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Nampak Glass commissions new furnace and huge capacity boost

Glass manufacturer Nampak Glass has increased its manufacturing capacity by 56% through the addition of a new R1.2-billion furnace and the third at its Germiston-based factory.

Nampak Glass CEO André de Ruyter says that the addition of the new furnace, which had the capacity to produce up to 1 700 glass bottles a day, or 300-million bottles a year, increased the manufacturer’s production capacity from 195 000 t/y to 315 000 t/y.
Speaking at the launch of the furnace and a celebration of Nampak Glass’ thirtieth anniversary, De Ruyter said glass manufacturing was a capital intensive business, with continuous investment being required to keep up with technological innovation and market demand.

“Because glass is predominately manufactured in three major colours – clear, green and amber – we were always constrained in our ability to meet demand from the market by virtue of the fact that we only had two furnaces.

“So a third furnace gives us a huge increase, not only in capacity but also in efficiency to better meet market demand for the product.”

He added that the third furnace is one of the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced of its kind in the world. Emissions, energy, waste, and water are all managed efficiently, with improved flexibility in terms of colour, shape, and light weighting of final products. Specific features include cullet batch preheating from waste gases, a closed-loop water purification system, and an ESP filter that reduces emissions.

Construction on the furnace started in August last year, with the first bottle produced in August this year. During peak construction, 2 600 people were employed at the project, with the new furnace also having created 140 direct long-term jobs.

Also speaking at the launch, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies stated that manufacturing sector growth and investment were pivotal if South Africa wanted to place its economy on a new and sustainable growth path.

Meanwhile, De Ruyter also noted that, with this investment, Nampak had benefitted from the DTI’s Section 12I tax incentive, which was aimed at facilitating greater energy efficiency and skills development in the manufacturing sector.

Davies said that, under the Section 12I incentive, the construction of the third furnace had received a R550-million investment allowance, as well as a R1.5-million training allowance.

He added that it was encouraging that Nampak was working with small businesses for the collection of glass. In 2010, Nampak opened a R160-million cullet processing plant at Germiston which processes about 80 000 tons of cullet a year, procured from 4 000 SMMEs.

Once production at the third furnace ramps up so too will demand for cullet, creating a virtuous cycle of opportunity for SMMEs and informal waste collectors alike, while limiting the impact of waste on the environment. Currently cullet replaces up to 55% of the requirement for virgin raw material at the factory.
One of South Africa’s largest Rotary Uninterrupted Power Supply (RUPS) has also been installed on the site, removing the risks of power outages and surges.

“In the past year alone, Nampak has spent approximately R2, 5 billion on a number of capital projects, the majority of which were in South Africa. More will be spent in the future, mainly on refurbishing, and upgrading existing operations in order for us to remain competitive in the face of increasing competition and cost pressure,” said De Ruyter.
As the leader in packaging in Africa, Nampak recently acquired a beverage can-making business in Nigeria for $300-million and is doubling its beverage can-making capacity in Angola from 800-million to 1, 8-billion cans by 2015.

Nampak Glass is considering both greenfield and brownfield growth opportunities in the key regions of West and East Africa. This is in line with the group’s strategy of accelerating growth in the rest of Africa.

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