Glass Manufacturing

Monitoring temperatures at critical junctures during production is imperative for the full understanding and efficient control of the glass manufacturing process. Since the nature of the glass manufacturing process is thermal, the quality of the glass manufactured is dependent on obtaining accurate temperature readings of various elements such as the glass mold, “gob”, steel conveyor belt and the furnace. Using easily deployable infrared equipment to monitor these temperatures as well as preventing electrical and mechanical failure by carrying out traditional predictive maintenance with such equipment can result in a higher quality product and minimize costs by averting failure

Process monitoring

Gob Temperature – Glass is transported from the furnace to the mold in a runner. At the end of the runner, a plunger forces out the glass in balls called “gobs” into chutes that lead up to the mold machine. It is extremely important to monitor the temperature of the “gobs” because it controls the weight of the glass, its viscosity and the formation of the container in the mold. Therefore, the quality of the final product can be ensured by carrying out convenient non-contact infrared inspection of the gobs as they leave the plunger.

Belt Temperature – Glass containers are transported on a steel conveyor belt from the mold machine to the annealing lehr. In order to prevent the belt from cooling the bottoms of the containers unevenly, thereby causing breakage, the belt is heated with gas flames before reaching the bottling machines. It is critical for manufacturers to measure the belt temperature at regular intervals in order to prevent breakage and guarantee a high enough return to maintain profitability in a competitive industry. An infrared camera is ideal for such an application.

Preventative Maintenance

Glass Mold – It is necessary for manufacturers of glass containers to monitor the temperature of the glass mold closely because it affects the quality of the containers. If the mold is not cooling properly, the container will not retain its shape after exiting the mold or if the mold is too cool, the container will not be molded properly. Hence, it is to the benefit of container manufacturers to use infrared equipment to acquire mold temperatures from time to time in order to ascertain that the cooling is proceeding at an appropriate temperature.

Furnace Monitoring – Economical melting of raw materials into glass requires constant supervision and monitoring. Depending on their size, glass furnaces are capable of producing anywhere from 50 to 600 tons of glass per day. Most furnaces are fired by natural gas through the side ports and the melting temperature is around 1200°C. Molten glass eventually flows out of the furnace through the feeders to the forming machines attached to each furnace. The condition and safety of the refractory structure of the whole furnace and refiner is extremely important. A high-temp infrared camera can very easily be used to do check-ups to minimize the possibility of glass break-out or refractory failure.