Slovenian packaging glass manufacturer Steklarna Hrastnik is to make investments of €12.7 million in 2018.

The company has completed the first of these investments of €4.2 million to increase its production by 20%.

It bought a new IS machine with a higher capacity for its Special production unit and moved an existing IS machines from its Special to its Vitrum unit.

The investment had not only increased its capacities but also improved the working conditions, the company said.

It had strengthened its position as a manufacturer of special glass packaging in the super premium quality segment.

Since the start of the year, it had seen an increase in demand for products with special shapes in the spirits and perfumes segment.

"Our capacities are sold out until the end of October this year. With this €4.2 million investment, we have increased our production capacities by over 20%, which will enable us to keep up with the global market demands in our niche segment of super premium quality products," said Peter Čas, General Director of Steklarna Hrastnik (pictured).

"The investment was completed before the planned deadline. I am particularly pleased that it was implemented safely.

This latest investment is the result of outstanding cooperation between our employees and suppliers, as well as a testament to their know-how.

“The company's remaining investments will be aimed at further automating, robotising and digitising production. This will improve our competitive position and contribute significantly to better working conditions for our employees."

The company noticed the potential of the special glass packaging segment last year. To make the most of it, they transformed a lighting glass unit into a packaging glass unit (Special).

This gave them room to expand the packaging glass unit and bring in the employees from the discontinued programme. The Special unit was upgraded with an up-to-date machine with a higher capacity.

The investment work also included space for an extra packaging glass line in the Vitrium unit (tableware), making it possible to bring in the six-section IS machine from the Special unit.

Today, the Vitrium unit processes up to 80 and the Special unit 160 tons of glass respectively.

By increasing production and making optimum use of both furnaces, the company will reduce the costs per product unit, thus boosting its yield and added value.

“By optimising the production process and making maximum use of the available capacities, Steklarna Hrastnik will increase production, thus reducing the cost of energy per product unit.

"This is important because the company has been facing an above-average increase in the cost of key energy resources in 2018.”