Glass is one of the most used materials across industries and sectors, for industrial use and consumer goods alike — and for good reason. Glass is an incredibly versatile material, easily able to be formed into a broad set of shapes while retaining its exceptional strength and structural integrity. With sustainability an ever-increasing focus, glass is more in demand than ever — thanks to its environmentally friendly qualities: It is completely recyclable and refillable, and requires a relatively small energy footprint to manufacture.
The importance of reliable, consistent, high-quality glass production is more apparent than ever. Air compressors are a key component of the glass manufacturing process, helping to fulfill numerous steps in the journey from raw material to finished glass product. High-quality, reliable compressors for glass manufacturing are a necessity to maintain efficient, consistent output.
How Are Air Compressors Used in the Glass Industry?
Air compressors are among the most critical components in glass manufacturing. Glass compressor products serve numerous purposes at nearly every step of the process — from raw material lines and production lines to combustion, medium transportation, manufacturing instrument operation, air for forming and production equipment, and more.
Rotary compressors are particularly well-suited to these applications. Designed to draw in ambient air and compress it through a series of rotors — able to then deliver a steady flow of highly pressurized air on demand — rotary compressors are frequently the equipment of choice when cost-effective, reliable, industrial-duty air power is needed.
Rotary compressors are versatile, efficient and low maintenance. They can be customized to suit a wide cross-section of applications, industrial settings, configurations and other factors of your operation.
Read on for more detail about the applications of air compressors in the glass industry:
- Raw material feeding: In this initial step of the glass manufacturing process, raw materials — primarily sand, but also including cullet, limestone and soda ash — are sorted, portioned and fed into a furnace, where they are combined and heated to form molten glass. This superheating process can last for several hours, at which point the solidified glass stock is extracted and fed with compressed air-powered conveyors. The compressors powering these processes must be able to withstand the extreme conditions of this first step in the process.
- Stock feeding and cutting: The newly formed glass is then forced, via air pressure, through cutting rings to produce cylindrical stock pieces, which will then be further processed to form the required shape.
- Forming: Compressed air is used to create the hollow shapes and forms of the glass product — from bottles to containers to more custom configurations.
- Cooling: Glass must be cooled and dried in a uniform, consistent manner to retain its form and integrity. The annealing process — where glass is reheated, then cooled and dried with compressed air — is a key step in accomplishing this.
- Handling and packaging: From capping to conveyance, compressed air drives the finishing processes that move glass from the production stage to store shelves.
Selecting the Right Air Compressor for the Glass Industry
When selecting the right air compressor for your glass industry operation, there are numerous factors to consider:
- Suitability for harsh environments: Glass manufacturing involves extremely high temperatures for extended periods. Compressors must be able to handle these conditions while continuing to operate efficiently and effectively. Reliable, low-maintenance compressors are critical in these scenarios, since repairs and maintenance can be dangerous.
- Capacity: Measured in CFM, compressors must be able to deliver the necessary capacity to keep operations running consistently, smoothly and reliably.
- Pressure: The right compressor for your application should provide the necessary PSI to keep procedures moving at the required pace.
- Business volume: In commodity manufacturing, such as the glass industry, equipment must be suitable for around-the-clock operation (or close to it). When selecting an air compressor, you should feel confident that it will not require frequent maintenance, repair, shutdown or troubleshooting — all of which can cause productivity to suffer, threaten deadlines, and have a negative impact on the overall bottom line.
Kaishan supplies rotary air compressors for the glass industry, specifically designed to meet the demands of industrial-duty and harsh environment applications while providing high-quality, reliable operation in a streamlined, low-maintenance design. Our rotary air compressors provide clean and steady pressure delivery, and we can customize products and systems to meet the demands of your setup. To learn more, contact Kaishan today.