Top glass execs discuss global issues
Three of the four industry leaders who will attend Glass Processing Days in June 2007 spoke during a GPD news conference Oct. 26 during Glasstec in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Tomoaki Abe, vice chairman of Nippon Sheet Glass of Japan; Russell J. Ebeid, president, Glass Group, Guardian Industries Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich.; and Arthur Ulens, president, AGC Flat Glass, Asahi Glass Co. of Japan, and CEO Glaverbel Group of Belgium, discussed the Pilkington acquisition, industry trends and energy efficiency.
Pilkington was acquired by NSG June 16.
Abe said the Pilkington name will still be used and all senior managers will be able to stay.
“After studying other international acquisition cases, especially by Japanese companies, we have learned that people are a key to success,” Abe said. “The terms ‘culture shock’ or ‘culture clash’ are invariably raised. We are well aware of the importance of avoiding, or at least minimizing, such effects in our acquisition process.”
The global flat glass industry is not a mature industry but a growing industry, Abe said. Figures show that glass demand has grown 4.5 percent to 5 percent each year for the past 25 years.
“There is no material commercially available on the horizon to replace glass,” Abe said.
Ebeid gave an update on the Guardian’s expansion into the United Arab Emirates and Russia. The float glass facility in Ras Al Khaimah is expected to begin production during the third quarter of 2007. National Co. for Glass Industries Ltd. and Al Azmil Group, both of Saudi Arabia, are venture partners. A float and coated glass manufacturing plant is planned in Ryazan, Russia, southeast of Moscow.
Ulens covered the Kyoto protocol, which was established in 2005 to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases. Buildings account for 40 percent of CO2 emissions, mainly due to heating and cooling, he said.
Manufacturing 1 square meter of low-emissivity double glazing leads to the emission of 25 kilograms of carbon dioxide, Ulens said. However, the CO2 saving by replacing 1 square meter of single glazing with low-e double glazing represents 91 kilograms per year. So, the CO2 emitted during the production of 1 square meter of glass is offset in less than four months.
Ulen then discussed solar control coatings, which can contribute to reductions of CO2 emissions as well as energy bills. “It takes more energy to cool down a building than to warm it up,” he said.
Simulations with solar control glass by Glaverbel showed reductions in heating bills by 71 percent in Brussels and 63 percent in Rome. Both cities saw reductions in cooling by about 60 percent.
“Despite the clamor for cleaner air, the consumer is not personally willing to pay for it, or the builder,” Ebeid said. “It needs to be mandated by government regulation.
"For our industry, we place too much emphasis on our individual products in competition against each other rather than presenting a united effort. That is what we need."
The 10th GPD will take place June 15-18 in Tampere, Finland. The fourth speaker will be Jacques Aschenbroich, senior vice president of Saint-Gobain and president for the flat glass branch of Saint Gobain.