Glass Industry

Flat Glass Sector of Saint-Gobain To Build A Float Glass Line In Egypt

In view of the strong growth trends in Middle Eastern markets, Saint-Gobain's Flat Glass Sector has decided to expand its presence in the region with the construction of a float glass production line in Egypt.

This facility is to be operated in a joint-venture that has been founded with MMID (El Mansour and El Maghraby Investment and Development Company), a major Egyptian Group with activities including Real estate and Industry. The float line will be built in Ain El Sokhna, located 120 kilometers east of Cairo and 40 kilometers south of Suez, along the Red Sea coast.

Output from the new facility will be sold on the Egyptian market and also exported to the Middle East and Africa.

The overall cost of the investment will be approximately Euros 120 million. Construction is due to start in 2008 and production in 2009.

This operation constitutes a further step in the Group's growth strategy in emerging countries, where its Flat Glass Sector now generates some 35% of its turnover.

Source: Saint-Gobain

AGC Flat Glass Europe Chooses Zeebrugge To Launch A World First In Mirrors

AGC Flat Glass Europe (formerly Glaverbel) today announced a world first with its 3rd generation ecological mirror glass: Mirox 3G. This innovation is the summit of 30 years of experience and worldwide leadership in mirrors for the plant in Zeebrugge (Belgium). Experience that goes well beyond what is reflected in the mirror!

Unique mirror glass: ecological and antibacterial

AGC Flat Glass Europe unique Mirox 3G is the product of continuous, advanced research in mirror technology. As such it is the first mirror glass to meet the requirements of the European Union's RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directive. This directive is aimed at reducing the amounts of hazardous substances (such as lead) used in industrial production processes. Thanks to a patented process, AGC Flat Glass Europe will soon be the only company whose entire output of mirrors is RoHS-compliant, guaranteeing the same high quality in all its production units.
The total absence of formaldehyde, copper and lead makes this mirror glass the most ecological in the world. It also offers higher quality, with greater resistance to scratches, corrosion, humidity and chemical attack by cleaning products.

Mirox 3G can also be treated according to AGC's latest invention, the antibacterial glass introduced in September this year. The presence of silver ions in the top layers of the glass eliminates 99.9% of bacteria that come in contact with the surface. This gives the 3G mirror glass an important role to play in all places were hygiene is of particular importance (hospitals, hotels, sports complexes etc.).

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Schott Seeks To Strengthen Its Position In Russia

SCHOTT Pharmaceutical Packaging, a leading worldwide supplier of parenteral packaging to the pharmaceutical industry, has decided to build the company's first production facility located in the Russian Federation. The new plant is expected to become operational in 2009. The facility will be based in Bor, a city located near the fourth largest city in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod.

"This move is of great strategic importance to our pharma business, it will strengthen the company's leading position and allow for pharmaceutical customers based in the Commonwealth of Independent States to be served more effectively," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management of SCHOTT AG.

With respect to pharmaceutical vials and ampoules, the premium quality segment is currently experiencing strong double-digit growth, therefore SCHOTT has decided to support the further market development by building a production site in Russia. SCHOTT has been active in the Russian market for parenteral primary pharmaceutical packaging for years by serving this region in particular from an existing plant in Hungary.

During phase 1, SCHOTT will begin manufacturing primary pharmaceutical packaging with approximately 150 employees. In a mid-term view, a capacity of approximately 300 million units will be installed. The support of regional and local government officials has been playing an important role in the location decision. The chosen property can accommodate further expansion options to meet increased demand.

The pharmaceutical packaging manufacturing plant will become the second production site run by SCHOTT in Russia. The SCHOTT joint venture "SCHOTT Flat Glass Russia" began processing flat glass for ovens and refrigerators at the end of September.

Source: Schott

Corning Celebrates Sullivan Park Expansion Ground-breaking

Corning Incorporated broke ground today on a previously announced $300 million facility improvement plan for the company's Sullivan Park Research and Development campus near Corning, N.Y. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer helped lead the ceremonial groundbreaking, along with Corning leadership, employees and invited dignitaries.

The expansion plan at Corning's world-leading research center includes significant renovation of an existing research and development building and construction of a new facility. Results are expected to include increased operational efficiency, flexibility, space utilization and energy efficiency. All phases of this project are expected to be completed by 2013, with expenditures phased over the course of this six-year period.

