MANUFACTURING: Consol Spends R86m at Bellville
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Consol Glass, the largest glass manufacturer in Africa, has announced further upgrade and capacity expansion plans valued at R86-million at its Bellville factory. Consol’s latest expansion announcement is set against a backdrop of an already high level of activity in the commissioning of new and replacement of existing furnaces and machines, all of which is assisting Consol in meeting the diverse and complex demands of the glass industry.
Glass is becoming increasingly more popular in the packaging stakes and the demand for glass is escalating annually by between four and five percent. As its attractiveness as a packaging medium has and continues to climb, so Consol has been required to invest heavily in capacity through the development of a bigger infrastructure and manufacturing footprint. The Consol Bellville expansion is directly linked to the increased demand for product in the Southern and Cape regions.
According to Consol group managing director, Mike Arnold, the investment will include both the upgrade, as well as the purchase and installation of new glass forming machines, which will replace older smaller equipment and allow Consol to utilise fully the existing furnace glass melting capacity.
“The new machines are triple gob and NNPB (Narrow Neck Press and Blow) equipped which will provide significant opportunity for us to improve our output and aid our operational and technical ability. The technology which is already deployed across the group’s facilities offers significant process benefits. The expansion project also provides us with greater flexibility to optimise our colour campaigns to support growth in the wine and other beverage and food industries,” says Arnold.
The upgrade is expected to begin in January 2009 and will be complete by end April 2009.
Consol Bellville will have a 950 ton per day good glass capacity and as a fully flexible operation produces Flint, Green, Dark Green, Dead Leaf Green, Antique Green and Amber non-returnable lightweight containers in the 340ml range, as well as 750ml wine bottles. Depending on the product mix the additional capacity of 20 000 tons will translate into an additional 100-million 340ml bottles or 60-million 750ml wine bottles.
Last year the group announced the rebuild and expansion of the Consol Bellville number one furnace (B1) valued at R410-million. This project increased production capacity by between 40 000 and 60 000 tons of glass per annum, increasing the Bellville plant capacity by 25 percent. The latest expansion drive of
20 000 tons per annum will increase capacity by a further seven percent. With all this investment and growth, it’s hard to imagine that in 1956, the Consol Bellville plant cost a million pounds (South African currency of the day) to complete, with just one flint gas-fired furnace, six machines and a daily draw of 100-tons of glass.
Arnold says: “This kind of investment and increase in efficiencies and output will more than meet the market demand. Coupled with this, our prior investments into both the Northern and Southern regions have brought the local supply and demand back into balance.”
From a “green” perspective, Consol will continue to support its growth in cullet usage in parallel with this capacity expansion.
Consol Glass is a highly focused consumer industrial business, based on a customer and consumer-driven and value creation culture and holds the position as the premier supplier of glass packaging in Southern Africa. This most recent investment to increase capacity by a further 20 000 tons by April 2009, at the Consol Bellville facility, will bring Consol’s total investment in capacity to R1.5-billion over the past three years and an annual capacity of 870,000 tons per annum.
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