Glass Industry

The glass industry in the United Kingdom produces close to 4 million tonnes of glass each year. The raw ingredients used to manufacture glass is dependent on the use the glass is to be put to as many additives can be used to refine or colour the glass. See our section on Modern Glass Making Techniques for more information.

This figure can be broken down into sectors with the largest proportion being used in the production of containers for food and drink manufacturers. These containers are normally in the shape of bottles or jars and are used to hold many different foods and beverages ranging from sauces and preserves to vinegars and oils. The alcohol industry also uses a large quantity of this type of glass to bottle their beers, wines and spirits.

The flat glass industry is the second largest user of glass. This is the type of glass used in construction and car manufacturing industries. With modern design techniques buildings are using more glass and also cars are being designed with more viewing areas than before. There are three main types of glass used by these industries - standard flat glass, laminated glass and toughened glass. Fibreglass comes next in the league table of industries using glass. Fibreglass is a material made from extremely fine glass fibres and is used in several ways. One of the most well known uses for fibreglass is for insulation purposes. Homeowners often use a fibreglass material to insulate their lofts and attics. Fibreglass is also used in the polymer industry as a reinforcing agent and is used in many applications by engineers and designers. Fibreglass panels are used by the automotive and in boat building industries and by bathroom designers. Fibreglass baths are a popular feature in all sizes of bathroom. They allow designers to create anything from a standard plain bath to the most sumptuous spa bath.

At the bottom of the league table comes the domestic and special glass sections of the industry. Domestic applications range from the humble Pyrex bowl and drinking glasses to larger occasional and dining furniture. Special glass has wide ranging applications including medical supplies, spectacles, lighting and televisions.

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