Corning Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wendell P. Weeks set the stage as he spoke to Corning's long history of successful innovation. Next year marks 100 years of dedicated research at Corning - an achievement that only five U.S. companies can claim. "Today's groundbreaking represents an important milestone in our continuing commitment to excellence in research and development, and to the southern tier of New York State," Weeks said.

Weeks traced Corning's history of research breakthroughs from developing the glass envelope to commercialize Thomas Edison's electric light bulb, to cathode ray tubes that enabled the growth of television, to today's newest game-changing technology, ultra-bendable fiber.

"Today's announcement demonstrates that great companies like Corning are investing in Upstate New York's innovation economy because they understand its potential," said Governor Spitzer. "These are the type of key projects that will continue to drive the revival of the Upstate economy and the Southern Tier."

Corning Chief Technology Officer Dr. Joseph A. Miller spoke of Corning as an organization that thrives on creating first-of-a-kind, life-changing innovations. He attributed Corning's ongoing success in research and development to a special recipe: a centralized and collaborative R&D environment, a vibrant innovation heritage, and a community of talented employees to whom Miller dedicated the event. "They are delivering the inventions and innovations that will not only grow Corning, but will contribute to the well-being of this region," Miller said.

Assistance for this expansion project has been offered by the Empire State Development Corporation, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the New York State Department of Transportation in the forms of: a $1.5 million capital grant; up to $1.5 million in project funding; and up to $750,000 in Industrial Access Program funding, respectively. The Industrial Access Program funding is to be applied for by the town or county.

Source: Corning

A First For The Industry: AGC Flat Glass Europe Combines LEDs And Glass

AGC Flat Glass Europe has launched Glassiled. This new product, an industry first, combines LEDs(1) and glass and has been specially designed for use in façades and interior decoration. Glassiled will be on display at the Batimat international exhibition in Paris on 5 November. In keeping with its tradition of innovative products, AGC Flat Glass Europe has carved out a new niche by expanding its concept of how class can be used: it is now a significant medium of communication, both during the day and also at night.

Capture the light and glass

Light is a vital part of our everyday lives. It is a major source of inspiration when planning working spaces, homes and commercial buildings. It drives architects and designers to find materials which can be used for specific applications to create a certain atmosphere or express creativity. Keenly aware of this trend, AGC Flat Glass Europe has designed a product which combines the durability of laminated safety glass with LED technology. Natural light, artificial light and transparency are now available in a single product: Glassiled.

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Net-Zero-Energy Homes In United States

While congratulating the teams at the Closing Awards Ceremony of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced over $44 million to support the commercialization and promotion of advanced solar and other clean energy technologies. "Promoting the early commercialization of solar and other energy efficient technologies will help secure America's clean energy future", Secretary Bodman said.

The four Building America contractor teams include the Building Science Corporation; IBACOS; Consortium of Advanced Residential Buildings; and Building Industry Research Alliance; these teams, consortium of academic and building industry leaders, will receive $40 million over the next five years (FY2008-FY2012, subject to annual appropriations) to develop net-zero-energy homes.

These homes will be highly energy efficient - using 70 percent less energy than homes built to current building codes - and will incorporate solar or other onsite renewable systems to provide the balance of their energy needs. This funding is part of the Building America program, a private/public partnership sponsored by DOE that conducts systems research to improve overall housing performance, increase housing durability and comfort, reduce energy use, and increase energy security for America's homeowners.

Secretary Bodman also announced two regional building technology application centers at The University of Central Florida and Washington State University that will serve 17 states. DOE awarded $4.1 million, subject to negotiation and annual appropriation, to accelerate the adoption of new and developing energy-efficient technologies by the market. These centers will deliver information and training on commercially available energy saving technologies, processes, and tools that have been developed by DOE and provide a regional resource for market transformation by providing technology and best practices needed to produce marketable, energy-efficient buildings.

Source: Construction and Maintenance

Sage Electro-chromics: Clean Cash

At the Sage Electrochromics plant in Faribault, glass is everywhere. Sheets of it lie on conveyor belts waiting to be cleaned, inspected and coated. Samples of glass lie in FedEx boxes, awaiting the eager eyes of architects. And of course, glass covers the exterior of the building, so much so that, on a clear sunny day, outdoors seems to be indoors.

In the middle of this glass castle sits Chief Executive John Van Dine, who pauses for a moment to sum up Sage's prospects.

"We have a company in Faribault that is a global leader in a technology that will have a big impact on the world," he said. "But no one knows it."

