The Challenges that a Glass Manufacturer Faces
A glass manufacturer oversees three areas in his factory: the batch house, the hot end, and the cold end. In the batch house, sand, soda ash, limestone, and other raw materials are stored in large silos; those that need processing are then sieved, dried or pre-heated. Measurements and assembling are completed in the batch house before the glass raw material is delivered to the furnaces or the hot end through chutes or conveyors. Natural gas or fuel oil fires up the furnaces at temperatures up to 1,575°C. This is the hot end where, with annealing ovens and forming machines, molten glass is made into glass products. The cold end is the point of inspection. Glass products are more delicate than other objects, and so before they are distributed for sale or delivered to clients, they are carefully evaluated for defects. Typical faults range from small cracks, foreign inclusions, and bubbles to tears and deformities. Automatic machines or human workers carry out strict and thorough inspections before glass products are forwarded to the coating, packaging, and labeling departments. Glass containers are usually serviced with two surface coatings, the first at the hot end, and then the second at the cold end. The first coating is a very thin layer of tin oxide. The second coating is polyethylene wax. Both protect the glass with a resulting invisible and unscratchable film. Once glass products are properly labeled and securely packed, they are ready for distribution or delivery. The glass manufacturer may also be involved in the marketing of his products. The glass business is a global enterprise. Production tries to match demand, and this may be trickier than manufacturing the glass itself. The industry has been around for ages, and it will most likely remain competitive. Glass is one product that does enjoy high levels of consumer acceptance in the United States and the rest of the world.
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