The float glass manufacturing process is named after the glass manufacturer Alastair Pilkington and hence, is also known as the Pilkington process. Float glass is manufactured by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metals, such as tin, lead and various low melting point alloys. Float glass is a sheet of glass and with the molten glass method, the resultant sheet possesses a good flat surface and uniform thickness.
Most soda-lime glass are float glass and some quantities of flat panel display glass and speciality borosilicate are also made by the float glass process. Common raw materials used for the manufacturing of float glass are soda ash (sodium carbonate), sand, limestone, salt cake (sodium sulphate) and dolomite. Other ingredients may be used as refining, colouring agents or for required changes in the chemical and physical properties of the glass.
Float glass is usually manufactured in batch process and its hardness and rigidness along with fact that it is a waterproof and lightweight insulator make it attractive among all end use applications in the global market. Float glass is increasingly being used in windows and doors in the construction industry, particularly for windows and doors made of glass. It is finding a variety of applications, such as windshields, windows and mirrors, in the automotive industry.
Float glass is currently the most used glass in the global consumer products industry. This can be attributed to the excellent quality of this glass. It requires no additional polishing and offers structural flexibility. Other prominent advantages are that it can be bent and shaped into various forms easily in its molten state.
The numerous advantages of float glass, coupled with its capability for use in the construction and automotive industry, are considered to be the significant drivers for the global float glass market. Float glass finds a wide range of applications in construction, automotive and infrastructure industries and is used in commercial, industrial, residential and infrastructure construction projects.
Growing construction industry output is expected to be one of the most significant factors influencing the increased demand for float glass in the global market. Rising urbanization is leading to new construction activities, which is further expected to boost demand for float glass in building and construction tasks.
Moreover, growing urbanization is expected to contribute to growth of the global float glass market at a CAGR close to or below the global GDP over the forecast period. The market has a positive outlook as there is healthy competition and this factor is influencing float glass manufacturers in the global market. Growth of technology and automation in the manufacturing and supply of automobiles has further increased the attractiveness of float glass among consumers and all end use industries.
Significant market players are trying to develop strong, long lasting and lightweight float glass for vehicles in the automotive industry, which can be used efficiently and sustain load depending on the vehicle type. Development of material science expertise in manufacturing industries has empowered them to use novel materials, which is estimated to boost the sales of float glass in the near future in the global market.
Float Glass Market Segmentation By raw material – Sand,Soda Ash,Limestone,Dolomite,Others (Colour Additives, etc.); By end useAutomotive,PCV,LCV,HCV,Construction,Commercial,Industrial,Residential,Infrastructural,Solarglass,Others (Furniture, etc.)
North America and Europe have luxurious lifestyles and high disposable incomes with a high standard of living. This has led to the growth of float glass usage in the respective regions. The main application of float glass in construction and automotive industries is expected to act as a catalyst for the growth of the overall float glass market over the forecast period.
Moreover, as float glass is strong and has great compressive strength, it is now also used for structural lightweight walls in commercial buildings. Thus, the float glass market is expected see rapid growth in all developed and developing countries in the future. APAC countries are anticipated to assist significantly for the growth of the global float glass market over the forecast period.
Evolving countries in the APAC region, especially China and India, are estimated to play an imperative role in the growth of the float glass market in the coming future. In countries, such as India and China, construction and automotive industries are in an active state and thus, these countries are attractive for manufacturers. Consequently, there is humungous growth potential for the global float glass market.
The market for float glass is expected to grow, owing to significant macro-economic factors, such as growth in industrialization and urbanization and growth of the construction and automotive industry. This is pegged to surge growth of the global float glass market over the forecast period.
Examples of some of the market participants in the global float glass market, identified across the value chain, are:, Hartung Glass Industries, Pilkington, Guardian Industries Corp., Central Glass Co., Ltd., Saint-Gobain, ?i?ecam Group, Asahi, Trakya Cam Sanayii A.S., PPG Industries, Taiwan Glass Group, Ltd., CarlexNippon Sheet Glass Co.
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