As pandemic restrictions ease, the borosilicate glass market in China is slowly showing signs of rebounding. Still, challenges remain such as:
- Rising raw materials and energy costs
- Stricter emission and air pollutants standards
- Recovering downstream demand
Growth in this changing industry will require staying ahead of emerging trends and finding better, more efficient ways to operate.
In this blog, we’ll cover three industry trends and which borate products can keep you on the leading edge of innovation.
What market trends are emerging?
Continuous improvement is always top of mind in manufacturing, glassmaking is no exception. But pinpointing how to improve efficiency isn’t easy.
Plus, modern consumers are starting to become more conscious of how their materials are produced, meaning glassmakers should start evaluating their processes’ sustainability record.
Leading companies are accounting for both enhanced efficiency and sustainability by adopting these trends.
Investing in better equipment
Efficient glassmaking starts by embracing equipment that delivers better results, faster and greener. That’s why many borosilicate glassmakers in China with air-fueled furnaces are turning toward oxygen-fueled furnaces (oxy-fuel), complete with electric boosting.
These furnaces push highly pure oxygen into the combustion chamber, lowering the amount of energy (gas) you need. Oxy-fuel furnaces maximize energy efficiency while reducing harmful nitrous oxides (NOx) and other particulate emissions.
Some glassmakers with all-electric furnaces are even adopting renewable energy sources (wind, solar, hydropower) to power operations.
Using high-performing additives
Beyond equipment, you should be concerned with how your inputs maximize process efficiency. To that end, anhydrous borates offer several benefits, including:
- Reduced volatility loss (B2O3)
- Lower energy costs
- Increased capacity
Because anhydrous borates (Na2B4O7) are more concentrated than their hydrous counterparts, they alleviate bottlenecking issues. That makes them easier to handle and ship. In production, anhydrous borates reduce flue clean up and maintenance frequency by lowering boric oxide (B2O3) loss.
China’s interest in glassmaking sustainability is growing, but more work is required to keep pace with increased pressure from regulatory agencies across the globe.
Lowering harmful emissions such as SOx and NOx are the primary focus of glass sustainability initiatives. It’s possible that these emissions requirements will only get stricter in the future.
Sustainability initiatives aren’t a threat to the bottom line, in fact, quite the opposite. Prioritizing activities such as improving heat recovery systems or using refined borates to lower melting temperatures, can increase revenue and lower your environmental footprint.
Which borate products are trending?
Borates give you better control over your borosilicate glass manufacturing process. When used in glassmaking, borates act as both fluxes and network formers, assisting with the melt and positively impacting finished product properties such as increased durability.
Depending on your process, either a hydrous or anhydrous borate product may be suitable. See what makes each suitable for your processes.
Ensuring process stability is key to producing high quality products. Thanks to its tight particle size distribution, Optibor has shown extremely consistent performance when added to glass melts.
Sodium borates are commonly used in glass formulations. Neobor provides a steady source of boric oxide (B2O3) and sodium, while also being easy to handle.
You can use Neobor in combination with a boric acid product such as Optibor for greater control over the sodium to boron ratio in your batch.
Because Dehybor is anhydrous, you’ll use less energy to melt than a hydrous product (as much as 3% potentially; actual savings depend on energy source and furnace condition).
Have more questions? Talk to our experts
If you’re looking to give your business a competitive edge, then you need a partner who not only produces high-quality materials but also has the technical acumen to hone your borosilicate glass formulations and process efficiency.
Leading glassmakers depend on U.S. Borax because we’re a reliable borate supplier with rigid quality standards.
If you contact our technical team, we can help you source the right borate product and achieve proper loading.