Over 100 leading names from across the glass industry and its supply chain, academia, local and national Government attended the conference.
The event outlined plans to create two Centres of Glass Excellence; hot glass at the old United Glass site in St Helens, which sits in the shadow of the Totally Wicked Stadium, and cold end research at the University of Leeds.
These two multi-million-pound international research and testing facilities are planned to shape the way forward for the glass sector. Among other ambitions, the hot glass facility is aiming to eliminate CO2 from the manufacturing process.
Attendees learnt how they can influence 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 of circa 60 million GBP 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 Helens.
He said, “St Helens is a borough with a fantastic history. We’ve got a magnificent legacy of industrial growth in this borough, especially regarding the glass industry.
“While we are proud of our history, Glass Futures is all about innovation and looking to the future. It’s a really exciting time for St Helens if we can make it happen – and I’m delighted to confirm that the council have committed to pre-development costs of Glass Futures to make sure that it does happen.
“We’re doing our bit and it’s great to hear from industry leaders that they’re committing do doing their bit as well.”
Cllr Baines was joined by a vast array of speakers on the day including Cllr Richard McCauley, Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, Mike Palin, Chief Executive of St Helens Council Mike Palin, Managing Director of Encirc Adrian Curry and Managing Director of Siemens Digital Industries Brian Holliday.
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 Helens, Merseyside.
- High Tech ‘Cold’ glass research centre at the University of Leeds.