Saint-Gobain’s new glass furnace, currently being built in Eggborough, North Yorkshire, has reached the halfway point. This is an important milestone for the company and the supply of glass in the UK against a backdrop of shortages that are getting worse and causing disruption throughout the supply chain.

This is the statement that has been released by Saint-Gobain about this key marker:

We have reached the half-way stage of the £30m project to build a new state-of-the-art glass furnace at our factory in Eggborough, near Selby, North Yorkshire. This is a major milestone and has been reached on-time according to the project plan, which has a scheduled completion date of late summer 2021.

Project Manager Mick Dickinson (below) installed the last key refractory brick in the roof of the new furnace, which comprises more than 7000 tonnes of the specialist building blocks.

Saint-Gobain Project Manager Mick Dickinson

The complex engineering and construction programme will deliver a more energy efficient furnace with enlarged capacity, greater automation and enhanced control systems.

The new facility is strategically important to support and serve the UK window industry with domestically manufactured high-performance products developed specifically to meet the needs of the UK window industry.

The new furnace will:
•    have increased capacity
•    provide greater automation
•    have enhanced control systems
•    use the very latest equipment and integrated digital technologies
•    reduce the energy used for glass production
•    reduce emissions from the manufacturing process
•    secure the long-term supply of high-performance glass that meets the stringent quality requirements of customers in the UK.

‘Making the World a Better Home’

It will contribute to the Saint-Gobain Group’s commitment to achieving ‘net-zero carbon’ of its global business operations, and deliver its global strategic purpose which the Group has recently defined as ‘Making the World a Better Home’, in recognition of the need to protect the planet and invent a more sustainable future.

The new facility demonstrates Saint-Gobain’s commitment to the long-term future of glass manufacturing in the UK and confidence in the wider construction industry.

The news that the project is running on time will provide reassurance to the glass sector that has been severely limited by the shutdown of two float lines for scheduled maintenance. This has come at a time where demand for home improvement projects is outstripping supply. The new glass furnace project began back in late April and if it continues on time should come online at some point in September. It does mean that the glass sector in the UK is still going to be short on suppliers for a number of months yet, with public demand for new windows and doors showing no signs at all of slowing down.

This was one of three new glass plants to be built in the UK announced in quick succession. The other week Press Glass announced that they would be building a factory in this country and Glass Futures have also won planning approval for their huge £54m facility to be built in St Helens. After such a long period of reduction, the future of glass production in the UK is starting to look healthier again.

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