That soon may change. Sage is generating buzz among investors for its "smart glass" technology, which allows users to adjust the tint of windows depending on a building's temperature and energy needs. With the press of a button, users can tint windows during the summer to reduce glare and solar heat, eliminating the need for ugly curtains or blinders. Users also can brighten windows in the winter to trap more heat. For building owners, that means lower air conditioning and heating bills. For bleary-eyed cubicle drones, that means more natural light and a view of the outside world.

"I think they have a very unique and interesting technology that will have a high value in the market place," said Steve Mercil, chief executive of Rain Source Capital, a St. Paul venture capital firm and a major investor in Sage. "Anyone who has a window they want to look out of ... will value the technology right from the start."

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AGC Flat Glass Europe - Glass Partner for the City of Architecture and Heritage

With the opening of this French institution for architecture, AGC Flat Glass Europe - formerly Glaverbel - has, to quote the institution's President François de Mazières, established itself as the "glass partner for the City of Architecture and Heritage". This is proof for the world's leading flat-glass manufacturer that its innovative products meet even the most daring of architectural needs.

This partnership seals a shared approach to raising the general public's awareness of architecture and promoting this type of design. That was the key objective behind the renovation works to the City by architect Jean-François Bodin which, like the temporary galleries opened in March, will appeal to both amateurs and enthusiasts alike. For the European branch of AGC (Asahi Glass Company) Flat Glass, it also highlights the major role played by glass in contemporary architectural designs as well as innovation in the construction sector.

This cooperation is all the more natural now that the AGC Group's contribution to prestigious landmark buildings designed by renowned architects is increasing. These include the Multimedia Centre in Hamburg (Norman Foster), the Antwerp law courts (Richard Rogers), the Bolle project by Massimiliano Fuksas and the Allianz Arena in Munich to name but a few examples.

AGC Flat Glass Europe is also keen to keep up with new requirements. The Group develops intelligent glasses that are highly valued by architects, the result of a corporate culture that is keenly aware of the importance of research and development. These are intelligent glasses that open up an infinite range of opportunities that allow designers to give free reign to their talent. The latest, and by no means insignificant, example is antibacterial glass which will be presented at Batimat 2007.

So it was equipped with this expertise, backed up by excellent credentials, that AGC products were used to renovate the City. The manufacturer, for example, supplied Stratobel Eva Creation glass with integrated bronze mesh for the doors of the end pavilion in the Chaillot Palace along with elegant outdoor totem poles (glass information panels) that are refined, efficient and entirely transparent.

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Eastern European Window Market

With growth rates that have exceeded Western Europe for years, the window market in Eastern Europe is poised to surpass the West's in size by 2008, predicts Interconnection Consulting. The Vienna-based market research firm reports Eastern European window sales totalled 47.5 million units sold in 2006, with a total value of 6.9 billion Euros.

That growth will continue to be strong for years to come, according to Interconnection's new study, which covers Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Hungary. Together, these countries represent a window market that grew by 26.9 percent in 2006.

By 2008, the Eastern European market is expected to reach 77 million window units. That is the approximate number of units now sold annually in Western Europe. By 2010, the Eastern market volume is predicted to have nearly tripled to 130 million window units sold annually. The value of windows sold will exceed 20 billion Euros.

Russia and the Ukraine will be the drivers for much of this growth and are expected to account for 77 percent of the Eastern European market in 2010. These booming markets are currently growing by more than 30 percent per year.

In the more mature European Union-markets, growth amounted to "only" 9.3 percent, analysts note, and only Hungary suffered declining quantities. The Baltic countries, which saw falling numbers back in 2000, are back on track, growing again by more than 20 percent per year. The Balkan countries, which were up 15.3 percent in 2006, will soon reach their peak, expected for 2007-2008.

Pointing to continued growth potential, Interconnection notes that throughout Eastern Europe there are too few apartments, too little modern office space, public buildings are in need of renovation and many private dwellings need new, energy-efficient windows. In the next four years, yearly growth will be between 10 percent and 35 percent, depending on the country.

Additionally, incomes continue to rise and with that trend, there are some shifts in window preferences. Offering value-priced performance, PVC's share of the Eastern European market accounted for about 70 percent in 2006, Interconnection notes. Other issues are now driving preferences in the direction of wood and clad-wood windows, which are considered both ecologically sound and pleasing to the eye, it is noted. The shift, however, is not expected to decrease PVC sales at all.

Source: Glass on Web

PPG Acquires Coatings Resource Corporation

PPG Industries announced it has acquired certain assets of Coatings Resource Corporation (CRC), Huntington Beach, Calif. Terms were not disclosed.

