Glass Futures unveiled details of a new hot end glassmaking research facility in St Helens, UK during a conference last week.
More than 100 attendees from throughout the glass industry, including Glass International, were in attendance at the day-long Glass - The Future and £60 million Funding conference last week. They heard from a varity of glassmakers, local councils and suporters of the Glass Futures project about why the plan will bring benefits to the industry as a whole.
The event outlined plans to create two Centres of Glass Excellence, hot glass at St Helens and cold end research at the University of Leeds. These two multi-million-pound international research and testing facilities, are planned to shape the way forward for the glass sector.
The hot glass facility is aiming to eliminate CO2 from the manufacturing process. Glass Futures is currently pursuing UK government funding streams of approximately £60 million from BEIS and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council, said the council was committed to providing the design and planning work needed to launch Glass Futures.
Cabinet member Cllr Richard McCauley, who worked in the glass industry for 45 years, added: “We want St Helens to be at the heart of global innovation. “There’s nowhere else like St Helens. It’s a glass town and we want it to stay that way. That’s why we as a council are committed to ensuring that Glass Futures happens here.”
Adrian Curry, managing director of UK glass manufacturer Encirc, saw Glass Futures as a huge and necessary investment in looking at the problem of future proofing, which manufacturers could not solve on their own.
He believed the St Helens site could be a global exemplar.
Brian Holliday, Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries, said that connectivity was vital in the manufacturing of the future and Glass Futures was 'tremendously important' in providing support not only for the glass sector but for wider industry needs. The event took place at the Totally Wicked Rugby League stadium in St Helens, UK, next to the former United Glass manufacturing site.