Glass Industry

Guardian RAK Glass Plant Begins Production

Float glass production is underway on a fast track schedule in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), United Arab Emirates, according to Guardian Industries and its joint venture partners, National Company for Glass Industries and Al Zamil Group. The new plant has been built in an industry-leading time frame in just over a year since ground was broken in 2006.

Known as Guardian RAK, the plant is among the largest non-oil industry projects built in the region and will produce 700 tons of float glass per day for automotive and construction applications, including high-performance coated glass. It celebrated the start of production with the ceremonial "first ribbon pull" on September 25, 2007. (Float glass is made by floating melted glass -- a "ribbon" -- on a bed of molten tin, which produces superior quality glass). The plant will employ approximately 300 people and generate
as many as 1,000 additional jobs in related supplier and logistics industries.

The RAK plant is the second one constructed in the region by these partners, following the 1996 opening of the GulfGuard project in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia, the region's first float glass plant. GulfGuard is dedicated to primarily serving Saudi Arabian customers. The new plant in RAK will enlarge and diversify product offerings while serving customers throughout the region.

"With the Ras Al Khaimah plant operational we have more than doubled our capabilities for float glass production," said Yousef Abaalkhail, chairman of the board of managers of both GulfGuard and Guardian RAK. "We have new flexibility to increase float glass product offerings, made possible by the latest in high tech glass-coating technology at the RAK plant."

Guardian RAK's board recently approved the addition of a state-of-the-art coating machine, which enables the manufacture of a variety of world-class, high-performance coated glass products to serve regional and global markets. The approval is contingent upon resolving regional electrical supply issues.

"Upon installation of this advanced coater, GulfGuard and Guardian RAK will offer both local and regional customers a comprehensive range of glass products," according to Russ Ebeid, president of Guardian's Glass Group. "That includes clear and tinted float glass, mirrors, patterned glass and high performance coated glass such as our full line of SunGuard advanced architectural glass."

First production with the coater is scheduled for late 2008 with construction beginning as soon as necessary approvals and permits are received.

Source: Earth Times