were: Prof. Peng Shou, President, ICG; Dr. Fabiano Nicoletti, Honorary President, ICG; Dr. Sener Oktik, Şişecam A.Ş; Dr. Manoj Choudhary, Owens Corning, USA and Vice President, ICG; Dr. Arup K. Chattopadhyay, President, InCerS; Dr. H. S. Maiti, Former Director, CSIR-CGCRI and Prof. I. Manna, Director, IIT, Kanpur and Former Director, CSIR-CGCRI.

The luminaries representing the Indian Glass Industry included: Shri. P. Kherurka, Vice Chairman, Borosil Glass Works Ltd, India; Shri. C. V. Chalam, Tech. Advisor, Ceasan Glass; Shri. Swapan Guha, MD, Hopewell Tableware; Shri Sudipta Saha, Vice President, H. R. Johnson India; Shri Mukul Somany, Vice Chairman and MD, HNGIL; and Shri Arun Kumar, President, AGI GLASPAC.

After the ceremonial lighting of the lamp, Acting Director, Shri. Kamal Dasgupta warmly welcomed all delegates to the City of Joy. Very briefly he introduced the delegates to the multifaceted activities of CSIR-CGCRI. He highlighted its commendable service to the nation in both civil-societal and strategic sectors. He expressed appreciation of the roles played by the ICG, InCerS, Industry, Academia and scientific peers abroad in meeting goals of mutual interest.

Prof. Peng Shou in his pithy address reiterated that India has many glass industries and stressed its importance for ICG. He was confident that the interactions at the Conference would have positive outcomes for the glass and allied industries.

Dr. Fabiano Nicoletti expressed his happiness in visiting India and his meeting with friends and colleagues, young and old. Acknowledging a connection between ICG and India that went back to the 1980s, he rued a brief lull since, before finally announcing his delight that firm ties were being re-established. Dr. Nicoletti pronounced emphatically that the winds of change were blowing and would have great influence on the future of glass.

Dr. Arup K. Chattopadhyay confirmed that it was good news that the Steering Committee Meeting of the ICG being held at CSIR-CGCRI, India. He noted that the present climate is one of inter-dependence and, for better or for worse, we are dependent on each other. He listed three global challenges that need to be solved. These are: Inequality, with poverty stalking millions across the globe; Instability in large parts of the world and Sustainability. Unless these three issues are addressed, he considered growth to be impossible. Especial care is needed to address the issue of sustainability, not just because there is gap of approximately 23% between energy production and use, but because the energy crunch is of particular significance to the glass industry since it uses energy intensive processes. Energy efficient processes have to be created to reduce energy guzzling now and also to leave enough for future generations. He said that technology should be used to bridge inequality and thinking green in the context of energy could lead to raised living standards. He spoke about the need for affordable healthcare because only healthy communities prosper. The fight for the future is Now, he concluded.

In his address, Guest of Honour, Dr. S. Kumar said that the last few decades had seen a steep increase in industrial activities in Asia-Pacific countries especially in China, Japan, and Korea. He discussed the problems specific to the glass and allied industries amongst which he paid particular attention to: a resource crunch; escalating fuel consumption; pollution, e.g. emissions of lead, iron from glass melting; and leaching of chromium, selenium etc. He touched upon the early years of close interaction with the ICG and expressed satisfaction that ties have been re-established. He was confident that CSIR-CGCRI was competent to participate in the various committees of the ICG and to have meaningful discussions in areas of cooperation.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri C. K. Somany outlined the history of glassworks in India. He spoke proudly about Ishwar Das Varshney a pioneer of the Glass Industry in India who, in 1908, with the help of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, had set up the Paisa Fund Glass Works in Talegaon near Pune by collecting just one paisa donations from every inhabitant. A container glass industry was initiated around 1952 and the glass industry has gone from strength to strength since then. The reason why glass is so popular is because of its versatility - it can be used for such a wide range of products. It finds applications in diverse areas from aesthetically designed artwork to the construction business. Transparent glass is revolutionising modern architecture. It lets in light and cuts down on the cost of energy used for artificial illumination. It is eco-friendly because it can be infinitely recycled. It is inert and thus an excellent packaging medium particularly for food, beverages and pharmaceutical products. Shri. Somany said that the glass industry has to be future-ready to cope with the challenges and opportunities.

