As we are all well aware, the Covid-19 (coronavirus) has had a dramatic impact on all our lives across all continents. I sincerely hope that all of you and your loved ones have heeded the advice and managed to avoid close contact and have come through this pandemic unscathed. We live in very difficult times and we all have to adapt. Let us not forget that many people have lost love ones before their time.
The virus has had a huge impact on the Society of Glass Technology. Unfortunately, we have had to furlough most of our loyal and hardworking staff as our landlord, quite correctly, decided to close the offices to ensure social distancing. We hope to get them back to work as soon as the situation allows.
It has also been decided to reschedule the Training Day 8 and Furnace Solutions 15 Conference to run on 30 September to 1 October respectively at Lucideon, the usual venue. We have no choice as it is clear that it is very unlikely that we will be back to normal at the beginning of June, the event’s usual timing. All confirmed speakers have confirmed they are available (see more details below).
I am pleased to announce that the Society now has a redesigned website. It is the same address as previously (www.sgt.org). Once fully operational, it will become not only the primary portal for all members but will also offer a lot of information on all glass matters. Members will still have access to all the existing information and improved content. If there are any problems with accessing membership pages, please email the Society for assistance in the normal way. Of course, members have access to the journals Glass Technology (GT) and Physics and Chemistry (P&C), depending on which they nominate with their membership package; it can be either or both. Glass Technology is aimed primarily at a general readership and Physics and Chemistry is peer reviewed papers. It is likely that P&C will move to online only, as this is generally what all academic institutions prefer.
It is planned to use the website to introduce students and others to the industry and show them the exciting and wonderful world of glass. It will explain what glass can do in our daily lives and how it can have a very positive impact on reducing carbon emissions. We have lots of additional plans for the website that will be unveiled over the coming months.
The Society is actively engaged with Glass Futures, which is a very exciting development for the global industry. Although partially funded by the UK Government, it has a worldwide membership of major glass manufacturers in both flat and holloware glass segments.
Training day focus
An exciting schedule has been planned for Furnace Solutions this September, with a series of interesting presentations, designed to pass on knowledge to a younger audience and people new to the industry. Among this year’s confirmed speakers is Hans Marenholtz of Glass Service in the Czech Republic, who will discuss ‘A different approach to furnace audits’. This is not the usual look at the ways of furnace auditing and should be very informative.
Also planned is a presentation by Alan Stevens of Fives entitled ‘Forehearth audits – Is glass conditioning equipment at its best?’ Glass conditioning takes place in the working end and forehearths and is a vital part of good glass production. Ensuring it is functioning as it should and knowing when it is not is a prerequisite for a well-run container plant. The session will provide a brief outline of the steps necessary to achieve this, structural condition, combustion system set-up, cooling equipment functions and temperature control system operation.
The training day will also feature a paper by Jan Du Plessis Theron of Lucideon entitled ‘The challenges of tin bath blocks in the float process and how to test them’. Tin bath blocks are exposed to a distinct operating environment and if not produced correctly, they will create all sorts of problems such as tadpole faults, transpiration faults, seven inch splitting and nepheline flaking. To avoid these disasters in the float glass melter, there are a number of tests that can be performed on the material. The training session will cover the use of special tests, in addition to bespoke tests, an overview of more standard tests. The interpretation provided will allow end users to identify the risks of a specific batch of refractory material that is intended for use in tin baths.
A separate presentation has been arranged from Pauline Darbouret of Ferro France on ‘Forehearth colour technology, today’s performance needs and new challenges of tomorrow’.
The colouring of molten glass in a forehearth instead of inside the tank has been a key innovation for tableware and premium packaging glass manufacturers. This technology has helped the customisation of glass items when mass colouring was usually dedicated to long coloured glass campaigns. The running of forehearth colours requires expertise, patience and a deep understanding of the molten glass physical chemistry. Pauline Darbouret’s talk proposes a quick overview of the daily challenges, looks at glass defects and how they can be overcome. The second part of the presentation will cover sustainable ways of supplying the glass industry with colourful ideas.
CelSian Glass & Solar’s Lieke De Cock is also scheduled to speak at this September’s meeting, with a presentation entitled ‘The application of glass sensors in the glass industry’, while a talk by Rob Ireson of Glass Futures on ‘Alternative low carbon fuel technologies for glass manufacturing’ aims to cover the wide range of projects and opportunities run by Glass Futures in this field. This includes an update on the Fuel Switching project and may well also include the outcome of a Capital bid for the pilot plants proposed by Glass Futures.
A separate paper by Mathias Hagen of Luft- und Thermotechnik Bayreuth GmbH will discuss NOx, looking at its sources in glass production, current and future limits, the possibilities to reduce Nox, concepts and advantages, as well as storage areas for reactant impacts on planning permission.
Fred Aker from PaneraTech will concentrate on ‘Reliable manufacturing’, introducing a furnace health platform that captures audit data from multiple sources and discussing ongoing risks. Separately, Saveway GmbH’s Dominic Oates will highlight ‘Real-time monitoring of refractory lining status in glass melt tanks’. Saveway has developed a portfolio of systems that enable rea-time lining measurement in harsh environments such as glass furnaces.
In addition to Glass Worldwide, supporters and sponsors of Furnace Solutions include AMETEK Land, Calumite, DSF Refractories, Eurotherm by Schneider Electric, FIC, Fives, Glass International, Glass Technology Services, Guardian Glass, HarbisonWalker, Lucideon, Nippon Gases, Parkinson-Spencer Refractories, Sefpro, Sibelco, Super Glass, Saint-Gobain and TECO Group.
Annual meeting and awards
The SGT’s Annual Meeting will take place in Cambridge from 6 to 9 September, adopting the theme ‘Changes & Challenges’. This meeting will also incorporate GLASSAC 2020. Further details about this event will be provided in the next issue.
The Society is currently sifting through nominations for the Sir Alistair Pilkington Award – so far, five nominations have been received. This award will be given at the ESG/ICG meeting in Krakow, Poland starting on 13 September.
The Michael Garvey Award will again be presented during this year’s Furnace Solutions meeting. Separately, it is planned to create the David Martlew Award. This will be aimed at the history and heritage/arts side of the greater glass industry, in honour of Dr Martlew’s significant impact on this field.
All in all, these continue to be exciting time for the Society of Glass Technology!