O-I Glass has completed a rebuild of one of its two furnaces at its Veauche, France manufacturing facility.

The upgrade also included the installation of a new machine in the hot end and the modernisation of several production sectors.

After six months of work, with more than 300 people contributing to the upgrade, the plant has increased flexibility as well as capacity, and is now able to produce 16 million additional bottles per year.

"The first bottles that came out of the oven were a reflection of the plant’s project: very high quality," says Robert Gachot, General Manager for Southwest Europe.

"The Veauche plant is the group's most flexible in France. Thanks to this investment, we have further increased this flexibility, which is key for our customers in the growing French market for premium wines and spirits.

“Consumers increasingly value personalised, sustainable and recyclable packaging solutions, and we are very pleased to be able to support our customers' growth in this direction at Veauche".

The furnace's Godparents are Julie Rochas, purchasing manager at O-I’s customer Pernod Ricard, recognizing the exclusivity O-I has had on Pernod Ricard’s 'Suze' bottles for decades and Gilles Combe, the plant’s Continuous Improvement Manager and Machine Project Coordinator.

Throughout his career, Gilles continuously trained to be at the forefront of hot sector machine technology.

The 'furnace 3' project is the third machine project in a row piloted by Gilles in Veauche, and has therefore greatly benefited from his expertise.

The increase in industrial capacity and flexibility at the Veauche plant benefits the premium wine and spirits market, while strengthening the region's circular economy.

The furnace has a cullet rate of up to 87%, and the cullet is sourced from a processing approximately 20km away.