Ahead of the Furnace Solutions conference this June, Jess Mills spoke to Kevin Rivers (see left), Chairman of the Sustainable Melting Technical Committee (SMTC), on what to expect at this year's event.

The event will take place on June 5-6, 2024, at the Totally Wicked Stadium, in St Helens, UK.

Why did you decide to return to the theme of a Net Zero future for this year’s conference?

The Net Zero theme was an easy choice for this year’s conference as it is the hot subject, we all need to look to the future. Concerns for the environment and rising fuel costs are main drivers. Glass manufactures are looking toward the whole campaign of new equipment, not just immediate costs.

What do you think will be the likely talking points among delegates?

I believe we will create many talking points with an excellent list of speakers and subjects, which importantly include several glass producers, such as: Ardagh, Şişecam and AGC Glass Europe.

How are preparations going for the event? - Do you think you’ll top last year’s record attendance?

Preparations are proceeding very well, and we are quietly confident of again increasing attendance.

What makes the Furnace Solutions conference unique in your opinion?

In my opinion, Furnace Solutions is unique because of the organising team. The Society of Glass Technology’s (SGT’s) Sustainable Melting Technical Committee (SMTC), who are responsible for the programme, and are made up of representatives from glass manufacturers, suppliers and services. This gives a broad insight and sets us in good stead to put on an interesting and informative programme.

Why did you decide to return to St Helens for this year’s conference?

Of course, St Helens has a very longstanding connection to the glass industry. The Totally Wicked Stadium is a great venue, and it gives scope to grow Furnace Solutions going forward. Also, it is next door to Glass Futures, so we build on these links.

What can visitors expect from this year’s event? – What will the tour of Glass Futures entail?

We can offer a wide selection insights and discussion on new processes and products, and how we can move forward. The Wednesday afternoon session closes with a walkway tour of the Glass Futures’ furnace hall, which is near completion.

In addition, Stuart Hakes, HonFSGT of FIC UK, will be leading a training session for anyone who registers for Furnace Solutions.

The session will be held at the Glass Futures Centre of Excellence on Tuesday 4th June 2024 at 14:00.

It will cover how to optimise operation of electric boost and maintenance requirements to keep it operating at its best. We will briefly look at the evolution of boost, and examine the principles of boost and how it affects melting.

Particular attention will be given to essentials on monitoring boost parameters and what those changes in measured parameters mean in terms of electrode wear.

There will be considerable opportunity to ask questions as the session proceeds, as well as one-to-one private discussions if required.

The cost for those not registering for Furnace Solutions is £200 per person, or corporate rates are available for more than three persons on application.

The training can be booked whilst registering (see link below), or can be added via a request to: christine@sgt.org

To register for Furnace Solutions, click here: https://sgt.org/events/registe...

To see the full conference programme, click here: https://sgt.org/mpage/FSPresentations2024