Flat glass (sheet glass, plate glass or glass pane) comprise all classes of glass produced in flat form, regardless of any manufacturing methodology used. Flat glasses are used widely in construction industries such as glass windows, glass doors, and transparent walls in modern infrastructures. It is also used as windshields in automotive applications. Some of the most important constituents of flat glass include magnesium oxide, sodium oxide, silica, calcium oxide, and aluminum oxide.
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On the basis of different product types, the global flat glass market can be segmented in seven broad categories namely annealed glass, toughened glass, laminated glass, coated glass, mirrored glass, patterned glass and extra clear glass. Based on the various manufacturing methods, the market can be segmented in three broad classes namely float glass, sheet glass, and rolled glass.
Float glass technique is most widely adopted technology worldwide. It grasped the largest market share in the year 2013. Based on the various end user applications, the global flat glass market is broadly categorized as construction, automotive and others. Construction is the largest application segment of flat glass. It covers more than 50 per cent of the total market share of the flat glass market.
The various properties of flat glass such as energy saving, noise control, cost benefits, luxury design, fire resistant, chemical inertness and self-cleaning properties are making it as one of the preferred choice for construction industry. Moreover the increasing use of flat glass in modern architectural designs is driving global flat glass market. Growing original equipments manufacturing (OEM) in automotive industry is further boosting the flat glass market.
The rising demand of renewal energy sources such as photovoltaic cells, solar panels, and E-glass is providing new growth opportunity for the flat glass market. The rising cost of raw material and lack of proper logistic supply chain management in developing countries are posing challenge for global flat glass market.
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Asia Pacific is the largest market of flat glass followed by Europe and North America. China alone covers about 50 per cent of global market share of flat glass. Japan is the second largest market of flat glass in Asia Pacific. Germany accounts for the largest market of flat glass in Europe. Asia Pacific region is the fasted growing market of flat glass owing to the massive urbanization and demand of passenger car from developing countries in this region.
Some of the major companies operating in global flat glass market include Taiwan Glass Group, Trakya Cam Sanayii A.S., Pilkington Group Limited, Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Ltd. Gujarat Guardian Limited, Guardian Industries Corp., Carlex Glass Company, Central Glass Co., Ltd., Compagnie De Saint-Gobain, PT Asahimas Flat Glass Tbk, AGC Glass Company North America and Asahi Glass Co., Ltd.