After water, sand is the world’s most consumed natural raw material. Since sand is not only needed for buildings or roads, but also for glass, cosmetics or smartphone screens, the demand far exceeds natural resources.

For more than 60 years, AKW Equipment + Process Design, a leading specialist in wet mechanical processing and environmental technology, has been helping to process different types of sand as a usable raw material for a wide range of industries with its equipment, process units, and plants.

In the glass industry, silica sand is a key ingredient in the production of glass products due to its high silica content, low impurities concentration (typically Fe2O3, Al2O3, TiO2) and physical properties. As such, glass sand generally has a higher purity and a more controlled grain size compared to regular silica sand. It undergoes processing to remove impurities and achieve specific characteristics required for glass production. Glass sand is a critical component in making various types of glass, including float glass, container glass, fiberglass, and specialty glass products.

In the given case, a recent commissioned industrial silica sand project example will be presented.


Our Tunisian customer is involved in the business of producing hollow glass. To be able to cover all the local market needs, as well as being able to export to North Africa and Southern Europe, the customer contacted us to design a silica sand washing plant for producing different sand qualities to serve various industrial applications, especially the glass production.

With the aim of having full control on the different raw material qualities for the glass production and a guarantee on delivery reliability, the project started with reviewing the composition of different samples of raw materials with regard to their chemical and physical characterizations, followed by pilot tests in our technical center in Germany with up to 6 different samples types. Accordingly, our experts were able to define a suitable concept for the customer to treat his raw materials in the most efficient way and to maximize the overall yield of the process.

In the processing of the glass sand, it’s important to reach the target size fraction (upper and lower cut size) with specific processing equipment such as the use of hydrocyclones and fine-screening machines, in order to achieve sharp classification. Also, to purify the silica sand to increase the SiO2 content by minimizing the impurities such as reducing the amount of iron oxide Fe2O3, aluminum oxide Al2O3 and titanium dioxide TiO2, which can be achieved with different density sorting solutions and magnetic separation. In addition to the glass sand production, the customer requested to have the possibility to produce foundry sand to cover the local market needs with a specific size fraction and a limited amount of fines (-100 µm <4%).

Thus, AKW Equipment + Process Design successfully supplied for this green field EPC project, the full set of the key processing equipment, steel works, piping and cabling. The civil work was done by the local contractor according to the drawings prepared by AKW Equipment + Process Design.

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