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[Image above] Credit: ACerS


More than 535 people from around the world gathered at the Greater Columbus Convention Center November 5–8, for the 79th annual Conference on Glass Problems (GPC). The conference brings together global manufacturers, suppliers, and academics to exchange innovations and solutions.

According to conference co-organizer and executive director of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC) Robert Lipetz, the conference is the only event in the U.S. dedicated to the operational aspects of glass manufacturing industry. GMIC and Alfred University co-organize the event.

“Those who are responsible for the technical aspects of making glass know that they get a lot of benefit for their time here,” Lipetz says. “They can hear lectures on innovations and problem solutions, meet with suppliers and colleagues, and take in technical education. The conference program is always good and the opportunities for networking are generally the best they will have all year.”

GMIC executive director Robert Lipetz addresses attendees at the 79th GPC. Credit: ACerS

Mike Curnutte, director of business development for L.J. Star Inc. and first-year exhibitor and attendee at GPC confirmed Lipetz’s assessment, and said he initially signed up to exhibit at the conference because of its name—and to learn how others are addressing specific problems his company encounters in its manufacture of process observation equipment such as sight flows, fittings, and light ports.

“What drew us was the title of the conference, Problems with Glass. Most people believe that all glass is created equal, and we don’t believe that to be the case,” he says. His 26-year-old company works in pharmaceuticals, biotech, food and beverage, nuclear facilities, and more. “Everyone spends time looking through glass, but not looking at the glass to see what it’s made of. I’m here to learn what others are doing with non-destructive technology to determine the chemical make up of glass, to network, and to create brand awareness for our products.”

This year’s plenary session started with remarks from Lipetz, and program director S.K. Sundaram of Alfred University, and an opening address from Mathieu Hubert, senior development scientist at Corning Incorporated, who discussed the challenges, as well as progress made, in understanding glass melting.

Other plenary speakers included consultant David Rue (Cullet Supply Issues and Technologies); J.W. McCamy, senior research scientist at Vitro Architectural Glass, (Modification of Glass Surface during Manufacturing for the 21st Century); Luke Kutilek, retired research engineer (Flat Glass Manufacturing before Float – thru Archival Images of Glass Manufacturing); and Gerald Hunt, flue glass treatment specialist at Lhoist North America (Dry Sorbent Injection System Optimization and Cost Reduction Potential through Data Analysis).

Finally, Owens-Illinois vice president of global sustainability James Nordmeyer presented Towards the Path to De-Carbonization and Legislative Challenges. Lipetz mentioned carbon footprint reduction as one of the major topic areas discussed among attendees.

“There was a lot of talk about the big reductions in carbon use that is being mandated by the European Union and by glass product users,” Lipetz says. “Because of that interest, GMIC will be organizing a full-day symposium on sustainability in conjunction with the 2019 80th GPC.”

In addition to great technical content, the 79th GPC once again featured a strong exhibition with 102 exhibitors and hospitality suite hosts showcasing their products and services. There was also a strong student presence, thanks to generous student travel grant underwritten by Rovisys, Owens Corning, and RoMan Manufacturing.

Aerial view of the Exhibition at the 79th Conference on Glass Problems. Credit: ACerS

Also in conjunction with the conference, O-I Charities Foundation and Air Products each awarded grants to GMIC and the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation to foster innovation by the next generation of ceramic and glass professionals.

The Call for Abstracts is currently open for the 80th Conference on Glass Problems, with all abstracts due by January 24, 2019.