Carried out over the last eighteen months in the teeth of the recession, this upgrade has introduced state-of-the-art decoration machinery and increased by over 50% the size of the decoration facility; installed a new furnace, and a brand new Customer Centre. Johannes Schick, Stölzle Glass Group (STO) CEO and Chairman of the Board of Stölzle Flaconnage Ltd details for Premium Beauty News the main assets of the Group’s new strategy.
Premium Beauty News - The Knottingley site has a long history?
Johannes Schick - A long history indeed! Glass has been made on the same Knottingley site for over 130 years, and Yorkshire glass making dates back to the seventeenth century. The area originally provided everything that was needed for glass production: coal for power, raw materials and both canal and rail transport. In the nineteenth century it attracted a number of glass producers. In 1871 a bottle factory was founded in Knottingley by two cousins of the Bagley family.
Over nearly a century, a number of changes occurred in the Bagley Company, including the production of a range of decorative glass that is now highly collectable. Then in 1962 Bagley’s was taken over by the Jackson Glass Company of Knottingley. In turn, Jackson’s became part of the Rockware Glass Company.
In 1994 the Bagley factory was acquired by Stölzle Oberglas AG of Austria, who formed a subsidiary company, Stölzle Flaconnage, which began production in 1995. Over the years modern techniques have been added to the traditional glass making skills. Today, Stölzle Flaconnage has around 300 employees and specialises in the production of glass containers for high-end spirits, perfumery and personal care.
The company has a reputation for high quality flint, or clear, glass, and, on two of its production lines, for Feeder colour. Originally operating with four lines of IS single and double gob machines, a fifth production line was added in 2008 to meet rising demand. By the end of 2008 all five lines were working to near capacity.
Premium Beauty News - It’s also concerning decoration that significant investments were achieved?
Johannes Schick - By the end of 2008 it was clear that, in order to attract a greater market share, the decoration facility required major investment. It not only needed state-of-the-art machines but also a complete reorganisation of the layout.
This was the point at which the global financial crisis began to impact and forced the reduction of bottle production. However, the decision was taken to continue the planned investment in the decoration facility
Acquisitions and installations in the decoration facility include:
- A new annealing lehr,
- Techno 6-colour automatic printing machine,
- Two spray machines capable of spraying 28 bottles per minute,
- Automatic etching machinery, which provides a high quality finish with highly competitive pricing,
- A hot foil stamping system,
- Heat release transfer for multi-colour decals.
In addition to the new machines, in order to meet the latest legislation on reductions in smoke particulate levels, and to anticipate future legislation, it was necessary to install a new chimney with filter, another major investment. The installation was effected during the summer of 2008.
Prestige glass is all about visual quality. The cold end of the glass production area has been extended to allow for the introduction of an additional number of automated checking machines, thus increasing quality control.
The decoration facility has also been greatly expanded.
Premium Beauty News - A new furnace has also been installed?
Johannes Schick - The expansion and modernisation of the decoration factory took four months. After completion, a major site upgrade of the glass moulding factory and administration areas was instigated. This has included the building of a 150 ton new furnace.
The construction of the new furnace took 42 days over the Christmas period and entailed the closing down of all production. The new furnace was fired up on the 4th January 2010. Soon all five production lines were once again in operation. The IS machines operate with a combination of double and single gob, producing between 55,000 and 100,000 bottles per machine per day. Annual capacity for the factory is 81 million pieces.
The final part of the site upgrade was the creation of a modern Customer Centre where clients can discuss design, production and decoration possibilities and view samples of STO’s output
Premium Beauty News - An upgrading which obviously took into account environmental constraints!
Johannes Schick - Absolutely, during the upgrade, the environmental aspect of all the developments has been carefully considered.
Stölzle Flaconnage has always recycled its own waste glass in its production, a certain percentage increases the malleability of the moulding process. In order to preserve the clarity of the glass, the amount and source has always been strictly controlled. The company is currently carrying out a major investigation into an industrial re-integration of waste glass in bottle production that will utilise a wide range of waste glass to produce an acceptable cosmetic flint glass.
Premium Beauty News: The Group has opened two new sales offices?
Johannes Schick - Two new sales offices were opened this year, one in Beauvois en Cambresis in France, and the other one in New Jersey, USA. These have joined the existing offices in Vienna and Moscow. Altogether, STO services clients from more than eighty countries.