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Innovation and Demand Keeps Glass Industry Afloat

By Paul Grad |

Despite competition from many new players, the glassmaking sector is rebounding with new applications and smart products The global glass industry is looking up again, in the aftermath of the recession of the past 10 years, when much of the industry for both of the main markets — flat glass and container glass — suffered quite badly. For a number of years, the market was quite uncertain for container glass for bottles and jars, as well as for the main flat-glass products — glazing in homes, commercial buildings and vehicles; wired glasses for fire resistance; patterned glass for decoration; and a range of glass for environmental control and energy conservation. The industry rebound is being helped by a number of new demands, such as specialty glass for electronics devices as well as new innovations, such as smart windows.   The market outlook Float glass. According to the U.S. National Glass Association (NGA; Vienna, Virginia; www.glass.org) the float-glass industry (the flat glass made by the float-glass method — see box below) experienced steep capacity reductions in North America and Western Europe where many plants had to close down, although in Japan, float capacity remained practically unchanged. In China,…
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