Gulf Glass Factory (GGF), a subsidiary of Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMC), has partnered with Italy's Falorni Gianfranco to build the first glass containers project in the country, a move that will not only enhance industrial development but also considerably save on imports.
In this regard, GGF has signed an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract with Falorni Gianfranco for the project, specialises in the production of glass containers used in the packaging of water, soft drinks, dairy products and various foodstuffs as well as medicines and perfumes.
Abdul Rahman Abdullah al-Ansari, chairman of Gulf Glass Factory and QIMC chief executive signed the agreement with Riccardo Scarselli, chief executive of the Italian firm. QIMC owns 50% stake in GGF.
The design capacity of the plant in the first phase will be 200 tonnes per day through one furnace. A second furnace will be built in the second phase of the project, which will raise the production capacity to about 450 tonnes per day. The total cost of the first phase of the project is estimated at QR238mn and is expected to reach QR300mn at the end of the second phase.
The project will have a positive impact on the industrial sector in Qatar and will contribute to the development of the growing food and beverage sector which includes; mineral water, soft drinks, juices, dairy products, packaged foods (pickles, oils, sauces, jams, honey, etc). The food industry is gaining special importance from the government and is expected to be one of the most important components of the national economy in the near future.
The project will satisfy the local needs of glass containers, which are currently imported from outside sources at high costs, in addition to exporting some of its products to neighbouring Arab markets, most importantly Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. These countries suffer from a severe shortage in the availability of glass containers since they do not have any glass containers produced locally, while their needs are very large given the size and importance of their food industries.
It is expected that the project will have a good opportunity to compete in these countries as well as other world markets.
The project is based on melting raw sand and some other additives in a furnace with a temperature of about 1,600°C.
Natural gas is the main source of energy in this process. The raw sand and the other raw materials are converted into glass and is then formed in special moulds before being cooled gradually then inspected to ensure quality and conformity to specifications.
The project will be based on local sand available from the sand washing plant of QIMC. Tests were carried out on local sand which proved its good quality and suitability to produce high quality glass containers.
In addition to sand, other natural materials and chemicals additives are used to improve the quality and properties of the glass and reduce the melting point of the sand, thus reducing production costs. Waste glass can also be used if it becomes available in the future in Qatar.