News update - 26 July 2019
Over 100 leading names from across the glass industry and supply chain, academia as well as local and national government, attended the major Glass Futures Industry Conference at the Totally Wicked Rugby League Stadium in St Helens, Merseyside on tuesday 23 July 2019.
The event outlined plans to create two Centres of Glass Excellence, hot glass at St Helens and cold end research at the University of Leeds. These two multi-million-pound international research and testing facilities, planned to shape the way forward for the glass sector. Among other aims, the hot glass facility is aiming to eliminate CO2 form the manufacturing process.
Attendees learnt how they can influence and benefit from the planned research into clean fuels and innovation to boost manufacturing productivity, and so set the agenda for how the £1.6 billion UK glass sector and its supply chain can benefit from the Glass Futures initiative. Glass Futures is currently pursuing UK government funding streams circa £60m from BEIS and Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation.
Opening the day, Cllr David Baines, Leader of St Helens Council, said the Council was committed to providing the design and planning work needed to launch Glass Futures - a positive project in a future positive for St Helen’s.
Cllr Richard McCauley, St Helens Cabinet member for Economic Regeneration and Housing, who worked in the glass industry for 45 years, added: “We want St Helens to be at the heart of global innovation. “There’s nowhere else like St Helens. It’s a glass town and we want it to stay that way. That’s why we as a council are committed to ensuring that Glass Futures happens here.”
Also pledging support, Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Combined Authority backs this fantastic project all the way. Glass Futures offers tremendous social, economic and environmental value - and will benefit areas far beyond St Helens. I hope you will all get behind it!”
Additional local support came from Mike Palin, St Helens Chief Exec, who announced St Helens had agreed to provide up to £900,000 support to cover pre-planning and planning costs.
There was also tremendous support from contributing companies who include Encirc and Siemens. Adrian Curry, managing director of glass manufacturers Encirc, saw Glass Futures as a huge and necessary investment in looking at the problem of future proofing, which manufacturers could not solve on their own. He believed the
St Helens site could be a global exemplar.
Brian Holliday, Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries, said that collaboration was vital to progress in manufacturing and Glass Futures was ‘a tremendously important step’ for the glass sector and wider industry in terms of regional growth, skills and innovation. “We will enthusiastically support the project with our time, digital technologies and domain expertise,” he added.
Led by some of the World’s largest glass manufacturers, supply chain partners and leading UK University research groups, Glass Futures’ aim is to create two centres of excellence:
Unique multi-fuelled ‘Hot’ glass pilot facility in St Helen’s, Merseyside
High Tech ‘Cold’ glass research centre at the University of Leeds.
Glass Futures is keen to hear from businesses across the industry and supply chain who would like to be involved and benefit from the initiative.
For more information contact: