Posts Tagged ‘Asahi Glass Co.’

Glass Industry News of Downs and a Possible Up

July 11, 2008

Last October General Electric announced its intention to restructure its lighting division, expecting to close plants, mainly incandescent bulb plants, in the U.S., Brazil and Mexico.  On July 10 GE announced it was considering spinning off the entire Consumer & Industrial business, which includes GE Lighting, as a new company in 2009.

The June, 2008 issue of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin noted that the Asahi Glass Company has announced that it will cease operations at three float glass lines and two architectural coating lines in North America by December, 2008, and has sold its glass fabrication lines. Asahi says that there is an oversupply situation in the market for clear float glass, with little difference in the product available from any manufacturer. They will be concentrating resources on glass for solar cells, glass for automotive uses and value-added building products.

In March the Associated Press news service reported that Corning Inc. planned to sell or shut down Steuben Glass, stating that Steuben has lost money for the last 10 years. Closing Steuben would mean the loss of another of the “hand glass” businesses that used to produce most of the household and decorative glass used in the U.S.

A bit of good news for glass manufacturing: The June issue of the American Ceramic Society Bulletin notes that Pilkington North America, owned by Nippon Sheet Glass, is considering upgrading its Lathrop, Calif. float glass plant with a new energy-efficient furnace and equipment and improved pollution controls. Building a new furnace in California, which has some of the strongest air pollution control standards in the U.S., would be quite an achievement after many years of refurbishing and repairing glass furnaces so as not to trigger U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The possibility of building one more new glass furnace in the U.S. is a small hopeful sign in the current glass manufacturing universe.