If you are a glass manufacturer, you probably already know that glass’s main ingredient is sand. But what many people don’t know is that sand is the world’s second most consumed natural resource after water. And with each passing year, the resource becomes more scarce. This is just one of many reasons why glass manufacturing facilities need durable structures: to protect their valuable raw materials.
If you plan to build a glass manufacturing facility, choosing the right structures is key. Of course, the right structure should protect your raw materials. But an ideal structure will also help keep your costs low and your production running optimally. This includes the following:
- Low maintenance costs
- Simple scalability for when your business grows
- Durability to last for years
- Modern energy-saving features
Traditional brick-and-mortar buildings and steel structures fall short in many of these areas. This makes them less than ideal as your glass product demands increase over time.
On the other hand, engineered fabric structures from Alaska Structures® have many benefits that help glass manufacturing facilities work better for your business — now, and for years to come. They are used in many industries for durable, temporary, and permanent buildings. And they offer many unique benefits for glass manufacturing facility structures in particular.
Types of Fabric Structures for Glass Manufacturing Facilities
Glass manufacturers that are looking for modern and reliable facilities should consider fabric structures in their plans. Here are four ways fabric structures can be used for glass production.
1. Fabric Structures to Prevent Material Loss
First, all-glass production starts with cullet and/or basic raw materials:
- Soda ash
These are the greatest assets of your business and at the core of glass production. For this reason, storing them safely is crucial. However, inclement weather can put your materials at risk. Water is not a large threat to the quality of your materials. However, rain and snow can wash materials away. Gusts of wind can also lead to material loss.
Thankfully, engineered fabric structures can serve as bulk storage buildings to help prevent material loss. They are built to withstand high wind speeds, are water-resistant, and engineered to endure heavy snow loads. While brick-and-mortar structures require constant upkeep to keep operational, fabric structures remain securely intact and require virtually no maintenance once setup is complete. They offer protection for the long haul.
2. Long Structures for Annealing
Next, one of the most important parts of glassmaking is the annealing process. That is, glass is run through a hot furnace that gradually cools the sand over a long distance. In some facilities, this distance can be as long as a quarter of a mile! And, this distance only grows with the size of the glass being produced.
As a result, glass manufacturing facilities should have structures that can hold very long machines. However, many structures that span long distances need supporting columns or beams. These beams can take up valuable space in the facility. Plus, building the structure can be costly and time-consuming. After all, brick buildings are built by hand, one brick at a time.
On the other hand, engineered fabric structures offer a time-saving solution with an open-span design. In fact, the Alaska Structures GTX series can be quickly built to any length your facility needs. Its arch spacing technology supports a custom unobstructed building of any length, perfect for your glass cooling needs.
Additionally, Alaska Structures has custom-designed fabric structures, delivered, and constructed buildings over a mile long!
3. Comfortable Structures for Quality Control and Packing
It’s no secret that handling glass takes great care and caution. When staff handle glass products for quality control checks or packaging, they need to work at a comfortable temperature. If the workspace is too cold, their fingers may be too numb to properly handle the glass and risk product damage. Similarly, if the space is too hot, tools can easily slip from their grasp. Or they can even experience heat exhaustion.
As a result, the safety of both your staff and your products rely on temperature-controlled structures. Fabric buildings from Alaska Structures have proprietary insulation and HVAC systems to do just that.
4. Durable and Fire-Safe Structures for Product Storage
Finally, once your glass is safely packaged, it needs to be kept safe before it is shipped off to its final destination.
Unlike brick-and-mortar or steel structures that are prone to erosion or oxidation overtime, fabric structures are ultra-durable. They can be designed and engineered to protect against the following environmental threats:
- Fire and smoke
- Water, mold, and mildew
- Salt air
- Heavy ice and snow
With these layers of protection, you will have a glass manufacturing facility structure that stands the test of time.
How Alaska Structures Benefit Glass Manufacturing Facilities
Alaska Structures’ fabric structures offer glass manufacturers many cost-saving benefits. Here are just a few of the ways Alaska Structures stands out among other glass manufacturing facility structures.
Quick and Simple Setup
Aside from engineered fabric structures, other common structural materials for building glass production facilities include:
- Wood-built structures
- Brick and mortar buildings
- Steel or metal buildings
- Tilt-up or precast concrete facilities
Fabric structures have the advantage of being the quickest and simplest to set up among all of these. Here’s why:
- No need for a construction crew! Fabric structures can be built with a minimum number of untrained people. No expensive setup crews or supervisors are required.
- Save on building time. Fabric structures can be installed in a fraction of the time it takes to construct a steel building or conventional building method.
- Minimal foundation requirements. They can be built on nearly any flat surface.
- Fast, low-cost shipping. Alaska Structures offers worldwide delivery in low-cube packaging. This provides a drastic cost-saving benefit compared to other prefabricated building or construction materials needed for conventional buildings.
A growing issue of importance to glass manufacturing facilities is saving energy. Alaska Structures offers many ways for your facility to improve its energy efficiency:
- Proprietary EnerLayer and SuperLayer insulation materials save on heating and cooling needs.
- Proprietary Environmental Control Units (Alaska ECUs™) provide climate control and optimize energy consumption.
- Fabric structure materials are long-lasting, reduce the impact on the environment, and can even earn LEED points for green building design.
- Cut lighting costs during the day with translucent fabric designs that let in natural daylight.
[Related: Fabric Buildings & Energy Efficiency]
Alaska Structures also offers you the benefit of growth. If you find that you need to increase your production, we make facility expansion easy. Fabric structures are completely scalable. Additional sections or buildings can be added and easily connected to your existing structure to expand your glass manufacturing facility. That way, you’ll have all the room you need for now and in the future.
Each glass manufacturing facility has its own unique needs. Thankfully, Alaska Structures are experts in custom designs. Here are just a few of the ways you can customize an Alaska Structure fabric building:
- Adjust building entrances to fit large machinery.
- Choose the number of windows and doors.
- Choose to include an optional flooring package.
- Customize structure width, height, and length.
Importantly, Alaska Structures offers support each step of the way. Our friendly and knowledgeable building specialists are ready to help you build your custom glass manufacturing facility today. Contact us today to get started!
Featured image via Pixnio