Steklarna Hrastnik has began its investment in the new oxygen furnace for the production of glass packaging.

The investment is of key importance for the long-term existence of the glassworks, and for its competitiveness in the global market.

The EUR 18.5 million worth of investment will include the investment in the G furnace, the purchase of new production lines (IS machines), and the optimisation of parallel production processes.

The work is planned to be completed in November 2020.

The investment will allow Steklarna Hrastnik to incorporate the latest and the cleanest technologies and innovative approaches into its production.

Peter Čas, General Manager of Steklarna Hrastnik, said: “This investment is of key importance for the existence of Steklarna Hrastnik.

“The B furnace in the Special unit is slowly reaching the end of its lifespan, and if anything unforeseen were to happen with this furnace, this would mean that Steklarna Hrastnik would be left without a furnace and thus without the possibility of delivering its orders.”

Mr Čas said that the technology of the new furnace will be based on clean technologies with the joint usage of oxygen, and enable the production of even more complex glass for packaging.

This allows Steklarna Hrastnik to accept the most prestigious projects in packaging glass for sprits and perfumes, and means Steklarna Hrastnik achieves higher sales values per kilo of glass, reinforcing its position in the market.

The investment also brings an additional, separate production facility, which will be used exclusively for the production of packaging glass, bringing additional security to its customers.

Compared to the existing furnace, the new G furnace will also be more effective, as the use of state-of-the-art technology and future upgrades will enable higher capacities.

The furnace will be prepared for the implementation of innovative technologies allowing the joint usage of hydrogen as a fuel for the furnace.

“As this is a pilot and pioneer project, the implementation will take time and resources; however, projections are promising – a 20% lower CO2 footprint for Steklarna Hrastnik,” emphasised Mr Čas.

The current investment will also mean the optimisation of parallel processes in the new production facility – its own production of oxygen will be set up, the batch plant upgraded (division preparing the batches of glass for the furnace), the transport of batches and shards automated, etc.

In order to implement additional automation, digitalisation, and robotisation in Steklarna Hrastnik, this year’s investment will be followed by a new investment cycle in the next two years, a cycle that has been postponed due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Almost 300 providers are planned to be involved in the implementation of this year’s investment, including some 100 employees of Steklarna Hrastnik.