CRC produces paints, lacquers and varnishes for use on metal and wood industrial and consumer products, including audio-visual equipment, sporting goods and automotive interiors. It also produces injectable colorants, blowing agents, processing aids, ultraviolet (UV) stabilizers and anti-oxidants used on various types of plastics. CRC operates one manufacturing facility in Huntington Beach and employs approximately 30 people.

The acquired assets include inventory, accounts receivable, key sales and technical personnel, selected equipment, formulations and customer lists. CRC’s manufacturing plant in Huntington Beach will not be acquired by PPG but will toll manufacture products for PPG for the foreseeable future.

“This acquisition enables PPG to accelerate growth in key strategic markets for its industrial coatings business,” said William Wulfsohn, PPG senior vice president of coatings. “CRC’s extensive range of water-based and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) technologies will broaden PPG’s existing portfolio of environmentally responsible decorating solutions.”

“We are very excited to complete this transaction with PPG,” said Jeff Laird, CRC president. “Combining PPG’s global reach with CRC’s technology will offer a compelling value to the global industrial coatings market.”

CRC has supplied global plastic manufacturers with high-quality customized coating solutions for more than 30 years. The company’s waterborne technology enables the production of environmentally responsible products that perform to standards previously attained only with solvent-borne technology.

Source: PPG

Aluplast and Plastmo Join Forces

Aluplast and Plastmo Profiles Limited have agreed a strategic alliance, creating a significant player in the UK window and door systems industry.

This positive move is a great strategic fit for both parties and will see the continuation of both brands in the UK market which will include Plastmo's Index, Vogue, Slidex, Rollex and Charisma products alongside aluplast's advanced Ideal 70 system.

The trading relationship will see aluplast re-locate it's UK operations to the Plastmo facility in Northampton, which has benefited from considerable investment over recent years and will provide the new venture with significant operational capabilities. The all-round strength, marketing skills and resources of Plastmo will also be combined with the advanced technological capabilities and considerable global resources of aluplast.

Aluplast chairman Manfred J. Seitz adds "This is great news for customers of both aluplast and Plastmo and will see us all go from strength to strength".

Henrik Jensen, managing director of Plastmo Profiles comments: "This is a fantastic opportunity for both parties to realise improved operational efficiencies and benefit from an ongoing investment programme. Consolidation is inevitable in the UK market and I am certain that we've found the perfect trading partner".

About Aluplast

Aluplast is probably the most dynamic international window and door systems group and the aluplast brand is now ranked number five in the world in this field. aluplast has 10 manufacturing sites throughout Europe and has a further 15 distribution businesses worldwide. 1400 employees are involved in the design, manufacture, sales and distribution of window and door system products, serving a network of some 1600 fabricators who are responsible for around 10 million windows per annum. The Ideal 70 system from aluplast (UK) Ltd is among the very best available in the UK and boasts outstanding energy performance along with a host of features that ensure it stands above the competition.

About Plastmo Profiles 

Plastmo Profiles is one of the UK's leading window and door systems companies, operating from a 9 acre operation in Northampton. Plastmo have a long history of innovation in both their product and service offering and now boast a market leading vertical sliding window, Charisma. Plastmo offer their customer base an unrivalled level of customer, technical and marketing support that includes and an in-house graphic design service and a wide range of materials to support the trade fabricator and installer.

Source: gexhibition.com 

PPG Industries and Agion Technologies Enter into Exclusive, Multi-Year Partnership

Agion Technologies, the leading provider of natural silver-based antimicrobial solutions, today announced a worldwide, multi-year exclusive partnership agreement with PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) to develop, manufacture, and jointly market PPG's coatings for use on laptop computers. PPG supplies coatings solutions to markets such as construction, industrial, and transportation.

Consumer awareness and concern about bacteria, mold, and mildew exposure is growing, in particular for laptop computers used by office workers, students, and families. Many computer surfaces are susceptible to harboring microbes, and it is difficult to keep these surfaces sufficiently clean. PPG's coatings, featuring Agion's antimicrobial protection, have been developed to work continuously to inhibit the growth of microbes using "nature's antimicrobial" - naturally-safe silver ion technology.

"We believe partnering with Agion to develop coatings solutions will be strategically important to our company and our customers," said William Wulfsohn, PPG senior vice president of coatings. "We can offer the benefit of Agion antimicrobial protection for laptop surfaces and provide customers with a differentiable feature in a competitive market, while reinforcing PPG's proactive position on environmental impact."

