Our man for Poland
Stephan Pies, who joined the futronic sales team in mid-February 2011, was quickly identified as the best person for this sensitive task. After several weeks of meticulous preparation, he and Meersschaut embarked on their first trip to Poland in April. Their ports of call included Trendglass Sp z.o.o. in Radom, the Ardagh Glass Group glassworks in Gostýn and Wyszków and Tettau flacon manufacturer Heinz Glas in Dzialdowo. A follow-up visit was arranged for the summer. On 4 July, they flew from Munich via Frankfurt to Poznan, Poland’s fifth biggest city, with a population of more than half a million, for a six-day stay. Poznan is a university location, a major centre of industry ...
Our man for Poland
Stephan Pies, who joined the futronic sales team in mid-February 2011, was quickly identified as the best person for this sensitive task. After several weeks of meticulous preparation, he and Meersschaut embarked on their first trip to Poland in April. Their ports of call included Trendglass Sp z.o.o. in Radom, the Ardagh Glass Group glassworks in Gostýn and Wyszków and Tettau flacon manufacturer Heinz Glas in Dzialdowo. A follow-up visit was arranged for the summer. On 4 July, they flew from Munich via Frankfurt to Poznan, Poland’s fifth biggest city, with a population of more than half a million, for a six-day stay. Poznan is a university location, a major centre of industry and trade, home to many exhibitions and research institutions and the most important hub between Berlin and Warsaw.
Energy saving is a hot topic
The Antoninek glassworks, owned by O-I Produkcia Polska S.A., a subsidiary of O-I Europe and the first stop on the itinerary, is situated just six miles from the city centre. The company specializes in beer and vodka bottles, as well as jam and preserving jars; almost all its products are sold on the domestic market. Michal Marcinowicz, Head of Energy Systems, treated the futronic representatives to a tour of the manufacturing plant. The equipment there includes an EPRO control that has performed impeccably for many years, as Marcinowicz confirmed. The management expressed considerable interest in futronic’s new annealing lehr control. “The high costs for energy in the glass producing industry are always an issue, of course,” he continued. “Products that help us ease this cost burden are bound to be an exciting prospect.”
The next day’s agenda comprised a visit to the glassworks in Wymiarki, some 160 miles south-west of Poznan. Established in 1657, this works is one of the biggest employers in a relatively rural region. Its roots can be traced right back to the Middle Ages. A prosperous glass industry quickly developed on the site thanks to large deposits of quartz sand. The management certainly showed great interest in the FMT24S, amongst other things, as well as in peripheral equipment.
futronic – an important technology partner
The next destinations on the Polish tour were two glassworks belonging to the Warta Glass Group in Sieraków and Jedlice. The Group is market leader for flint glass packaging in Poland and the Baltic states. With a history meanwhile spanning more than 80 years, Warta Glass Sieraków S.A. is specialized in the production of packaging for spirits, fruit juices, mineral water and dairy products.
Considerable investments have been carried out there over the last few years with regards to modernization and expansion. Amongst other things, the production machinery is currently equipped with EPRO controls. Krzysztof Bandurowicz, Head of Automation, and Marcin Kochanski, who works in the same department, were nevertheless very keen to learn more about futronic’s FMT24S control system, FDU24S drive unit and annealing lehr control and especially its servo-proportional valve controls. “We are extremely satisfied with both the machines and the control systems,” Bandurowicz declared. “At the same time, it’s obviously vital that we keep up with the latest technological advances. futronic has been an important technology partner
for us for a number of years,” Bandurowicz stressed that he was looking forward to meeting Meersschaut and Pies again – at the latest at glasstec 2012.
Return visit next spring
The visit to the second Warta Glass plant in Jedlice, approximately 220 miles farther south-east, turned out to be equally successful. Warta Glass Jedlice S.A. is Poland’s third biggest producer of jars. The company is best known for its flint glass, which is used for food products such as fruit and vegetables as well as meat, fish and dairy items.
