Glass manufacturers worldwide tended to slow their production volumes as the Coronavirus pandemic hit. Unfortunately, getting these enormous production plants back to full volume is not an easy job.
In addition to the Coronavirus pandemic, restrictions in East Asia to tackle pollution caused by energy-intensive glass manufacturing played a critical role in the glass shortages. The initial low production volumes, the backlog of orders and continued increasing demand have resulted in glass manufacturers being on reduced allocation.
The pressure is also set to increase later this year as two of the UK's biggest lines will be shut down for £50 million cold maintenance programmes.
Regular daily production volumes can easily achieve thousands of tonnes, thanks to furnaces. These furnaces are designed to operate 24/7 without interruption or supervision. Maintenance and repairs are a must for glass melting furnaces as over time the productivity and quality on the glass line deteriorate.
For the cold repair technique, the furnace must be cooled and completely emptied. Cold repair allows detailed repairs and renovations to be made but this method forces an interruption on production.
Cold repair requires a lot of planning, due to the running times being between 12 to 20 weeks and are scheduled years in advance. The cost and complexity of the plans are so fundamental that once planned, it's almost impossible to re-arrange.
With demand outstripping supply it is likely that further price increases will be applied.
It is now vital that the construction sector protects glass to avoid replacement delays and additional expense.