Thread: cullet shortage
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:34 PM
Pete VanderLaan's Avatar
Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Chocorua New Hampshire
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Well, I talk to a lot of people, including distributors and manufacturers. This has been coming for some time and has to do with why I keep suggesting that the price has to go up. - a lot. Several suppliers are now out of Spectrum ( Really SP87 cullet) entirely which happened a little more quickly than anticipated. Olympic hoarded it and has the remaining supply. Phil went and raided Cristalica since he's not an idiot, getting Cristalia to violate its exclusivity agreement with Spruce Pine. Given Spruce Pine, that did not surprise me. I would have done something similar.

The only trouble with this scenario is that Dobern has a furnace that can't make enough cullet to supply America, let alone Europe. Dobern , last time I checked had no plans to change out furnace productivity even though they are in a giant building occupying a small corner of that place. What I have gleaned is that they plan to push the current furnace with no maintenance plans and that could well crater in a few years. They already had one unanticipaed shutdown two years back. Even so, it still comes up short five tons a day with demand. What do you suppose happens when demand vastly outstrips supply according to Keynes ?
Eveline and I have talked casually about starting a cullet supply. We looked at it a few years back and did all the math and figured out the supply chain across the pacific. Then, Spectrum resurfaced like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction". We bagged it and invested in bringing Cristalica to the US through Spruce Pine. I really tried on that one, got the exclusive and had a lot of difficulty with the melts coming clean. Coupling that with biz practices I could not cope with, I withdrew from that partnership with SP taking Eveline with me.
The Spruce Pine furnace had already failed spectacularly with apparently no desire to actually do it over right. That was too bad in my mind but it is what happened. There have been hiccups surrounding a restart but I think it would take a massive change in thinking and managing and a cash infusion of about 500K. I'm 67. I make my own glass. How do you get by? I don't need it certainly.

Now the line I'm seeing is one I have been concerned about for some time. I got news last night from one furnace maker that the Cristalica is eating the liners for his furnaces. I'm not surprised by that based on the borax/barium content of the goop. I offered Dobern a change in the formulation to affect the problem. They passed, which I expected. They have too much invested in Kuchinke and I get that. What I expect to hear next is that the pots are dissolving as well. The stuff is really very similar to Sys96 but has a higher expansion, around a 97. Sys96 was actually a 94.1.

If it was me as a small studio glass blower, , I'd suck it up and melt SP87 batch. Ever so much harder on the absolutely spoiled glassmakers of today. I currently know of no other startups even considering the issue. Oceanside next year is no answer. I don't particularly want to bring Eveline and the Shanghai group on right now although we have the capacity for raw glass now. . I'm tired of the way they get treated. In this community, China is viewed suspiciously. i know better. You get what you pay for. Just look at how many clear cullet makers have failed.

I may hold a class just based on making your own clear. I bet it would fill right up. Takers?
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