One of the international glass industry’s most highly respected brands, AGC specialises in the creation of added value by combining a wide variety of technologies in the fields of glass, electronics, chemicals and ceramics. Employing more than 55,000 people, the group’s business extends into more than 30 different countries, with regional structures in Japan/Asia, Europe and the Americas (North and South).
It was in 2018 that the company name was changed from Asahi Glass Co Ltd to AGC Inc, establishing a brand statement that continues to be central to all communications from the AGC Group: ‘Your Dreams, Our Challenge’. For more than a century, AGC has strived to develop technologies that will change the world, its materials, solutions and partnerships helping to facilitate key innovations across diverse industries and markets.
Created in 1907 to manufacture sheet glass for domestic Japanese consumption, AGC is still firmly rooted in the glass technology business and remains one of the industry’s main global players. In Japan, the company’s float glass activities satisfy some 40% of total demand.
Masahiro Takeda, who has worked for the organisation for almost four decades, is currently responsible for all architectural glass activities in a market that extends from Pakistan to New Zealand. After graduating from university, he joined AGI’s Corporate Communications Division in 1982, before assuming responsibility for the sales and marketing of insulated glass units and sales of functional glass to home builders. A three year stint as Director of Sales and Marketing for the glassmaker’s Indonesian operation preceded an assignment as Japan Marketing Group Leader, with responsibility for promoting the dissemination and market expansion of such materials as Low-E, interior and laminated glasses, including crime prevention materials.
Subsequently, Mr Takeda enjoyed senior management roles in China, before becoming a Strategy and Planning Division Leader to AGI’s Regional President for Asia Pacific, Building and Industrial Glass Company. He became President of AGC Glass Products in 2012. After a year, he was based in the USA for a short time and has served as AGC Inc’s Regional President for building and industrial glass in Asia Pacific since 2015.
Today, AGC Inc employs more than 6600 people and specialises in the production of float glass for architectural and industrial use, figured/polished and wired glass, as well as sophisticated Low-E coated glasses for IGU and interior duties. Operated almost exclusively to accommodate local demand, the company’s Japanese foot print includes an 850 tons/day float furnace (pictured) and a separate 310 tons/day furnace for figured/polished glass, as well as two specialist coating lines.
Highlights of AGC’s ongoing investment strategy for Japan have included the completion of a dedicated research centre to speed up the development process for new products. Recent technical innovations are the introduction of glass antennas that add cellular base station functions to windows and Halio smart glass. A mechanism has also been developed in-house that is expected to benefit the entire supply chain within the AGC Group.
The company is now increasing its investment in the production of highly functional double glazed glass, while also prioritising investments in digital platforms to optimise production capabilities. This includes the introduction of an advanced order receipt system, as well as preparing for the arrival of building information modelling (BMI) in Japan, involving online quotations based on drawing data for buildings.