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Annual demand from Japan secures jobs

Export markets have secured the jobs of 110 workers at an industrial glass plant at Beverley, Adelaide, Australia. Supply of solar panels for domestic energy generation in Japan and India has emerged …

Export markets have secured the jobs of 110 workers at an industrial glass plant at Beverley, Adelaide, Australia. Supply of solar panels for domestic energy generation in Japan and India has emerged as a lucrative market for Pilkington decorated glass. It expects to export 180 containers of glass worth more than US$ 7 million to Japan this year. And more than half the company“s US$ 22.5 million annual turnover is being generated from exports to 11 countries – twice that of four years ago. Demand for the specialist glass is being driven by Japanese government subsidies to increase the use of renewable energy as part of the country“s commitment to the Kyoto Agreement on global warming. Toyoji Hirahara, of Hinojushi Co, has been appointed as sole agent for the company in Japan to develop the market. Ten years ago, the 42-year-old company relied mainly on supplying glass to the domestic whitegoods industry. However, imports and changes to domestic appliances decreased demand for glass components in ovens and cooktops. Employee numbers at the former Seraphic plant gradually fell from almost 200 in the early 1990s. “It was during this period of consolidation in late-1997 that we sent out first trial samples of low iron glass to Japan,” general manager Leigh Twining said. Twining said other opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region were being investigated. “Things are going crazy in India at the moment,” Twining said of the solar power orders. Pilkington“s long association with Email and now Electrolux, in Adelaide paved the way for home appliance export contracts in the US, New Zealand and Asia. It also produced glass for the architectural, transport, industrial, refrigeration, furniture and home decorator markets. It is fully owned by the London-based parent of the same name.

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