General Manager
Glass Futures Ltd., UK



Aston is the General Manager of Glass Futures. He is responsible for the day-to-day running of Glass Futures and to ensure that the activities carried out across the Glass Futures programs align with industry trends, technology and direction.

Aston has worked in the glass industry for over 10 years. He spent 8 years with Ardagh Glass, gaining experience in furnace management, operation, maintenance and capital construction, wider plant engineering and energy management before working with British Glass and GTS on wider cullet recycling research projects, prior to joining Glass Futures.

​​With a keen interest in entrepreneurship and innovation, especially in relation to sustainability, Aston has over the past few years developed a passion for driv​ing change in sustainable engineering, manufacturing and in helping open knowledge of the glass industry to a younger generation of engineers.​


​​​​​Innovative Glass Melting Technologies – A patchwork of progress

Following a two-year design process working across the glass sector, Glass Futures is building a globally unique facility and asset(s) that are designed to produce knowledge, reports, IP and technical progress as it’s key output, with glass as a secondary by-product of this work.

As such the complexities of designing and producing an asset that is tailored to be technically flexible is a new approach to glass making and represents an opportunity for the global glass industry to work in a fashion that have never been tried before, we see this as beginning a new way to progress the science of glass making. By making knowledge the primary output of a glass making facility as opposed to products a new mindset can exist within the​ glass making community. The opportunities to capture knowledge that are simply not possible on commercial production lines will be demonstrated and the clear value of the work being carried out shown relative to the rate of change required within the global glass sector.

Following the process of designing and procuring a unique asset, the task of effectively planning an experimental programme to produce as much valuable knowledge for the largest number of stakeholders also brings about unique opportunities and challenges. With anti-trust and anti-competition laws pivotal to the success of competitive innovation, there are also ways to collaborate on pre-competitive elements of glass making that are begin opened up by way of necessity for the industry to change. This work helps to demonstrate that the global glass community has one overarching direction and that it should go towards those goals in a united fashion.

This talk will touch on the work across raw materials, refractories, furnace simulation, low carbon fuels, burner development, refining, forming, coatings, instrumentation, big data and training that all come together with such a unique and ambitious approach as the one being employed within Glass Futures. This talk aims to demonstrate that there is significantly more that unites competitors within the glass sector than divides them.

This is made possible by the inclusion of an entire supply chain from academia and manufacturers through to retailers and this talk will discuss the opportunities that exist by engaging this whole supply chain through a globally collaborative approach. The chance to run experiments con-currently on a line also give rise to more comp​lexities around risk, IP and stakeholder management but which will pave the way for a decade of progress following the International Year of Glass.