Dave Dalton, British Glass chief executive, joined glass industry friends and prestige brand customers at Stoelzle Flaconnage’s Knottingley plant yesterday to celebrate and inaugurate the new increased capacity furnace and accompanying factory improvements including two of the latest generation IS machines.
The complete furnace rebuild – as well as installation and set-up of the two new IS machines, cold end inspection machinery and fully automated palletising plant – was completed on perfect schedule in fewer than 60 days. New decorating machinery to increase capabilities in colour and metal printing will complete this £17million investment over the coming weeks and months.
As part of a factory tour, engineering manager Lee Rumford and chief operating officer Marcus Wolfesburg explained how a wide ranging attention to improving efficiency and reducing waste had driven the whole project: from increasing the furnace capacity within the constraints of the existing footprint, right down to reducing the amount of shrink wrap needed for pallets.
Thanks to the optimised engineering of its combustion chamber, gas feed, burner and regenerator set up, the new furnace will reduce the plant’s carbon footprint by 13% (per tonne of glass produced). The whole upgrade will also deliver a massive reduction of water consumption – more than 50% - with almost all process water being recycled.
The new furnace, which increases melting capacity by around 60 tonnes per day on design load (150tpd vs 90tpd) and, will feed five flint production lines (with feeder colouring capability also still available). The new IS machines allow two different bottle shapes to be manufactured simultaneously and allow bottles of up to 4.5 litres to be produced.
Dave Dalton said:
"Given the UK’s the economic uncertainty since voting to leave the European Union, this Austrian company’s investment in the UK plant is a very welcome and well-timed good news story for the glass industry, for the region’s prosperity, and of course for the plant’s 340 skilled employees."