The global glass market is expected to register a substantial growth rate owing to increased demand for glass from the construction and packaging sectors. The rapid development of the transportation, energy, defense, and electronics industries is expected to augment the market growth. Glass is a key component used in solar panels and has emerged as an essential green buildings product, which is likely to positively affect market growth.
Glass manufacturing is done by using various raw materials including silica, soda, lime, and metal oxides that act as coloring agents in the production process. Recycled glass is also one of the key raw materials used by industry players owing to its recyclable nature. The recycling process does not affect the quality and purity of glass while recycled glass raw material reduces energy consumption as glass melts at a lower temperature compared to other raw materials such as silica sand, which makes it an effective raw material.
Glass can be manufactured either through the batch process or continuous process. The continuous process is generally automated and offers high production rates as compared to its counterpart. Whereas, the batch process allows flexibility to adjust production ratios as per the varying raw material supply.
Policies concerning prohibitions on plastic usage globally are likely to act as one of the major drivers for the glass market. The growing population has increased the need for infrastructure, transportation, and electronics, which is responsible for market growth. The industry is highly energy-intensive, thus fluctuating fuel and power prices have a significant impact on the overall production costs of glass. Furthermore, the fluctuating costs of raw materials such as soda ash, industrial salts, and crude oil are expected to affect the margins of the market players.
Based on the product, the market is segmented into container glass, specialty glass, flat glass, and fiberglass. Container glass emerged as the dominant product segment over the past decade on account of its wide applications in the packaging of drinks, food, perfumes, and chemicals. Specialty glass primarily caters to optics, lenses, and lighting applications. Flat glass is one of the prominent segments of the industry and is generally used in automobiles for windshields, windows, mirrors, and sunroofs. It also finds applications in the construction sector for insulation, external glazing, and cladding. The flat glass segment witnessed a slight fall in demand in 2019 owing to the slowdown in the global economy, which majorly affected the construction and automobile industries.
Packaging, construction, automobile, and electronics industries are the end-users of glass. Over the past few years, packaging has emerged as the largest application segment in the glass market due to the high demand for the product in food & beverages, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals packaging. Based on chemical composition, the industry can be segregated into soda glass, potash or hard glass, optical glass, pyrex or borosilicate glass, safety glass, photochromatic glass, and lead crystal glass.
The Asia Pacific is likely to register the fastest growth in the market backed by developing countries such as India and China. In 2019, Asia Pacific emerged as the largest glass market on account of high investments in the automotive, building & construction, and electronics industries in Asian countries. The U.S., Germany, the UK, China, and Japan have emerged as major glass manufacturing countries on account of easy raw material availability, access to advanced technology, and low labor costs.
Energy-saving strategies such as preheating new batches with waste heat from furnaces and higher temperature refractories are setting a new trend in the glass manufacturing market. Increasing awareness about global warming and government initiatives supporting the adoption of renewable energy sources globally has led to the adoption of energy-efficient manufacturing processes to produce glass.
Saint-Gobain, Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd, NSG Group, Kyocera Corp., AGC Group, Schott AG, Corning Inc., Vesuvius plc, CoorsTek, Inc., RHI AG, and Morgan Advanced Materials are the major players involved in the manufacturing of glass worldwide. In March 2020, Saint-Gobain agreed to construct and purchase electricity for 12 years from the Blooming Grove Wind energy farm in Illinois state, U.S. Corning Inc. uses Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system instead of a backup diesel generator to protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions. CHP system utilizes wasted energy from furnaces to generate electricity. NSG Group announced plans to test the world’s first use of hydrogen fuel for glass making in February 2020 to reduce carbon emissions. Similarly, in 2019 RHI AG pledged its commitment to reduce Sox and NOx emissions by 30% in China by 2021, in the U.S. by 2025, and in Europe and South America by 2027. RHI AG is expected to reduce its CO2 emissions by 10% per ton and improve energy efficiency by 5% by 2025.
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The shortage in supply of raw materials from Chinese manufacturers has resulted in a severe demand-supply gap. The manufacturers are further expected to be stranded on raw material orders owing to the logistics industry being significantly impacted due to lockdown amid COVID-19. However, the producers are expected to move away from China aiming to reduce the future risks that would affect the business and to reduce the manufacturers' cluster in a single country in order to smoothen the supply chain. The report will account for Covid19 as a key market contributor.