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Glass Melting Furnaces vs Resistance Heated Furnaces

Glass production relies heavily on specialized furnaces designed for the intricate process of melting glass. Among these, glass melting furnaces and resistance heated furnaces stand out as key contenders. Each type offers distinct advantages and considerations for various applications in the glass industry. Understanding their functionalities and nuances is crucial in selecting the optimal furnace for specific glass melting needs.

Glass Melting Furnace: Crucial Component

Glass melting furnaces play a pivotal role in transforming raw materials into molten glass, creating the foundation for various glass products. Their design factors in the corrosive nature of glass compositions, ensuring durability and efficient melting processes.

Understanding the Glass Melting Furnace

Glass melting furnaces, in essence, are specialized kilns tailored to withstand the corrosive elements inherent in glass compositions. They safeguard against potential damage caused by corrosive fumes and splatter, preserving the integrity of the furnace interior. The selection of materials for furnace linings and heating elements is critical to withstand these corrosive elements.

Key Considerations for a Glass Melting Furnace

Material Durability: The choice of materials for furnace linings must account for the corrosive nature of glass. Materials resistant to chemical degradation ensure prolonged furnace lifespan and uninterrupted production.

Heating Element Protection: Molydisilicide heating elements require protective coatings to prevent them from deteriorating due to prolonged exposure to molten glass. Proper maintenance and monitoring prevent any degradation that could affect the furnace’s efficiency.

Preventing Molten Glass Breakouts: Effective furnace design and operation procedures mitigate the risk of molten glass breakouts, reducing downtime and minimizing costly repairs.

The Resistance Heated Furnace: Heating Solutions

Resistance heated furnaces operate on electrical conductivity to generate heat, offering versatility in various industrial heating applications, including glass melting.

Insight into Resistance Heated Furnaces

A resistance heated furnace utilizes conductors to produce the necessary heat for specific applications. In glass melting processes, these furnaces provide controlled heating, enabling precise temperature regulation crucial for melting glass without compromising its composition.

Points to Ponder in Glass Melting

Precise Temperature Control: The ability of these types of furnaces to regulate temperatures accurately ensures consistent and controlled glass melting processes.

Application Flexibility: These furnaces offer versatility, accommodating different glass compositions and production needs, making them adaptable to various glass manufacturing scenarios.

Energy Efficiency: The electrical heating mechanism in resistance furnaces often translates to improved energy efficiency, reducing operational costs over time.

Ancient Origins: Melting Glass

The history of glass melting is a fascinating journey that spans thousands of years, reflecting human innovation, craftsmanship, and technological advancement. Before we dive into choosing the right furnace for melting or production, let’s look at the history of glass melting, from ancient times. 

The origins of glass melting trace back to around 3500 BCE in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Early glassmakers discovered that certain natural materials, like sand and soda, when subjected to high temperatures, transformed into a molten, malleable substance that could be shaped and solidified into various forms.

Early Techniques and Discoveries

The earliest glass artifacts were crafted through a process known as core-forming, where a core made of clay or other materials was coated with molten glass. Over time, glassmakers discovered the art of glassblowing around the 1st century BCE in the Roman Empire. This groundbreaking technique revolutionized glass production, enabling the creation of intricate glass vessels and objects with greater speed and precision.

Medieval Innovations and Spread

During the Middle Ages, glassmaking spread across the Mediterranean and into Europe, with Venice emerging as a prominent center for glass production by the 13th century. The Venetians perfected techniques like cristallo, a clear and refined glass, and introduced the use of molds for shaping glass.

Renaissance and Industrial Revolution

The Renaissance period saw further advancements in glassmaking techniques and aesthetics. Innovations in glass formulas and refining processes led to the production of high-quality glass for windows, lenses, and decorative objects. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the demand for glass surged, prompting the development of larger furnaces and more efficient melting techniques.

The Modern Era

The 19th and 20th centuries witnessed significant technological breakthroughs in glass melting. Continuous tank furnaces were introduced, enabling mass production of glass containers and revolutionizing the glass packaging industry. The invention of electrically powered furnaces in the early 20th century marked a shift towards more controlled and efficient heating methods, improving the quality and consistency of glass production.

Contemporary Techniques

Today, glass melting techniques encompass a wide array of methods tailored to different types of glass and applications. Industries employ various furnaces, each designed to meet specific production needs. Advanced computer-controlled systems monitor and regulate temperatures, ensuring precise control over the melting process.

Impact on Society and Culture

The history of this type of melting has had a profound impact on human society and culture. Glass has been integral in architecture, art, science, and daily life. Its transparency, versatility, and beauty have made it a symbol of sophistication and innovation throughout history, with glass artifacts and creations adorning museums and galleries, worldwide. 

The Smithsonian Magazine came up with this brief history regarding the scientific side of glass. 

Choosing the Right Furnace: Key Factors

When deciding between a glass melting furnace and a resistance heated furnace for glass production, several essential factors should guide the selection process:

Production Scale and Volume: Consider the production capacity required and the scale of operations to match the furnace’s capabilities with the production demands.

