Supply of laminates restricted

PVB resin shortage is likely to cause headaches for those companies working with laminate glass, at least until the end of summer, as Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell explains.

Supplies of PVB resin – the all-important raw material for the interlayer in laminate glass – are at an all-time low, thanks to a number of factors, including (but not limited to): Brexit, the Suez Canal blockage, wider shipping disruption, and production hiccups in the US.

The problem has been exacerbated – according to Mackenie Glass and Cornwall Glass, and other suppliers – by interruptions in glass supply (caused in part by some float lines undergoing repairs), and stockpiling by some companies.

This news broke shortly after we brought you details of the new trade association, established to improve the professionalism of the booming balustrade market, which relies quite heavily on laminate glass.

However, modern glass designs typically require laminate in some shape or form – acoustic, physical safety, fire safety, security, etc – with their specification often baked into standards and regulations.

This has led to a massive demand for laminate glass in recent years and, alongside this pressure on supply, the supply itself has been disrupted specifically by reduced manufacture (thanks in part to the unprecedented cold snap in North America) and a resurgent automotive industry taking much of what is available.

Even those suppliers in the UK with significant stocks are now having to limit supply. As a result, companies – including glass processors and window fabricators – are reporting considerable disruption.

Once again, our attention has shifted to the vulnerable nature of worldwide distribution. It is fantastic that the home improvement industry has been a clear winner coming out of the series of Covid lockdowns, but interruptions in supply continue to frustrate efforts to really capitalise on demand.

We’ll be reporting on this issue in future issues of Glass Times. Please get in touch if you would like to add further details.