a Glass Shortage Coming?
Could a glass shortage really be on the way? Rumors of such have
been growing for months, and now conclusions are beginning to be
drawn at factors that could have led to a shortage.
"It's pretty obvious," says Mauro DiFazio, vice president
of float glass sales for Zeledyne in Tulsa, Okla. "Asahi Glass
Co. has taken three tanks out of the industry. There was a huge
surplus of clear. There is not anymore. My understanding is
that the clear market is sold out."
Beginning in April, AGC Flat Glass North America's (AFGNA) parent
company, Japan-based Asahi, closed the doors of float glass facilities
in Victorville, Calif., and St. Augustine, Quebec, and one production
line at its Greenland, Tenn., manufacturing plant (CLICK
HERE for that story). According to the press release issued
by the company, the move was expected to reduce Asahi's glass production
capacity in North America by approximately 40 percent.
"The downturn in the residential market resulted in a significant
overcapacity situation," explains John Hughes, commercial segment
manager for AFGNA. "This supply/demand situation resulted in
AGC temporarily reducing its capacity."
Hughes adds, "AGC will be bring up the lines once demand warrants
While the move may have helped Asahi's bottom line, others worry
about what may happen should residential market begin to pick up
while commercial holds steady, increasing demand for this product.
"With the downturn of [AGC] and shutting down of three of
their float lines we're now running at about 98-percent of capacity
as an industry," says Russell Ebeid, president of Guardian
Industries Corp.'s Glass Group in Auburn Hills, Mich. "So any
little blip is going to affect supply of glass to the trade."
A blip such as last week's torrential rains that left parts of
Wichita Falls, Texas, under as much as 15 inches of water-and left
Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries minus one float glass line. (CLICK
HERE for that story.) The disruption came shortly after the
company began making scheduled repairs to its line in Carlisle,
PPG clearly is not alone in its need for repairing the long-running
lines as continuous upgrades must be made to furnaces around the
world. For companies such as PPG where, Vicki Holt, senior vice
president of glass and fiberglass, points out, "the residential
segment is actually the largest user of glass, in terms of tonnage,"
now may be just the time to repair lines when less demand is being
heard from the residential sector.
What other factors do you think may lead to a glass shortage? And
how would you prepare? CLICK
HERE to share your thoughts on these topics.
And for more on this topic, look for the September 2008 issue of
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