Michael Brownhill
<[email protected]>

Michael studied Combined Engineering at Coventry University and has been with Schneider Electric for 9 years. He started his career in the brass metals industry as an apprentice technician in the West Midlands, before moving in to calibration where he established a UKAS calibration business in South Wales. After a few years he returned to home moving in to technical sales. In his early years with Schneider electric he was responsible for growing a new line of motors, but moved to Eurotherm after 9 years.

Today Michael is Eurotherm by Schneider Electric’s UK Power Glass and Field Services business development manager, focusing on process and power control solutions, energy management and field services.

Business Development Manager – Power, Glass and  Field Services
Faraday close – Worthing UK
M 07966 226215

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The only future for glass industry will be “all-electric”
Michael Brownhill
Eurotherm by Schneider-Electric

Human beings are melting glass for almost 5000 years and for most of that period that has been done by using wood as a heat source. Around 1850 we start using fossil fuels and it looks like humanity will manage to use it all up before 2200. Although we still have some generations to go before that will happen it seems that we are coming close to the point where renewable energies are becoming cheaper than fossil fuel energy. Last year we already witnessed that happening in parts of Europe already. Next to the environmental advantages of using renewable energy there are even more advantages to all-electric melting.  This lecture will try to cover the todays’ technology of innovative power supply systems that we made available to the furnace designers. Today’s electrical furnace boosting power supplies need to become energy efficient, highly flexible, real-time controllable, process intelligent, molybdenum and tin-oxide friendly, achievable and standardized. Old fashioned oil filled stepped and variable transformers don’t meet does requirements anymore and therefore we have designed solid state based power supplies that meet the requirements of new all-electric furnace designs. The lecture will cover efficient phase angle and well as load managed burst firing techniques in single, dual as well as in three phase configurations next to cathodic protection and flexibility capabilities. It intends to stimulate glass manufactures to re-thing their todays melting technology and start to consider “all-electric” melting in near future.


There are physical limitations to the ongoing commercial strive for higher glass furnace pull rates. One of those constraints is the maximum temperature that the crown refractory has to withstand, which has a direct correlation with the amount of energy that can be applied by combustion of fuel. To enable the input of more energy, without the side effects of higher refractory superstructure temperatures, there is method known as electrical boosting. Not only is boosting capable of applying potential amounts of energy to the melt, it is also capable of providing better control of glass melt flow currents and stirring effects, resulting in more efficient fining processes (especially in the case of barrier boosting). Electrical boosting is in principal a very efficient method of energy transfer as long as the system that provides the electrical power is built in line with the latest technical standards.

This paper will describe how multi zone boosting systems can provide optimum power control and power distribution by controlling the power to each pair of electrodes separately. It will also illustrate how to avoid typical glass melt “hot spots” by controlling multiple electrodes in one zone.

Different methods of controlling power with semiconductors (thyristors) will be explained along with how possible negative side effects, like reactive power, peak power demand and harmonic distortion can be solved through smart methods of control.

It will also describe how different boosting system designs, using higher intermediary voltages and super-compact water-cooled transformers contribute to:

  • Reduced energy waste
  • Greater electrical power efficiency
  • Power factor improvements
  • System standardisation
  • Cost-effective system design
  • Optimised stable glass melt flow patterns