The glass industry in India.
The modern Indian glass industry is around 100 years old. In the first half of the last century the industry was rather primitive, melting the glass in pot furnaces and small tank furnaces that were fuelled by either coal or gas--although some furnaces at the coastal cities used furnace oil. From the early 1950s the glass industry started manufacturing using modern equipment, both for melting and production. Collaboration with multinational companies gave a boost to the industry. It was in the lost decade of the twentieth century that the Indian glass industry started to seriously compete globally, installing improved furnaces to conserve energy and therefore reduce the cost of production. The cheaper availability of natural gas in some parts of the country also enabled the industry to reduce energy costs to some extent, and the flat glass industry upgraded to the float process. India now has four float glass plants, although there are still a few sheet glass manufacturing units in operation using both the Fourcault and PPG processes. The manufacture of figured glass is well established in India. Container glass production has benefited from the addition of higher capacity manufacturing units during the past decade, and this part of the industry is doing fairly well. The flask linings sector has earned a niche in the export market, as well as meeting the domestic requirement. The manufacture of glass bangles has moved to the semi automatic process and India has its own technology in the bangle and glass bead sector. Research is currently being undertaken for the technological improvement of the finishing process. There has been a quantum leap in glass fibre manufacture with new multinational entrants and a substantial growth in exports. The tableware industry was badly hit with imports and is slowly recovering, acquiring modern equipment to upgrade the sector. There is potential for foreign collaboration here. Ophthalmic glass...
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