Ask anyone in the sector in what countries the glass industry is developing at the moment and the answer is usually quick and decisive: Thailand and Mexico.
Both countries are enjoing an unprecedented boom in glassmaking for varying reasons. Mexico for its beer and tequila markets, Thailand both for its energy drinks, and its flourishing beer market, which has helped propel the domestic glassmaking sector.
It’s no coincidence that two major container glass events take place in these countries soon: Glassman Latin America in March and, first, Glassman Asia in Bangkok at the end of January.
Both events aim to bring suppliers and manufacturers of the hollow and container glassmaking sectors together in these countries.
The events are free to attend and both will include conferences on the industry’s hot topic: digital glassmaking.
The Thai event has 13 speakers confirmed so far, and will be launched with a welcome speech by Viwat Supatham, General Manager of Siam Glass and Chairman of two associations in Thailand and the Asean region.
I met Khun Viwat and a number of other Thai glassmakers at their production sites during a recent visit to the country.
Each of the glassmakers were passionate about their topic and discussed their trade with an unenforced warmth and thoughtfulness.
Their energy was enough to clear my befuddled brain of its jetlag.
It was an exciting time to be in the country. A number of the container glass manufacturers had either just launched new furnaces or were in the process of constructing or considering new plants.
Some of the Thai manufacturers discuss the recent furnace openings in this issue.
One of the most eye-catching stories of recent years has been the growth of the Carabao energy drink. The Thai company was only formed in recent years but has overtaken Red Bull to become the second most popular energy drink.
Carabao has broken into international markets and has also become associated with English football thanks to two sponsorship agreements.
Its glassmaking divison, APG, recently opened its second furnace and Glass International was given a tour of the new facility, just east of Bangkok.
Further north, Thai Malaya Glass recently opened its fourth furnace, SB4. The company discusses the facility in these pages.
Finally, Khun Viwat talks about Siam Glass’s future plans for a new brownfield plant, due to open in 2019.
Pictured: Glassmaking in Asia is enjoying a boom.