Volume 43, Issue 6 - June 2008

Industry Outlook

Steady Growth in Glass 
Manufacturing Refractories Predicted

Demand for refactory products in the United States is expected to accelerate through 2011 and reach $2.5 billion, according to a recent report from the Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. 

Nonmetallic mineral markets, including glass and ceramic production, are expected to show the biggest growth. Refractories are used in glassmaking operations, in furnaces that perform annealing, melting and shaping processes. 

According to the report, the use of high-quality refractories has lengthened the life of glass furnaces and decreased refractory consumption per unit of glass produced. Life spans of glass furnaces have reached 15 years in some instances, although this can depend on the types of glass produced in the furnace. To help increase furnace life, a number of glass manufacturers now undertake a “hot repair” of the furnace, whereby monolithics are used to protect the bricks and seal cracks in between furnace rebuilds. While the report predicts that demand for bricks and shapes is expected to advance more rapidly than for monolithics among refractory forms—as preformed shapes are increasingly utilized due to performance advantages such as reduced heat-up time—demand for monolithic bonding and other mortars is projected to grow at an above-average pace. www.freedoniagroup.com 

Item  Glass   1996 2001 2006 2011 2016
Refractory Demand (mil $) 130 136 133 140 145
$/ton 703 777 858 933 1,000

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