"The Agion brand is synonymous with value, and natural antimicrobial protection resonates with consumers," said Ginger Merritt, Agion vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. "Agion continues to attract strong, global partnerships with world-class companies like PPG, who share our commitment to bringing antimicrobial solutions to market."

Agion's antimicrobial technology has an extensive and comprehensive regulatory portfolio, with approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Association (EFSA) and listing as an indirect food contact substance approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Agion's product is also a notified existing substance under Directive 98/8/EC on European Biocidal Products Directive (BPD) and is listed on eight chemical inventories throughout the world.

Source: CNW Group

Environment Assessment Poses Hurdles for New Asahi Glass Plant in Taiwan

Having already said it may consider changing its plans to establish a plant outside the "Tree Valley Park" in Southern Taiwan, Asahi Glass may have no choice but to make the change as the Southern Taiwan Science Park (STSP) has said the glass substrate maker's production at the park may have a serious impact over fellow panel makers in the area, which implies that Asahi Glass could face difficulty in passing the required environment assessment.

Since production of glass substrates in a furnace generates sulfur dioxide from the burning of oil, this would place an impact over surrounding IC and panel makers, said CW Chen, director of STSP. If Asahi Glass is unwilling/able to change its fuel from oil to gas, its application is unlikely to be approved, he added.

The Industry Development Bureau under Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), however, is now offering assistance to Asahi Glass in seeking an alternative location that does not require an environment assessment. Chen said a decision on a new location will be revealed soon.

Regarding the sixth-generation (6G) plant of Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) at the same site, Chen said an environment assessment is still underway and declined to comment further.

Source: Digitimes

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: PR Newswire

Asahi Glass To Expand Output Capacity of Large TFT-LCD Glass Substrates

Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. has decided to increase production capacity of glass substrates for TFT-LCD (thin film transistor-liquid crystal display). Spending about 30 billion yen in total, Asahi Glass will establish a production furnace (output capacity: 5 million m²/year) and a polishing line, for up to 10th generation substrates, at its Takasago Plant (Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture). The production furnace is expected to start mass production respectively in Autumn 2008 and the polishing line is forecasted to start in 2009.

Demand for TFT liquid crystal panels is now in full swing for television sets as well as for personal computers, and is expected to rise at an annual rate of 20% on a unit basis. In addition, many TFT liquid crystal panel manufacturers currently produce panels by using large 6th generation or larger mother glass. Production of panels with using 10th generation glass substrates, the world’s largest, is also scheduled.

Given this trend, the supply-demand situation of glass substrates is expected to even tighten, centering on large sizes, and glass manufacturers will be forced to build structures for stably supplying large glass substrates. Until now, Asahi Glass has boosted production capacity of glass substrates in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in response to a rise in demand, and has promoted technology development for large glass substrates. The company will now establish a new production furnace and a polishing line at Takasago Plant that will be capable of handling even 10th generation glass substrates, responding to projected stronger demand and larger mother glass sizes. As the company’s largest domestic production base of TFT glass, the Takasago Plant currently operates two production furnaces for TFT glass substrates and a polishing line that can handle up to 8th generation glass substrates. The plant’s existing human resources and infrastructure can therefore be used effectively for this project, and a building space for the project can be secured within the plant site without needing to acquire or lease additional land. Thus, the plant indeed offers a favorable location and key benefits for this project.

Asahi Glass will continue to expand facilities as necessary, while giving full consideration to trends in demand for glass substrates and an increase in production capacity at its existing manufacturing facilities in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and will also stably supply products that meet the needs of customers by leveraging its strengths in the float production method and technologies for polishing large glass substrates.

Source: Asahi Glass

Zimbabwe: Zimglass Loses $2bn Daily

Prospects of glass shortage in the country easing in the near future have been scuttled by power cuts, which have adversely affected operations at the country's sole glass manufacturer Zimglass, which is said to be losing $2 billion a day in foregone production as a result.

Zimglass group chief executive Mr Jacob Dube yesterday said efforts to alleviate the shortage since July had been futile largely because of the power outages. This was despite a standing agreement between Zimglass and the Zimbabwe Elec-tricity Distribution Company whereby the glass manufacturer paid part of its electricity bill in foreign currency in exchange for uninterrupted electricity supplies during the firing and post-firing period of its blast furnaces.

"The company is capable of producing and selling 2 250 tonnes of glass per month, which means that from 22 July to 20 September we should have produced and sold 4 800 tonnes of glass packaging but have managed to produce and sell only 1 500 tonnes," said Mr Dube.