The Jedlice management likewise sets great store by state-of-the-art production technology made by futronic. EPRO controls are used at present. Product quality is assured by monitoring and measuring apparatus while a brand new logistics centre with a fully automated transport and packing system guarantees streamlined workflows. As a result of all this, Warta Glass Jedlice has managed to significantly increase its exports as a proportion of total sales in the last few years – proof that its jars and bottles are able to hold their own in the competitive international arena.
“We want to continue keeping pace with technological advances in the future,” explained Andrezej Leja, Head of the Energy Supplies department. “That’s why we were looking forward to the visit by futronic. We’ve known one another for a very long time. Now we’ve finally had a chance to put faces to the familiar names.” Leja and his colleagues were not only interested in control systems and drives but above all in the annealing lehr control, the cold-end coating system and the control for the batch house. A return visit was agreed for later this year to enable them to gain a glimpse of all these products live in action. “We’d like to become better acquainted with futronic and its technology. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about,” said Leja tellingly.
“An eye on product development activities at futronic … ”
The Can-Pack Orzesze glassworks is situated about one and a half hours away by car on the Kraków road. The bottles produced there are mainly used for beer and spirits.
On the final day of their trip, Pies and Meersschaut travelled farther south beyond Kraków to around 20 miles short of the Ukrainian border. They had an appointment to visit the O-I Produkcia Jaroslaw glassworks – Poland’s largest. Its machines are at the command of CIMOG controls, amongst others. The majority of the glass packagings produced here are destined for the Polish market, while the remainder are exported throughout Europe. Andrzej Burlikowski, one of the firm’s buyers, was delighted to “get to know someone from futronic in person at long last.” He intends to “keep an eye on product development activities at futronic in future.” He was particularly impressed by the control systems and equipment for the cold end, in other words for annealing lehrs, product tempering and servo-proportional valves. When the time came to say goodbye, Burlikowski emphasised his desire to strengthen the contacts with futronic and seek an active dialogue at the earliest opportunity.
futronic tour takes in 13 glassworks
The two futronic envoys had only a brief chance to check out the university city before flying home from Kraków to Lake Constance the next day. Named the European Capital of Culture for the year 2000, Kraków has approximately 760,000 inhabitants, with a further eight million people living in the metropolitan region. Situated some 160 miles south of Warsaw, the Polish capital, it developed into a leading industrial, academic and cultural centre as long ago as the Middle Ages. Today, Kraków is a lively region for high-tech and biosciences; according to the World Investment Report 2011 by the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it is also the most emerging city location in the world for investments in innovative projects.
Marc Meersschaut and Stephan Pies’ tour took in a total of 13 glassworks. On their two trips, they covered around 1,900 miles – in a hire car on motorways and country roads all over south-west Poland. They both agree that it was well worth the effort: “Poland is a modern, open-minded country with very friendly people,” Pies reports. “There’s building work going on everywhere, including roads, and the cities are vibrating. The economy is booming and the glass industry is just as dynamic.” All in all, the perfect place for futronic to sell its products and services. Pies’ verdict: “We engaged in a lot of constructive and highly promising talks. Poland is increasingly turning into one of our key markets in Eastern Europe. We’ll be back again soon without a doubt.”
Poland – glass market facts and figures
In 2010, European glassworks produced approximately 20.7 million tons of glass packaging. The figure for the previous year was about 20.1 million tons – an increase of around 3.5 per cent. Polish manufacturers recorded above-average growth in 2010 with 960,616 tons of glass compared to 908,792 tons in 2009 – up 5.7 per cent. This achievement is all the more impressive if we consider that capacities in the German glass industry only rose by 0.2 per cent in the same period while the French market experienced a 0.1 per cent decline. These statistics are taken from the annual report of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) published last June. It comes to the conclusion that whereas the domestic glass industry is only slowly recovering from the financial recession of 2008, these latest findings are absolutely consistent with Poland’s flourishing economy.