Steklarna Hrastnik envisages major investments in production with the aim of further development, expansion, and growth, starting with a EUR 4.2 million investment regarding the packaging programme. By the spring of 2018, the lighting glass production unit is scheduled to be transformed into the packaging glass production unit.
The company will gradually abolish the production of lighting glass, and provide opportunities for further development of its packaging glass programme. All employees from the lighting glass production unit will be offered reassignment within the company.
Steklarna Hrastnik will invest EUR 4.2 million in the purchase of a new machine for packaging glass (IS-machine) and the transfer of the existing machine to Vitrum. This will increase the efficiency of the furnace in the new investment cycle by 25 tonnes per day.
Once it has obtained the necessary permits, the company plans to increase capacity in its Hrastnik plant, in particular the capacity of the furnace by 200 tonnes per day, which will also create 150 new high-value added jobs.
“The abolishment of the lighting glass programme is our opportunity to expand the packaging glass programme,” said Andrej Božič, President of the Glass Division.
Since the onset of the crisis in 2008, demand in the market of lighting glass has dropped sharply, at the expense of the increasing uptake of LED lights.
Steklarna Hrastnik has also faced a sharp price competition in this market, which is promoted by cheap products from the Chinese market.
Božič also pointed out that Steklarna Hrastnik invested EUR 2.8 million in the development of lighting glass unit over the past eight years; however, they are not satisfied with the results.
“We were intensely looking for ways to increase profitability and the scale of operations. Co-operation with well-known designers also failed to meet the expectations that would economically justify the continued existence of the programme.
In 2018, Steklarna Hrastnik would have to invest at least an additional EUR 2.5 million in furnace renewal, which would be an over-investment for a programme that is not profitable.
Since Steklarna Hrastnik is aware of the importance of glass factory for employees, mainly from Hrastnik and the surrounding municipalities, they have been looking for ways to optimise the production and retain all employees – which they will succeed with the planned restructuring of production.
All employees from the lighting glass production unit will be offered a redeployment within the company. “We will offer them conditions of employment that will be comparable with the current, if not better,” said Peter Čas, General Director.
“The transition to new jobs will be gradual and employee-friendly. Nothing will happen overnight. Employees will be integrated into the mentoring system in order to get acquainted with new production technologies, learn new tasks, and thus make it easier to take on new jobs.”
The special glass packaging and perfume and cosmetic packaging market has been an opportunity for expansion, as demand has steadily increased in recent years.
The increase in demand was exceptionally high this year. “We have decided to take action now, when the market of special glass and perfume and cosmetic packaging enables opportunity for expansion,” said Mr Čas.
The packaging glass unit has no room for the integration of machines, equipment and logistics, which are needed to increase capacities. However, the lighting glass production areas will provide the opportunity to do precisely that.
The glass factory envisages more than a 30% increase for the packaging programme. The new investment cycle begins with the investment in the purchase of a new production machine (IS-machine) and the transfer of an additional machine to the Vitrum location.
By reorganising production, Steklarna Hrastnik will set the conditions for optimising production, raising profitability and new investments in the coming years.