Pioneering new technology
Our UK history begins in the late 1940s with the creation of a new glass manufacturing facility in Bilston, Staffordshire, UK. British Heat Resisting Glass was a manufacturer of low expansion borosilicate glass for a range of domestic oven to tableware. This company pioneered the use of electricity as the furnace fuel and developed the single phase plate electrode furnace, thereafter known generically as the “Gell” furnace, for this particular type of glass.
Recognising that a market existed for this type of furnace, British Heat Resisting Glass formed a subsidiary company, Elemelt Limited, based in Kingswinford, West Midlands, to specifically further develop this form of electric melting and extend the range of furnaces available into other areas of glass production. Over the next decade, Elemelt designed and built many electric melting furnaces in no less than 26 countries worldwide. Additionally, new electric forehearths and electric boosting systems were also developed.
During the 1960s, one of the world’s major companies in the glass furnace business, Toledo Engineering Co, became the sole agent for Elemelt technology for the United States and Canada. Tremendous success was enjoyed with this relationship, with more than 150 electric melters of all types being built.
This success inevitably led to the two companies joining forces and, in 1982, Toledo Engineering bought Elemelt and renamed the company Teco Europe, specifically to clearly identify that it was part of the rapidly growing Teco Group and was based in Europe, thus increasing the opportunity for Teco to operate outside of the United States.
The 1990s saw a significant rise in the business developed by the new European based company, to such an extent that a second company, Tecoglas, based in Sheffield was formed. This company was specifically formed to develop fuel-fired furnaces, mainly regenerative, but some recuperative, primarily for the container and fibreglass industries.
Tecoglas is located in the same building as KTG Engineering, itself a company formed from the original KTG Furnaces Limited, specifically to provide spare parts and furnace equipment such as electrode holders and batch chargers.
In 2003, a further step was taken by Tecoglas, with the acquisition of Zedtec Limited. This company has a long history in the glass industry in the field of glass conditioning and offers a unique technical solution which has proved to be very simple and reliable to operate. The overall performance, particularly if the location determines a very high rate of glass cooling is required, has been proven and currently there are more than 160 such forehearths operating worldwide.
All of our companies operate with technical input and direction from our parent company, Toledo Engineering Co (TECO) of Ohio, USA, whose history, spanning more than 90 years, has enabled it to be recognised as a world leader in float glass plants, “E” glass plants, batch plants, container, fibre glass and speciality glass installations.
Each application is evaluated on a site-specific basis. We offer each customer a choice that can be tailored to suit their capital investment strategy, emission regulations, fuel availability and budget limitations. Because of our extensive knowledge of glass melting processes, we are uniquely qualified to assist and carry out these evaluations and subsequently provide project planning and implementation.