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PPG Resumes Operations at Fresno Float Plant

PPG's Fresno, California, float glass plant, which had been idled for a furnace reline and refurbishment, resumed production April 1. 

The 50-year-old facility, which makes clear and Starphire Ultra-Clear glasses in 2 1/2- to 12-millimeter thicknesses, suspended operations in early January for scheduled maintenance after more than 15 years of continuous manufacturing.  

Ray Yee, PPG plant manager, Fresno, said PPG’s glass customers in the western U.S. and western Canada will be the primary beneficiaries of the project. “The refurbished furnace will enable us to produce glass more efficiently, reducing our environmental impact and providing us with additional flexibility to meet our customers’ demand,” he explained.  

The Fresno plant typically produces 650 tons of glass per day using proprietary oxygen-fuel technology developed by PPG. This process combusts glass raw materials such as sand and silica using oxygen instead of air, reducing natural gas consumption by 15 percent, carbon emissions by 10 percent and nitrogen-oxide emissions by more than 50 percent compared to traditional air-fired glass furnaces. 

Yee said glass plants typically complete furnace reline projects every 10 to 15 years to replace worn refractory brick. He added that the Fresno project also included plantwide maintenance, such as upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems that are more cost-effective to complete at the same time as a furnace reline.