The glass industry within the European Union (EU) is extremely diverse, both in the products made and the manufacturing techniques employed. Products range from intricate handmade lead crystal goblets to the huge volumes of float glass produced for the construction and automotive industries.
Manufacturing techniques vary from the small electrically-heated furnaces in the high temperature insulation wools (HTIW) sector to the cross-fired regenerative furnaces in the flat glass sector, producing up to 1000 tons per day. The wider glass industry also includes many smaller installations that fall below the 20 tons per day threshold. However, for some of the statistical data given in this chapter, it has not been possible to separate out the contribution from the smaller plants, but this is not considered significant since they account for less than 5 % of the total industry output.
The glass industry is essentially a commodity industry, although many ways of adding value to high volume products have been developed to ensure the industry remains competitive. Over 80 % of the industry output is sold to other industries, and the glass industry as a whole is very dependent on the building, and the food and beverage industries. However, this general picture is not true for all of its components, as some of the smaller volume sectors produce high-value technical or consumer products. In the late 1990s, the glass industry continued a period of reorganization.
In order to reduce costs and compete more effectively in a global market, and to benefit from economies of scale, companies merged together and the number of independent operators fell. The groups that dominate the industry became more international in their operations, and users increasingly required homogeneous quality, regardless of the country where the products were used. The EU glass industry was at the forefront of technological developments and thus was likely to benefit from improved industrial performance in future years. With the notable exception of Saint-Gobain, there are, at the time of writing, few major companies operating in more than two of the eight sectors specified in the previous section.
For example, the Owens Corning Corporation specializes in glass fiber technology, continuous filament glass fiber and glass wool. PPG is a large international producer of flat glass and continuous filament glass fiber, but is no longer active in flat glass manufacturing in Europe and operates only continuous filament glass fiber plants. Pilkington Group specializes mainly in flat glass activities.
The types of activities falling under the scope of this document vary widely in scale, the techniques employed, and the associated environmental issues. When determining whether an installation falls within the definitions in Annex I, the aggregated capacity of each melting activity at the installation is considered. For the purposes of this document, the melting capacity criterion of 20 tonnes per day should be used to relate to the mass of the melt produced. This approach is not intended to prejudge the interpretation of the definition in the Directive, rather it is intended to ensure that the information provided is consistent with the standard terminology used within the glass industry.
The high temperature insulation wool (HTIW) manufacturing sector differs significantly from the other sectors of the glass industry. The typical production of the installations is between 5 – 10 tons/day, therefore below the tonnage requirement of 20 tons/day set by the Directive.
However, the sector fully supports the objectives of the BREF and for that reason it is included in the GLS BREF. Polycrystalline wool production, which is obtained by a sol-gel method from aqueous spinning solutions, and does not undergo a high-temperature melting process, is not covered in this document due to the particular characteristics of the product.
glasstec is the world’s leading trade fair for the glass industry with 1,276 exhibitors from 50 countries. Whether glass production, processing technologies, new glass products or innovative craft processing. The spectrum is unique. In 2020, pioneering innovations, products and developments await you here as well. Be part of it!
glasstec sets new standards in every respect. Experience the innovation strength of made of glass, with a focus on the top growth markets in the industry. Be inspired by the offers and developments of the leading companies worldwide. Here, trends are set that will move the future of glass. For decades, glasstec has been the industry’s leading meeting place and showcase for technical developments. The unique presentation, paired with the new, groundbreaking conference concept at the glasstec conference, makes the trade fair to an absolute hot spot. Take advantage of this success potential.
The spectrum of the special show glass technology live is unmatched worldwide: Whether interactive facades and display glass, energy and performance, constructive glass, solid glass, thin glass or hollow glass – again in 2020 you can expect top developments on the topics that move the industry.
Many innovations and novelties from science and glass research will be presented to the public for the first time at glass technology live. So you can look forward to the latest developments.
The university network of the four renowned technical universities of Darmstadt, Delft, Dresden and Dortmund will continue to set new impulses in 2020 with a unique presentation of trend-setting technologies. It is a must to be there.
glasstec is the contact platform for top decision-makers from the glass industry as well as experts from business, research and politics. To young, innovative companies the Start-up Zone offers a platform to make new contacts in the glass industry and build networks. National and international start-ups can secure one of the coveted stands in the Start-up Zone with immediate effect.
The Start-up Zone celebrated a successful premiere at glasstec 2018. 15 young, international companies capitalised on the possibility of presenting their ideas and products to an expert audience. Glasstec offers ideal conditions for this. Due to the high percentage of national and international decision-makers (79% of the 42,600 trade visitors) and the 1,276 exhibitors from 50 nations glasstec is THE hotspot for the glass industry.
Thomas Duchardt also rated participation in the Start-up-Zone as a success. His company will be among the repeat attendees at glasstec 2020.
“The Start Up-Zone gives me the opportunity to gain exposure at the most important trade fair for the glass industry on a small budget. Personal contacts are very important especially for canvassing new customers. I can invite existing customers in a targeted fashion and also use the four trade fair days to get talking with other interesting exhibitors,” says Thomas Duchardt, Büro Thomas Duchardt GmbH
The number of registered exhibitors and, hence, occupied space is already now at the previous year’s levels, nine months to the event. At glasstec 2018 1,276 companies from glass machinery production, glass manufacturing and skilled crafts occupied 67,000 square metres of space. 70% of these travelled to Düsseldorf from abroad.
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