Glassman Events

Stephen Sherlock

Sales Director

Fives Stein

Stephen Sherlock

Abstract - Electric Melting (and application to Container Glass)

The cost of electricity has by large limited the application of electric melting technologies to glass furnaces where specific compositions and production types favour cold-top furnaces, and these in general are of relatively small capacities (less than 100TPD); a move to increase the contribution of electrical heating in larger furnaces such as for container and float has up to now been difficult to justify. Developments in this sector have also been hampered by the conservative nature and risk adverse approach of the industry. The tide is turning however; interest in electric melting (ether fully-electric or hybrid gas/electric) furnaces is growing due to pending emissions controls and consumer demand in respect of sustainability.

Any move to all-electric furnaces, certainly ones utilising vertical melting principles, is very much a step-change in industry terms. After a few now infamous failures of large electric furnaces, how can the container industry be persuaded to buy into this ‘revolution’.

This presentation aims to give an overview of how Fives is supporting the container sector in its investigations of electric melting; how to identify and control the associated risks of designing and operating large scale (200-400+ TPD) electric and hybrid furnaces. We will look at elements such as output flexibility, redox control and furnace life.

The message is that electric melting, albeit currently not the cheapest approach short-term, is the best technology to make a furnace investment fit for the future, one which eliminates risk of suffering the consequences of environmental legislative and changing consumer demands. Once installed, and with the implementation of proper monitoring, control, and maintenance, electric furnaces will run with a stability and energy efficiency that surpasses (by far) any type of fuel-fired alternatives.

Fives pushes ahead with the necessary ground work to ensure that tomorrows furnaces not only perform to expectations on energy performance, life and glass quality, but that projects can be implemented with minimal risks and maximum returns. Indeed, the Glass Industry as a whole, producers and providers, should now work together to set down the strategies that will ensure glass remains the preferred choice of packaging material for future generations.

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