Global Update

International Glass Groups Gather in Venice, Italy, to Strengthen Relationships

By Jenna Reed

Representatives from 16 professional glass groups from throughout the world gathered together in June to discuss common challenges and share information during the Second Annual International Convention of Glass Industry Associations in Murano, Venice, Italy. Three new associations joined the meeting’s ranks this year — Abravidro (The Brazilian Association of Flat Glass), The Finnish Association of Flat Glass and FunGlass (The Centre for Functional and Surface Functionalized Glass) based in Trencßín, Slovakia.

The event was organized by Vitrum and supported by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA). Associations from 11 countries were represented, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, the United Kingdom, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.Iara Bentes represented Abravidro, one of the largest glass associations in Brazil, which includes almost 200 glass companies.

According to Abravidro’s annual re-port, tempered glass is the most popular glass product in Brazil, followed by mirrors, laminated, table top glass and insulating glass. The revenues of tempered glass are down almost 3 percent from 2016 to 2017, while laminated glass revenues are down 18 percent.

However, Bentes noted that employee numbers at glass companies are on the upturn. This points to a more positive future, she said.

Jenni Heikkila represented the Finnish Association of Flat Glass. It is 21 years old and has 130 member companies. Its main goals are to raise the quality of glass in building construction, as well as influence legislation, standards and guides. One of the group’s recent initiatives was introducing a glass design software to the Finnish market as no software was available. The Finnish group has been working closely with Norway and Sweden. They share information since the regulations and laws are similar in their countries.

FunGlass (The Centre for Functional and Surface Functionalized Glass) represents 40 researchers from Slovakia, Spain, Germany and Italy. It is a project supported by the Eighth European Framework program for Re-search and Innovation Horizon 2020. Their goal is to create an advanced glass center that promotes guide-lines and advancements. According to FunGlass representative Martin Michalek, the new center will specialize in research in the area of glasses with special functional properties (luminescence and electric), and to the functionalization of conventional glasses with the aim of modification of their properties and adding new functionalities.

The 16 glass groups established committees on several key topics, including technical and production standardization, education and training, history and culture, and energy and environmental stewardship. The goal is to share knowledge and best practices to help each group overcome common challenges and help the glass industry as a whole.“If someone has done it before, why do we have to keep reproducing it over and over again with limited resources,” asked Dino Zandonella Necca, president of Vitrum, suggesting a pooling of knowledge. Members of the group will meet again at glasstec in October 2018 to further develop the committees. The groups were also in favor of continuing an annual meeting of associations in Murano, Venice, Italy.

Everlam Opens Center of Competence

Everlam has opened its new Center of Competence in Mechelen, Belgium.

The building hosts a unique combination of the company’s commercial headquarters, research and development laboratory and technical center. It is designed as an open space to accelerate collaborative shared work, create stronger synergies and foster innovation across the entire company, according to the announcement. Centrally located in Europe, it offers easy access and facilities for welcoming and training customers and partners.

“The Everlam Center of Competence is a new milestone in the company’s development. Conceived as an open space, it benefits fluid exchanges be-tween teams and reflects what Everlam is about: a service-oriented, innovative and entrepreneurial company,” says Greg Parekh, Everlam chairperson.

“Everlam’s massive investment in people and facilities is giving us the key assets to address market needs, remain close to our customers and deliver the highest quality operations, products and services,” adds Harald Hammer, CEO. “Led by a strongly committed multinational leadership team that shares one vision for the company, Everlam is driven to pursue its growth path and focus on strengthening its position as a major market player.”

AGC Celebrates 120th Anniversary of Boussois Float Plant in France

AGC Glass Europe’s Boussois float glass plant in northern France celebrated 120 years of operation in June with a ceremony. The event featured a cake measuring 180 cm by 40 cm in the form of a complete float line.

The plant is now the largest French producer of flat glass, with two float lines and a total capacity of more than 1,300 tons per day. Employing approximately 230 people, it specializes in production of clear glass (Planibel Clearlite) and glass with high light transmission (Planibel Clearvision) for the construction industry and the indoor furnishings market. The plant recently distinguished itself with production of XXL glass sheets having an outsize length of approximately 52.5 feet, according to the company.

The plant previously demonstrated its innovative capabilities when it introduced oxycombustion into its process, with the combustion gas pre-heated by heat recovered from the flue gases. This system led to a reduction in energy consumption by around 25 percent along with significant reductions in atmospheric emissions, making it one of the most ecologically-friendly plants in the world, according to the company.

Briefly

Wake Forest, N.C.-based Stewart Engineers Inc. has signed an agreement with the Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMC) to study and evaluate the construction of a new float glass manufacturing plant in Qatar. The agreement was announced during the Qatari business delegation visit to Raleigh, N.C., in April. If the technical and economic feasibility studies are successful, the project would see construction of a 50,000-square-meter facility in Qatar producing 600 tons of glass panels per day for use in buildings, cars and solar panels. The project is expected to create up to 250 jobs.

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