At the recent Glass Processing Days (GPD) meeting in Tampere, Finland, the opening address was given by Arthur Ulens, executive vice president of AGC Flat Glass and CEO of Glaverbel. He discussed how the shifts and changes in markets bring about appealing innovations for the glass industry. The glass industry, he explained, is rapidly changing. "And how we respond to it makes a difference."
He made a point of the increasing presence and activity of China in the glass industry. "China has 130 float lines. There are 160 in the rest of the world," he said.
He continued, "Can a global glass manufacturer really not afford to be present in China?" He then asked the question differently: "Can a glass manufacturer really afford not to view China as a necessity?" He encouraged everyone to consider these points.
Also on the opening program was industry market research analyst Nick Limb with Ducker Research who focused on the global flat glass market. He talked about the growth of flat glass, how the market has evolved and product developments. In North America, he said, total glass demand is about 650 million square meters (approximately 7 billion square feet). Of that, 63 percent is for residential/commercial glazing; 26 percent is automotive, and 1 percent is specialty.
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