Glass Composition and Variants: Evaluate the specific glass compositions and variants to ensure the chosen furnace can withstand and efficiently melt the intended materials.

Operational Efficiency and Maintenance: Assess the long-term operational efficiency and maintenance requirements to minimize downtime and maximize productivity.

Cost Considerations: Balance upfront investment costs with long-term operational benefits and efficiency to determine the most cost-effective solution.

Industry Applications: Melting or Resistance

Glass melting furnaces are the backbone of glass production facilities, catering to a wide range of glass types, from flat glass used in construction to intricate glassware and specialized technical glass. These furnaces accommodate different melting techniques, such as continuous and batch processes, meeting the diverse needs of the glass industry.

In the glass industry, the resistance heated furnace complements the melting process by providing controlled heating for annealing and tempering glass. Their precise temperature control is vital in ensuring the structural integrity and desired properties of the glass products.

Beyond Glass Production

Glassworking studios and artisanal glassmakers leverage both types of furnaces. A glass melting furnace enables the creation of custom glass compositions, while a resistance heated furnace aids in controlled shaping and annealing of intricate glass artworks.

Beyond the glass industry, this type of furnace finds extensive use in various sectors:

Metallurgy: These furnaces assist in metal heat treatment processes, including annealing, hardening, and tempering, ensuring desired material properties for diverse industrial applications.

Electronics: Resistance heated furnaces play a role in semiconductor manufacturing, enabling controlled heating for wafer processing and other electronics production.

Aerospace and Automotive: Furnaces aid in the production of specialized materials used in these industries, ensuring precise heating and controlled material properties.

Comparing Applications in Different Industries

Glass Melting Furnace

Primarily tailored for glass production, these furnaces excel in handling the specific challenges posed by different glass compositions. They are indispensable in the creation of various glass products across industries, providing the foundation for construction materials, consumer goods, and technical applications.

Resistance Heated Furnace

While pivotal in glass production, these furnaces exhibit versatility by catering to diverse industrial applications beyond glass. Their precise temperature control and adaptability make them valuable in sectors requiring controlled heating and material treatment, such as metallurgy, electronics, and aerospace.

Factors Influencing Selection

Temperature Precision: Industries requiring precise temperature control often favor resistance heated furnaces due to their ability to maintain specific heat levels crucial for material processing.

Material Adaptability: A glass melting furnace is specialized for glass compositions, while resistance heated furnaces can cater to a broader range of materials, making them more versatile across industries.

Operational Efficiency: Both types of furnaces offer efficiency benefits, but the choice depends on the specific requirements of each industry in terms of heating precision, scale of operations, and material diversity.

Scale and Production Volume: Remember, considerations regarding the scale of production and the required output volume heavily influence furnace selection.

Cost and Investment: The initial investment, maintenance, and operational costs play a crucial role in selecting the appropriate furnace.

In essence, while glass melting furnaces dominate the glass production landscape, resistance heated furnaces exhibit adaptability and precision, making them valuable assets in diverse industries requiring controlled heating and material treatment beyond glass manufacturing. 

Understanding their distinct advantages helps industries make informed choices, optimizing processes and enhancing product quality across sectors. 


The evolution of melting techniques for glass, from ancient craftsmanship to modern industrial processes, showcases the ingenuity and adaptability of human creativity. The journey of glassmaking, marked by continuous innovation and refinement, remains an integral part of human history, shaping industries and enriching cultures across the globe.

Corrosive glass compositions pose risks to furnace linings and heating elements. An experienced manufacturer knowledgeable in glass melting processes is essential. Corrosive fumes can degrade linings, causing damage. Molydisilicide heating elements, if improperly coated, may drip onto the load platform.

Precisely selecting the right glass melting kiln or furnace is paramount for a successful application. Working with experts ensures protection against corrosive elements and potential furnace malfunctions, guaranteeing an efficient and durable melting process.

In short, the choice between glass melting furnaces and resistance heated furnaces for glass production relies on the manufacturing process requirements. Each type of furnace has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Glass melting furnaces are ideal for large-scale production, while resistance heated furnaces are better for smaller, more precise operations. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the specific needs of the manufacturing process.

Collaborating with experienced manufacturers who comprehend the intricacies of melting glass ensures the selection of an optimal furnace solution tailored to meet production needs while ensuring durability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. 

If you’re looking for more information or a quote, our team at Deltech Furnaces is ready to connect with you and continue the conversation. Our furnaces are used globally in various industries, universities, research labs, and government facilities. They are used to produce specialty glasses such as bio, optical, and nuclear waste containment glasses. 

By understanding the nuances of each furnace type, from glass melting furnaces to resistance heated furnaces, and their suitability for melting applications, manufacturers can make informed decisions, driving efficient glass production and meeting market demands effectively.

All Deltech furnace systems are designed and manufactured in the U.S.A, and shipped and installed worldwide.