Forgive the hyperbole but I’m convinced that the period we are in right now will be considered a golden age of glassmaking in years to come.
This is obviously a bold statement to make, and I’m sure there are many of you who may disagree.
True, there is pressure out there on glassmakers, such as competitor materials, increased legislation and higher quality regulations, but these are age old worries that will never disappear and have essentially been around since the dawn of glassmaking
Today, everywhere I look, everyone I talk to appears to be in good spirits.
Business is booming. Glass has never had it so good.
Plastic is taking a hammering in the mainstream media, with more people objecting to its environmental impact.
Glass, with its sustainable qualities, is perceived as the material of choice.
Not only that, but the pockets of consumers in the gigantic markets of Asia are increasingly becoming deeper and people are choosing glass as their packaging material of choice.
New connoseuiurs of whisky and other high end spirits want the best that money can buy. Liquor distilled and bottled in Europe is finding a home in far away Mumbai or Beijing.
But it’s not only about the day to day business of glassmaking. The depth and rate of innovation in glassmaking is flourishing.
Glass today is prevalent...everywhere!
From modern-day communication to new futuristic concepts such as augmented reality, glass is the material with pizzazz.
There have been huge advances in communication technology - and glass has been at the forefront of that, whether it be the bendable mobile phone screen or the touch screen tablet that has become a staple of our lives in recent years.
Augmented Reality is becoming a more popular phrase now, with smartglasses and bionic contact lenses playing a substantial role in its use.
There have also been advances in the way glass is made too. In this issue we review the Furnace Solutions conference where a member of the Prime Glass project was awarded best paper.
The paper outlined how NOx abatements of 30 to 40% could be achieved.
Importantly, it was delivered by one of the relatively few young people in the industry, addressing another challenge the industry faces.
Smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0 and the use of digitalisation are set to play a role in the next chapter of efficient, sustainable glassmaking.
The use of technology will ensure that glassmaking is a safer experience than it is today.
Pictured: Is today a golden age of glassmaking?