Soda ash reduces the melting temperature of the sand used in glass formulations, and the alkali helps aid in the "workability" or forming of the glass article. FMC has long held the industry leadership role for soda ash supply to the glass industry, beginning with our pioneering production of natural soda ash in Wyoming in 1948.
FMC is the worlds largest producer of natural soda ash and offers the broadest range of soda ash grades and densities available in the market. FMC is the only natural soda ash producer to provide two types of dense ash to the glass industry. Our processes make either a "needle like" or a "blocky" crystal shape with similar chemical properties. Our Grade 260 has long been the standard soda ash product for the glass industry.
Particle sizing and the density of raw materials used in the glass industry are critical to the desired properties of the final glass product. A typical glass formulation, or batch, can contain up to 20 different chemicals. Each chemical used in a formulation has a specific function to perform to meet the desired end product specifications. Batch homogeneity, the careful blending of the raw materials, is the most important aspect of the glass making process. FMC’s soda ash has been shown to blend well with all other batch constituents.
The glass industry has many different product processes.
The flat glass industry primarily produces glass used in autos (tempered glass), new home windows (insulated for energy saving properties), and the after-market segment (replacement windows and doors).
The glass container industry is very diverse. Containers for beer are the most prevalent, with wine bottles, food containers, juice and specialty drink bottles filling out the product mix. Colored glasses are prominent in this industry, with amber (dark brown) containers for beer and many shades of green containers used for wine. Clear, flint glasses are used for food and drink products.