At Glassman Latin America event in Mexico on May 15 & 16, Piotr Knast, CEO of Forglass will talk about using science and technology to reduce energy consumption in the glass melting process.

He will describe how the use of Forglass Mixing Electrodes in both standard and hybrid furnaces can contribute to a significant reduction in the amount of energy required in the melting process – and help glass producers reach their decarbonisation goals.

1 Your presentation will focus on decarbonisation and some of the technology which can enable manufacturers to achieve this. In your opinion, and from your discussions with customers, how far down the decarbonisation path are container glass manufacturers? And what further decarbonisation gains can glassmakers achieve in future?

Decarbonisation is primarily aimed at protecting our environment and while it is an important aim, it is sometimes perceived as an additional cost, especially that melting technology change can be expensive.

At Forglass, we have taken a different approach: reduce the amount of energy needed to melt raw materials into glass and you will simply save money. Reduction of carbon emissions in this equation is merely a consequence of lower energy consumption.

Glass producers are looking for innovative use of existing technologies before they can accept breakthrough inventions.

Fortunately, Forglass offers both, so we can help all of them, regardless of how far down the decarbonisation path they may be.

2 You will talk about Forglass Mixing Electrodes during your presentation. Why should glassmakers consider the use of this technology in their melting process?

Forglass Mixing Electrodes provide faster batch to glass conversion by forced volumetric mixing of the cold batch with hot glass and accelerate sand dissolution (the most time consuming stage of melting) thus reducing energy consumption, increasing pull and improving the thermal and chemical homogeneity of the melt from early to final stages of melting (overall glass quality).

The response from glass technologists has been tremendous and all tests so far have proven clear benefits, not the least of which is return on investment through reduced specific energy costs.

3 Can you describe the evolution of the Forglass Mixing Electrodes technology?

From the initial idea of combining the functions of a boosting electrode and a bubbler in one device, we proceeded to brainstorms and next the extensive mathematical modelling, which, by the way, we do in-house.

When modelling proved the validity of the design, we then constructed a prototype and subjected it to rigorous tests in our own experimental furnace. Following these “tests by fire” I can now say with absolute certainty that this device will perform exactly as advertised.

And yes, we have consulted and collaborated with selected clients, who have taken keen interest in this technology.

4 Forglass is a relatively new player in the glass industry but has made big strides in recent years? What makes the company distinctive in your opinion?

The most important aspect that makes Forglass unique is its people. They are the best engineers and the best business and HR specialists in the country! One of those incredible people (to name just one) is Marian Klisch PhD, whose 40+ year career spans scientific research, professorship at the AGH University in Kraków and many years as technical director of the Krosno Glassworks.

The fact that Marian agreed to become the Head of R&D at Forglass is an honour and the fact that together we can question the industry’s status quo and support glass producers in forging new technological directions – that’s what’s most important to me.

One other aspect that makes Forglass unique is our comprehensive approach to glass production: we design, erect and service both furnaces and batch plants, including all automation. Basically, we deliver the gob, from which all glass products are made.

5 The company has become firmly established in the European market in recent years from its headquarters in Poland. What advantages can you bring to Mexican glass manufacturers?

In addition to supporting global glass producers, whose factories are located in Poland, our main focus is on exporting our technology across Europe and, indeed, the world. When it comes to technology, physical distances are becoming less relevant, so we can offer the same advantages to glass producers in Central America and Asia, as we do to the European ones.

Mr. Knast is scheduled to speak at 10:55 on Thursday, 16 May. We’d also like to invite you to visit the Forglass stand C-5 during the two days of the show.