Glass mementoes were presented to the delegates. The Vote of thanks was given by Dr. S. K. Bhadra, Chief Scientist, FOPD and Head HRDG.

Prof. I. Manna chaired the first Technical session. In his Opening Remarks he said that it used to be said that the growth of a country could be assessed from the quantum of its steel production but that the time has come when glass production in a country could be a measure of its growth. He said that it was important for India to make a mark in glass and allied industries and that it was not possible to have a better venue, than the current one, in the entire subcontinent. He said that CSIR is considered the mother of almost all of India’s many scientific organizations and that CSIR-CGCRI is the only such institute in the subcontinent. CSIR-CGCRI began from scratch and is now a significant contributor to the measure of self-sufficiency achieved by the nation in the strategic sector. It was a conscious decision to acquire expertise in the area of specialty glasses and not venture too much into float or container glass. The challenge is to maintain the continuity of excellent work done in service to the nation. He touched briefly upon the legacy of this institute by remembering the contributions of Dr. Atmaram, a prominent glass scientist, the first Director of CSIR-CGCRI and also, a former Director General of CSIR. Dr. Atmaram did seminal work on coloured glass and import substitution for this application. The resultant glasses not only rejuvenated the domestic bangle industry but are still being used by Indian Railways for signalling. He concluded by saying that India must leverage the best advantage it has: youth. The young must be empowered and knowledge must be created. Young students must reciprocate by seizing the opportunity represented by the Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research (AcSIR).

Dr. Manoj Chaudhary gave an overview of the ICG and the US Glass Industry. He said that the first ICG Congress on Glass was held at Venice in September 1933; 200 participants from 8 countries participated and 42 papers were published. The ICG constitution was finalized at this event. The ICG has four objectives: (i) cooperation/participation; (ii) clearing house for technical and scientific works for future congresses; (iii) receipt/transmission of topics of international interest on physics, chemistry and technology of glass; and finally (iv) assistance to those countries that still do not have glass-related societies. He said that most of the work of the ICG was carried out by its Technical Committees (TCs), which are the “backbone” of international cooperation clusters. The TCs are organized into groups according to their R&D activity fields and include: Basics, Glass Production, Surfaces & Interfaces, New Applications and Information, Communication, Education, History. He then presented details about the TCs.

Glass is a vital part of the US manufacturing base and represents a value of almost $ 30 billion /year. Summarising he said that USA and Europe, in particular Germany dominate the global glass scenario. US accounts for about 29 per cent of global glass production although foreign-owned companies have a significant presence here. Glass manufacturing is expected to grow by 2 per cent every year for the next 4-5 years. China has already registered its presence, albeit a small but growing one. However, India needs to expand production to make a mark internationally.

Dr. Arup K. Chattopadhyay delivered a talk entitled Refractories for the Glass Industry. He analyzed the world market trend for refractories for glass industries and said that while there was a declining trend for specific refractory consumption there was a definite upswing in the demand for total refractory solutions. He added that conventional products are losing ground but there is increased demand for customer-driven product design. India represents one of the largest markets and manufacturing capacities of glass products in the Asian region, after China. Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh meets about a third of India’s glass needs. He then discussed the new generation refractories for the glass industries. He said that sophisticated refractories are needed for glass furnaces. He concluded by saying that the Glass Industry is facing challenges, the most important of which are: enhancement of furnace life, increase in productivity, achieving better energy efficiency and environmental protection. The refractory industry needs to accelerate the pace of development of technology and product quality. He called for closer ties between the refractory industry and technology providers to render complete refractory solutions for the Glass Industry.

Technical session II, was chaired by Shri. C.V. Chalam, Tech. Advisor, Ceasan Glass. Shri Swapan Guha, MD, Hopewell Tableware Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur spoke about Ceramics and Glass Tableware. He gave a comprehensive picture of the pioneering companies that had produced tableware in India; leading names included Bengal Pottery, Parashuram Pottery and Hitkari Pottery. Later came Bharat Pottery Pvt. Ltd., Clay Craft Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur Glass and Potteries, Jaipur Ceramics Pvt. Ltd, Oasis Ceramics and Khurja Pottery among others. It was not until 1976 that Nalanda Ceramics initiated manufacture of porcelain tableware with Japanese collaboration, but the project was not very successful. Similar was the case of Bharat Potteries Ltd. Interestingly, while this was the case for India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were forging ahead successfully perhaps because they are rich in natural gas-a pre-requisite. Another constraint that India faces is the non-availability of quality raw materials. In India, opal tableware was introduced by La Opala about 25 years ago. Then came Diplomat, Vicopal, and Alembic Glass; Hopewell Tableware joined the fray in 2011. Opal tableware is expected to grow at 12-15 per cent annually in the next five years. A lack of quality raw materials necessitates their import from countries such as Turkey, New Zealand and China. Currently, India holds second position after China in the production of bone china. India’s capacity for producing bone china tableware is 200 MTPD of which 25 per cent is exported. Indian manufacturers have captured a large chunk of the large mug business but have not been really successful in producing internationally celebrated quality bone china dinnerware.

