In view of the indeterminate situation concerning the Covid-19 pandemic The Society of Glass Technology (SGT) has decided that that we cannot be sure of being able to successfully run the Furnace Solutions & Training Day in its usual format. In order to satisfy interest in these conferences we have taken the decision to run them on Zoom webinars.
We will hold Furnace Solutions on the afternoons of 9 and 10 June, starting at 13.00 BST. We have chosen this timing so that we have the opportunity to link-in easily with our European contingent, as well as hopefully attract interest from the Indian sub-continent and early risers in the USA. We have an exciting set of speakers.
New platform for furnace health
On Day One the presentation by Fred Aker will introduce a new furnace health platform which captures audit data from multiple sources and monitors ongoing risks. It will look at digitisation, automation and artificial intelligence which are becoming the driving forces behind Industry 4.0.
In the glass manufacturing process the reliability of the furnace has the greatest impact on reliable manufacturing. This is simply due to the fact that a furnace failure may result in weeks/months of production disruption while all of the other assets in the process only take hours/days to recover. As a result of the inherent impact of the furnaces on the reliability of production, glass manufacturers tend to overestimate the risk of furnace failure and rebuild earlier than necessary. Because the industry has relied on thermal and visual audits, which are very speculative in assessing the furnace health, the quality of the furnace risk assessment is further degraded.
PaneraTech recently developed and released a radar-based smart melter sensor solution that sees potential glass leaks 1–3 years in advance when compared to thermal and visual inspections. Mr Aker’s presentation will describe a furnace health management platform that digitally integrates multiple sensory and audits inputs such as smart melter refractory thickness data, endoscopy, thermal and visual inspections as well as maintenance records, and discuss ways to monitor and quantify the risk and reliability of the entire furnace.
Measuring techniques and control systems
The second presentation on Day One will be by René Meuleman, now with CelSian, who will discuss the impact of the availability of new advanced sensors, in addition to thermocouples, in industrial glass melting furnaces as a prerequisite for further automation in the glass manufacturing industry. These advanced sensors can provide real time, quantitative information about the raw material and cullet input, quality of the glass melt, the position and thickness of the batch and foam layers, the key parameters of the combustion process, the energy flows in the furnace and the status/integrity of the furnace lining (refractories and insulation). Mr Meuleman will survey available measuring techniques, such as in-line chemical analysis of raw materials, redox sensors of the glass melt, laser sensors for combustion gases and batch monitoring cameras, and discuss the need for the development of new, reliable sensors.
The ZIPPE presentation by Volker Maier will discuss the different types of building and devices used to store and feed different raw materials and cullet. Nowadays this equipment and material transport is controlled automatically. Mr Maier’s presentation will focus on these control systems and look at the different kinds of weighing systems and process control systems. Control systems are constantly changing and new technologies are being introduced into the future plant automation and IT structures are increasingly growing together.
Auditing, Glass Futures and real-time monitoring
Day Two brings some very new and exciting developments for the industry.
First up we have a presentation from Hans Mahrenholtz of Glass Service, Czechia on a new approach to furnace audits. This is a well proven system that has reaped enormous benefits to those that have used the system.
Next, we have Aston Fuller the General Manager of Glass Futures who will present a comprehensive update on the Glass Futures project and give information on the low carbon trials that have taken place recently and are planned during this year.
This is an important chance to see the future of the glass industry. It should be remembered that this is an international programme but centred in the UK.
Rounding up the day there is what appears to be an alternative technology to one of the first day’s presentations. Steven Reumschuessel of Saveway will focus on the real time monitoring of refractory lining status in glass melt tanks.
During periods of slow business and vague forecasts it can be useful to know what is happening inside your production equipment. Creating, analysing and utilising data offers greater potential for making improvements.
Saveway has invented a portfolio of systems which enable real time lining measurement in harsh environments such as glass tanks or furnaces.
Mr Reumschuessel will take the opportunity to inform you about the technology and the advantages it brings by talking through some of the existing applications and sharing experiences.
In addition to Glass Worldwide, supporters and sponsors of Furnace Solutions include AMETEK Land, Calumite, DSF Refractories, Eurotherm by Schneider Electric, FIC, Fives, Forglass, Glass International, Glass Technology Services, Guardian Glass, HarbisonWalker, Nippon Gases, Parkinson-Spencer Refractories, Sefpro, Sibelco, Super Glass, Saint-Gobain and TECO Group.
We think this Furnace Solutions is probably our most exciting and innovative, with the use of Zoom offering a web-based opportunity for more people in the industry to keep in touch with new technologies. Visit the SGT website for the latest programme and details on how to register.
Image: Attendees at the Furnace Solutions Conference 2019 (image courtesy of Christine Brown).