Projects Float Glass Production


Our client is a large international glass manufacturer with production sites all over the world. There’s a good chance the windows in our cars and homes were made from their glass.


Their glass sheets are made using the float glass process. The glass is melted down and floated on a bath of molten tin. Its uniform shape is achieved using rolling cones on either side of the edge of the ribbon of glass. These rollers rotate onto the glass and grip it, twisting and pulling it when required. This process is monitored by a minimum of 20 analogue cameras which are connected to a centralised control room. Inside this control room, 3 or 4 operators are watching the glass to see when and where it needs to be pulled and reshaped, which they’ll do via a control panel. The first issue is that these cameras use a coaxial cable analogue system which is becoming obsolete.

The second issue is that molten glass moves at a snail’s pace, so very often the operators haven’t spotted that the glass needs pulling until it has been moving in the wrong direction for quite some time. The operators had their own method of monitoring this – by marking where the molten glass should be directly on their screens with a pen! An effective system, but no the most innovative.


Scorpion Vision was commissioned to upgrade the existing analogue based camera system to a digital camera network solution. This involved replacing the coaxial cable infrastructure with CAT6 cabling which enabled the digital machine vision cameras to benefit from Power over Ethernet. The original analogue camera system required both a signal connector and power connector. The use of industrial machine vision cameras also opens up the potential to use automated control feedback in the future.

Why did we do it that way?

It was a challenging environment to image, so we were sure to trial several different brands. The best performing cameras were chosen for their ability to capture the changes in the behaviour of the molten glass. We chose gigabit ethernet technology because it has a camera cable length of up to 100 metres. And with the control rooms often 100 meters away from the bath, a USB camera with a cable length of 4 and a half metres, for example, wasn’t going to cut it.

Technology used:

Machine vision products from The Imaging Source


The new system guarantees security of supply for our client.

By adding machine vision that automatically detects changes in the molten glass, it can be rectified much faster. With a new and up-to-date digital system, the likelihood of system failures is reduced and replacements are easily sourced. Thanks to the constant automatic monitoring, the operators’ jobs become a little easier as they no longer need to keep their eyes glued to the screens. And the production results no longer depend on them doing so. The result is efficiency, security and peace of mind for the client.

This addition to the production also future-proofs it. By incorporating machine vision, there is potential for automated controlling of the rollers, too.


This system can be applied to any industry that requires product monitoring and controlling. Any image can be monitored and fed into an automated digital system. Not only that, but if a product issue occurs, images can be recorded and replayed to pinpoint the exact cause. And the cameras don’t need to be constantly recording, they can begin when a change is detected, saving data and energy in the process.

Do you have a production line that could do more precise analysis and monitoring? Does your camera system need updating? Contact Scorpion Vision today to discover how we can upgrade and optimise your systems.


We are always delighted to hear from our customers. If you’d like to ask a question, make an enquiry or request support, please contact us through one of the methods below or by using the enquiry form.

Telephone: +44 (0) 1590 679333
Sales: [email protected]
Technical: [email protected]