Glass industry undergoes transformation

The region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern France is preparing for a boom in the glass industry with this reconversion project. At the heart of it is an unused industrial site soon to become a highly technical and innovative glass production factory.

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For residents and businesses in the region, the positives to come from the project include less environmental damage, cost-savings, employment and greater product choice for customers.

Traditional ways contribute to industry progress

The central objective of the Alphaglass project is to convert a once obsolete industrial site into a fully functional and high-tech glass production factory, with workshops, a laboratory, several production lines and quality control processes. This is good news for the local region which has a long tradition in glass technology, but which has also been experiencing tough economic times in recent years. This traditional local expertise is seen as critical to the future of the industry and the region and will therefore be an integral part of the production activities, resulting in the development of new products and innovative technologies.

Innovation heads towards new horizons

The facilities constructed will manufacture glass bottles and will be composed principally of a glass melting oven, formatting machines, sorting and inspecting machines and robots. The robots will be used to load goods onto palettes and also take care of their packaging. The project will result in modern and innovative industrial techniques, offering healthy economic prospects for the future development of the region. Examples of the advances include colouration techniques which offer the possibility of producing many different shades, an important factor when it comes to customer demands and providing tailor-made services. Other innovations include surface protection technology (bottles becoming ten times more resistant to damage) and printing techniques, crystal processing, energy savings, and laser marking for enhanced traceability.

The economic gains also cover employment, with 330 direct jobs created through the project, as well as many indirect jobs. In terms of the environment, there is expected to be significant reductions in water consumption, waste and air pollution. The modern design will also minimise energy consumption during operations with special filtering ensuring pollution is well below regulation limits.

Draft date

08/03/2011