"It must be remembered that once our furnaces are fired they cannot be stopped until after the next rebuild. "This means that during load-shedding although commercial production cannot be carried out the furnace must be kept hot and raw materials consumed using standby generators.

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Corning Glass Business to Move from Big Flats to Mexico

Corning Inc. said Wednesday it will move its laboratory glassware business from its Big Flats plant to Monterrey, Mexico.

The move will allow the Twin Tiers' largest employer to concentrate at Big Flats on more lucrative drug discovery products, said Mark A. Beck, vice president and general manager of Corning Life Sciences.

Beck declined to say how many employees will be affected by the change, which will occur over two years.

Mike Walker, president of Local 1000 of the United Steelworkers of America, said about 50 of the 70 union employees at Big Flats will be affected.

Beck said many of those whose jobs are being shifted to Mexico will be eligible to apply for jobs in other Corning Inc. facilities in the region. Others will be able to retire, Corning spokesman Dan Collins said.

Walker agreed that most of those affected won't be out of a job.

"We won't see a big impact as far as people hitting the streets," Walker said. "But it's a very significant thing to them and their families and their work lives whether they have another job or not."

Walker attributed the loss of the laboratory glass business to the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"This is NAFTA at work," he said.

Walker said the union will look into federal education and training benefits for any workers displaced by the company's decision.

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Glassmaker Saint Gobain Gets Reinforcement

French glass-maker Saint Gobain's plans to shift its business operations towards building materials and away from bottles got an endorsement from industrial investor Wendel, which is taking a 6.0% stake in the company.

The development, and speculation that Wendel might be interested in a full takeover, gave Saint Gobain a big boost on the stock market. Its shares were trading up 3.18 euros ($4.50), or 4.5%, to 72.61 euros ($102.91), at midday in Paris. Lafarge (other-otc: LFRGY - news - people ), another French maker of building supplies was trading up 1.85 euros ($2.55), or 1.9%, to 108.42 euros ($153.80). In London, Wolseley (nyse: WOS - news - people) was trading up 16.50 pence (33 cents), or 2.2%, to £8.22 ($16.66).

Wendel (other-otc: WNDLF - news - people ) fell 2.3%, or 2.77 euros ($3.92), to 118.02 euros ($166.94). The company, which began life as a French steelmaker in 1704, now functions as a kind of closed-end fund specializing in European industrial businesses. It said its 1.6 billion euro ($2.3 billion) Saint gobain stake was a "long-term investment."

"This investment in a solid listed company with strong growth potential takes place within the framework of Wendel's long-term strategy," the company said on Wednesday evening. It has now become Saint Gobain's second-largest shareholder.

An analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity said that if Wendel was interested in making a take over bid it would happen later rather than sooner.

Still, the backing of a major investment company is good news for Saint Gobain and is being seen as confirmation that the company will be able to deliver on the restructuring program that it has promised, said analysts at Exane BNP Paribas in a note to investors.

The company is in the midst of restructuring to focus on building materials rather than packaging, an area which it has dabbled in in the past. The company's management has been accused in the past of not fully utilizing its assets and is expected to make substantial gains by selling off some of its properties and then using the proceeds to acquire new businesses.

Source: Forbes

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

A See-Through Icon Of Architecture

 

The entrance gate to architect Philip Johnson's property here gives the effect of a stage curtain rising: A thick aluminum bar levitates between two concrete obelisks, promising tantalizing sights to come.

Glass House, an emblem of the international style of architecture and Johnson's acknowledged 1949 masterpiece. This style relied on strict geometric forms and industrial materials, and its origins date to the 1930s Bauhaus architects. Johnson was not the first to conceive of a house with glass walls, but his was the first actually built.

The Glass House was a touchstone for Johnson – a beloved weekend retreat and a place where he wasn't beholden to the whims of clients or the constraints of a traditional house. "That's what this is, a playhouse. You pull the rope in after you, and it's yours," he once said.

"Glass House" refers to the actual building and is also shorthand for the entire 47-acre property set in the rolling Connecticut hills.

For more than 50 years, the architect designed additional structures, experimenting with styles and materials but integrating them into the whole property.

A guided tour will take us through the house, a guesthouse, art gallery, visitor center, and sculpture gallery.

Philip Johnson (1906-2005) was a native of Cleveland, but New York City became his stomping ground. His noteworthy designs there include the AT&T (now Sony) Building and the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). He founded the department of architecture and design at MoMA and served as a curator and trustee.

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