Mr Sudipta Saha, Vice President, H. R. Johnson, India spoke about Glass Frits for Ceramic Glazed Tiles and their Applications. He began his talk by enumerating the different types of tiles that are made and said that without good quality frits it would not have been possible to create this diversity and to achieve the levels of excellence now available in the tile market. He especially mentioned the CSIR-CGCRI created glass frits/beads that have been approved by NRB/DAE (Mumbai).

Dr. G. P. Kothiyal, former Senior Scientist BARC, elaborated further on Glasses and Glass-Ceramics for Sealants and Nuclear Waste.

Dr. Fabiano Nicoletti chaired Technical session III. Shri Mukul Somany spoke on ‘Evolution of Glass Industry in India: Challenges and Future Scenario’. He began with an overview of the Indian glass industry with its roots going back to Harappa and Mohenjodaro (Indus Valley civilization) via trade with ancient Sumer in Mesopotamia. There is evidence that Firozabad, India’s Glass City was producing glass by the 17th century. The first Indian glass factory was set up in 1908. The quantum leap in the business of glass making really happened only in 1958 when the float glass process was perfected in 1958. It rapidly became a significant industrial innovation and became the method of choice globally, for making flat glass for buildings and vehicles. India adopted it too even though India produced its own indigenous technology to make bangles. He then described the market share of the different types of glass, the specific challenges faced by industry in these sector, the potential avenues for future revival and, most importantly, their expectations of CSIR-CGCRI and the scientific community.

Former Director, Dr. H. S. Maiti who chaired the Joint Meeting of ICG, AIGMF and delegates made a brief speech on India’s association with the ICG following which there was a spirited discussion amongst all present. An excellent debate on the capabilities of all the organizations took place and all delegates felt that closer interaction was needed. The outcome of this ICG, AIGMF Joint Meeting was to identify a few research areas. These included modelling and simulation of glass melting and glass forming processes. Some experts emphasized the need for research on soft and light glasses for containers. Research on energy-efficient float glass for structural and habitat applications was also required.

Dr. Manoj Choudhary chaired Technical session IV. Shri C.V. Chalam shared his wide personal experience in the Glass Industry from the 1950s to the present. He said that India now manufactures almost all types of glass to global standards.

Dr. Sener Oktik presented an overview of the Turkish Glass Industry beginning with the glassware of the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. In 1934, the foundations of Turkiye Sise ve Cam Fabrikalari A S were laid. It was Turkey’s first national glass factory. In 2012, it accounted for about 90 per cent of Turkey’s glass production. He said that the Eurozone accounted for 70 per cent of Turkey’s exports.

In a fitting finale, Dr. Ranjan Sen gave a crisp and focussed description of the activities of CSIR-CGCRI in the field of specialty glasses. He sent a clear message that while specialty glasses were not manufactured in bulk, unlike container or float glasses, they have their own importance for the nation’s social and strategic sectors. The indigenous technology for radiation shielding glass, that allows the creation of a transparent medium capable of shielding operators from harmful radiation, was a case in point. He also elaborated the applications of fiber optics oriented research in the areas of specialty fibers and fiber-based devices. Finally, he added that not only was CSIR-CGCRI a research organization equally involved in basic as well as applied science, but it had also demonstrated its commitment to the next generation of students and future scientists by having a functional AcSIR curriculum.

These sessions were followed by a Business session, a Panel discussion and a Cultural programme. An ICG Steering Committee meeting and an AIGMF Executive Council meeting also took place.

In addition to photographs on this web site, further images can be found at: http://aigmf.com/past-events.php

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