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O-I recently selected PaneraTech’s continuous refractory monitoring solution, Polaris™, for deployment in the bottom of multiple furnaces on three continents. O-I has worked with PaneraTech for several years to regularly inspect several furnaces around the globe with portable SmartMelter® sensors. This started with a few furnaces and has gradually expanded over time. When Polaris™ was introduced, O-I quickly understood how this technology would complement periodic inspections.

Inspections with portable sensors are used to record a snapshot of the refractory condition at a specific time. The data from these inspections has helped O-I to plan necessary repairs as well as run assets to meet their planned down times. With this valuable data in mind, O-I moved forward with continuous monitoring to reduce the risk of unexpected and unplanned furnace upsets.

“Because of the great success we have had with SmartMelter® over the last several years, we had no hesitation about installing Polaris™,” said Jon Wechsel, Melting Refractory & Steel Strategy Leader at O-I. “This upgrade will help O-I to confidently schedule repairs to meet planning, design, purchasing, and customer requirements.”

Polaris™ enables customers to make glass more reliably by taking early action on issues that impact furnace operations. It is one component of PaneraTech’s Digital Furnace Monitoring (DFM) Program, a holistic solution for refractory management with a heavy focus on prevention. This program, which includes a digital furnace management platform and dedicated asset manager for the enrolled furnaces, supports a workforce that is becoming less-experienced as senior employees retire. Current customers of DFM have estimated an ROI of 4x-7x.

Continuous monitoring sensors are being used by customers on the furnace metal line, bottom, electrodes and other high-wear areas. It is especially useful on electric and hybrid furnaces, where initial campaigns will carry uncertainty about refractory corrosion. As the industry moves towards more electrification, this creates more risk for refractory wear. Because Polaris™ can monitor electrodes, this problem can be addressed. There will be a new learning curve with refractory wear, and Polaris™ minimizes refractory failure risk on these furnaces.

“It is now more vital to understand these new melting technologies that heavily rely on electrical melting early on,” said Yakup Bayram, CEO of PaneraTech. “Polaris™ will help manufacturers understand these unknown factors much more quickly.”

For more information about Digital Furnace Monitoring, contact

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