New Process Offers Clear Commercial And Environmental Benefits
Glasscoat International Ltd, based in Stourbridge, West Midlands; designs, develops and manufactures machinery for the colour coating of glass and bottles.
Glasscoat have been involved in substantial research in the glass finishing industry since 1970. They developed electrostatic coating of glass in 1983 and in 1998 Glasscoat Limited were formed, with commercial production of coated bottles commencing shortly after. Their coating process has been developed and marketed across the world and there are now over twenty installations in fourteen different countries.
Glasscoat made the strategic decision to research development of a UV-curing process with the aim of applying this new technology to bottle coating. It was this objective that led the company to pursue a collaborative partnership with Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
The main aims of the project were to develop electromagnetic curing solutions, increasing production through-put and minimising carbon foot-print.
To explore and develop solutions to the many challenges involved in a non-thermal approach to resin-coating glass, a succession of experiments were devised. With the help of Birmingham City University’s academic team and the KTP-Associate, combined with Glasscoat’s in-depth experience and technical knowledge, these experiments led to the development of a successful flat glass coating process.
The flat-glass coating machine was successful for trials and experiments in preparation for meeting more complicated production needs associated with the high-curvature surfaces of glass bottles, used in industries such as cosmetics and beverages.
The expected impact on three-dimensional glass containers, particularly in the beverage and cosmetic markets using UV-curing technology, would double a plant’s production potential, whilst halving its physical footprint. It is estimated that there could be a 40% saving on the process to colour a bottle.
- The company’s research successes have significantly elevated and enhanced its commercial profile, nationally and internationally.
- FSCM (flat-glass substrate coating machine) enquiries have already represented over £1 m of potential business for Glasscoat International.
- Company has achieved major energy-saving and efficiencies in the UV-based colour resin coating of glass.
Development of the Flat Substrate Coating Machine met market demands, which also formed the major part of the UV research. With the work conducted through the KTP scheme, Glasscoat International feels confident to expose UV curing technology to the global market.” – Ian Cripps, Managing Director, Glasscoat International Ltd