The AGC Glass Europe plant in Zeebrugge (Belgium) celebrated 90 years of glassmaking at a ceremony attended by Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of Flanders.
Numerous personalities from the worlds of politics, industry and the press attended the event.
The AGC site in Zeebrugge is now the world's largest producer of mirror glass and currently employs around 210 people.
It is also home to the double-glazing activity of AGC Fabrication Belgium-Seapane, which celebrated its 40th anniversary on this occasion.
The plant has a history of innovations in the processing of mirrored glass.
In 1987 the plant opened a new mirror production line, the most productive and efficient in the world at the time, capable of producing mirror glass in large dimensions (6 x 3.21 m).
Ten year later it invested in a second line, specialising in painted glass (shiny Lacobel glass and Matelac glass with satin finish).
In 1995 it introduced another world first with the production of copper-less mirror glass with a lifetime of up to three times longer than traditional mirror glass.
This product went on to win numerous international prizes and became a world reference, setting the standard for others to follow.
Indeed it has continued to improve since then, including the elimination of all lead and formaldehyde in 2007.
Mirox 3G was the first mirror glass to meet the EU directive for reducing the amounts of dangerous substances.
In the same year, the plant began production of the first-ever antibacterial glass, capable of eliminating 99.9% of all bacteria that come in contact with it.
Then, in 2011 and 2015 respectively, the plant began production of toughened versions of Lacobel and Matelac, so that instead of being limited to interior decor applications they could be used in outside structures.
The plant also has a history of key developments with its double-glazing units.
In 1975 Zeebrugge was the first plant in the Benelux to begin production of adhesive-bonded double-glazing (the AGC Thermobel range).
Further developments were spurred on by the oil crisis of the mid-1970s and the consequent emphasis on better insulation in order to save energy, a trend that was further consolidated by the efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Today, in addition to its heat-insulating properties, double-glazing meets a variety of needs ranging from solar control and acoustic insulation to safety and aesthetics.
Jean-François Heris, CEO of AGC Glass Europe noted of the site: "The development of the Zeebrugge site is synonymous with sustainable innovation, an approach that also lies at the root of the economic success and corporate social responsibility.”
Pictured: Mirror glass processing at the site.