Glass; importance of the economy

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Glass is a important component of Indian economy, generating more than 21 million metric tons of consumer products each year. Glass production is energy intensive and accounts for 12% of the total cost of sales. In theory, about 2.2 million Btu of energy are required to melt a ton of glass. In reality, it takes twice as much energy because of inefficiencies and loses. The glass industry consists of four major segments: container glass (bottles, jars, etc.); flat glass (windows, windshields, mirrors, etc.); fiberglass (building insulation and

textile fibers); and specialty glass (cookware, flat panel displays, light bulbs, fiber optics, medical equipment, etc.). Flat glass accounts for 17% of U.S. production by weight, container glass 60%, fiberglass 9% and specialty glass 4%. While the container, fiber, and flat glass industries focus on producing soda-lime glass for large, broad-based markets, the specialty glass industry focuses on higher temperature glasses and produces over 60,000 products. Examples of products

manufactured by the glass industry are shown in Key drivers for investment in the glass industry include cost, quality, and increased productivity. The desired state of the glass industry in twenty years has been formulated in a vision document prepared cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Future technology challenges and research opportunities were identified by comparing glass industry. Technology challenges are broadly categorized into four areas:

• advances in melting and refining processes and in fabricating/forming;

• technology development of new glass-making techniques, processing controls, and computer simulations to model new processes;

• systems improvements in emission controls, recycling methods, and solid waste management; and

• product development of innovative new uses for glass.

The following sections describe current glass manufacturing processes and how ceramic-based materials might contribute to achieving the glass industry vision. Materials commonly used in glass-processing equipment include fused silica, graphite, precious metals, and water-cooled ferrous alloys. Ceramics are primarily used as refractories, with ceramic coatings increasingly being used for wear resistance. Advanced ceramics are rarely used because of their high cost. Moreover, owing to the lack of suitable higher-temperaturecapable materials, fluxes are commonly added to reduce glass-processing temperatures and permit the use of conventional materials.

First glassworks in the Czech Republic date back to the first half of the 13 th century in the Bohemian and Lusatian Mountains.

The industrial revolution in 1910-1927 brought a considerable progress into the glass industry, above all in the manufacture of flat and packing glass. The economic increase of the glass industry culminated in 1929, when there were over 60 thousand people occupied in this branch. The world economic crises of the 30ies caused that nearly36 thousand glassworkers got unemployed.

From the second half of the 50-ies there was coming to the planed decline of the glass industry in favour of the heavy industry. Since 1989 the glass industry has gone trough a lot of restructuralisations as well as a considerable development in investments. In 1991-1992 first foreign capital (Belgium, Italy, German, Japan, USA) entered in the production of flat and packing glass and the glass fibres.

The only glasswork branches held after privatisation by Czech owners are those manufacturing utility glass and jewellery. In addition to large plants there have been set up a lot of small manufactures in both these branches enriching the market with a wide range of products, who are often successful even in the markets abroad.

The Czech glass industry is definitely an export branch, 81% of its production is exported. Establishment and development of a small and middle glass industry in the type of atelier glass-works is a positive trend after the revolution in 1989. A creative craft and art abilities of glassworkers applied there to enrich inland market and make middle and more exacting home and foreign customers interested there in. This kind of business benefits from the trend of big companies to reduce the hand made products and to develop the mass production of glass.

Glass Industry covers items such as flat glass (including sheet glass, float glass, figured and wired glass, safety glass and mirror) glass hollow wares and containers vacuum flasks and refills laboratory glassware, fiber glass and other items such as bangles beads and pearls, etc. The export of glass and glassware' products have increased from 313.3crore in the year 1998-99 to Rs. 840crore in 2002-03. Major export has taken place in flat glass sector and is ofthe order of Rs. 180crore during 2003-04. Average growth of exports is around 37% in glass fiber as 80% of their production is exported. The expected growth rate of glass fiber industry is around 12%. The export is expected to increase from Rs. 36.8crore in the year 1998-99 to Rs.300crore by 2004-05. The technology up-gradation is taking place in fiber glass composites. There is considerable scope for demand of glass fiber products particularly due to growth in petrochemical sector and allied products. Export of glass bottles have increased from Rs. 62.9crore in the year 2001 to Rs. 125crore in 2003-04. Float glass was started to be manufactured in the year 1995 and at present there are 4 units of float glass. There is a considerable scope in increasing capacity of float glass. Average growth in float glass is 15% and hollowware around 5.5%. Out of this sector vacuum flask industry has been facing major problem and is not able to survive due to competition with the International market. India's export in this sector has declined from Rs.46.7crore in 1998-99 to Rs.27crore in 2003-04. The production of bottles/bottle glass during 2003-04 was 9, 27, 633 tones, and production during 2004-05 (upto November 2004) was 5,65,974 tones.

From the second half of the 50-ies there was coming to the planed decline of the glass industry in favour of the heavy industry. Since 1989 the glass industry has gone through a lot of re-structuralisations as well as a considerable development in investments. In 1991-1992 first foreign capital (Belgium, Italy,

German, Japan, USA) entered in the production of flat and packing glass and the glass fibers.

The desired state of the glass industry in twenty years has been formulated in a vision document prepared cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Future technology challenges and research opportunities were identified by comparing the vision of the future with the current state of the glass industry. Technology challenges are broadly categorized into four areas:

• Advance in Melting and refining processes and in fabricating/forming;

• Technology development of new glass-making techniques, processing controls, and computer simulations to model new processes;

• Systems improvements in emission controls, recycling methods, and solid waste management;

· Product development of new innovative use of glass