Glassmakers from more than 36 countries attended a summit which explored the future of glass packaging.

Summit19, organised by Bucher Emhart Glass, investigated the themes that will make a difference to the container glassmaking industry in forthcoming years.

The three-day event included 15 conference presentations, opening and closing talks from Bucher Emhart Glass President Martin Jetter, as well as networking opportunities.

Approximately 100 glassmakers were in attendance at the event in Zurich, Switzerland, close to Emhart’s headquarters.

These included Allied, BA Glass, Bangkok Glass, Encirc, Ekran, FEVE glass association, Heineken, HNG, O-I, San Miguel Yamamura, Takestan Packaging Glass, Toyo Glass, Vetropack, Vidroporto, Wiegand-Glas and more.

Glass International was also in attendance.

In a keynote speech, Bucher Industries CEO Jacques Sanche investigated the elements that made companies successful.

He highlighted a McKinsey and Company book, Beyond the Hockey Stick, which had investigated thousands of businesses over a 10 year period and compared their financial performance.

The most successful companies had displayed 10 key elements, one of which was past investment in R&D.

He said: “There was a clear correlation between those companies that had been investing in R&D and those that made a better race during these 10 years.

“It obviously paid off to have a higher R&D budget than the ones who didn’t have.”

Later, he focused on industry trends and stated that the negative perception towards plastic was a huge opportunity for glass.

“The plastic discussion is going on and people are becoming aware there aren’t many alternatives to glass. I think that is a huge opportunity. There is an increasing perception that the right way is to go along the glass path.”

In conclusion he said that three topics should prevail in the industry: reusability, productivity and the beauty of glass.

The notion that glass is good should be promoted more and should help increase demand for glass.

Similarly, more cullet should be made available via discussions with local authorities. This in turn would re-emphasise glass’s sustainable qualities.

Glass plants still have potential to improve their productivity, he said.

“The pack to melt must be better. We have to make glass production less magical and more industrial, it has to be a more predictable process.

“It is our job and we are working hard to get it into that direction. Job changes have to become more routine rather than an experiment.”

Finally, the beauty of glass should be continuously promoted.

“We have the ability to create a lot more optical and positive sensations for the end customer when he sees such a nice container.”

Further conference presentations were focused on Generation R and the future of work, an outlook of the global economy, how new EU legislation will impact the glass industry, and the sustainability challenge.

More information from the Summit19 website.

A detailed review of the event will appear in a forthcoming issue of Glass International.

Pictured: Martin Jetter, Bucher Emhart Glass President, opens the event.