A €7 million Investment for Higher Quality of Steel and Energy Efficiency
Hrastnik, 8 Januay 2012 – Steklarna Hrastnik is to undergo a scheduled two-month annual refit. Today, the technologists in the Vitrum business unit will shut down the G melting furnace, and as of 1 February also the H melting furnace. This year’s refit is extremely important for Steklarna Hrastnik, since the existing furnaces G and H will be replaced by the new glass melting furnace with a higher capacity and significantly improved energy efficiency in glass melting. The new furnace will be driven by the advanced oxy-fuel combustion technology that uses pure oxygen to combust natural gas. The investment value amounts to €7 million.
After thorough cost and environmental analyses and on the basis of long-term experiences, Steklarna Hrastnik decided to replace the existing H (capacity of 55 tons a day) and G furnaces (capacity 45 tons a day) with a single melting facility. Selecting from among eleven bidders competing for the construction of the new melting furnace the glass manufacturing company decided on the German producer SORG.
The new melting furnace will have a similar capacity as both current furnaces combined, i.e. between 80 and 90 tons a day. It will apply the so-called oxy-fuel technology that burns pure oxygen with gaseous fuel instead of air. Burners in the furnace will be installed transversally to the direction of glass melting and will uninterruptedly supply a precisely defined mixture of natural gas and pure oxygen. Oxy-fuel technology will contribute to a higher quality of glass, while an energy efficient production will have a lesser environmental impact. The whole range will also improve working conditions of employees, as the new furnace will provide reliable operation of production for the next 8 to 10 years.
“Together with the furnace supplier and own know-how we have prepared an optimum solution for Steklarna Hrastnik. The new furnace will represent the new heart of Steklarna Hrastnik and enable further development not only in the Vitrum unit, oriented at table glassware, but of Steklarna Hrastnik as a whole,” Andrej Božič, the Managing Director of Steklarna Hrastnik, said. “No development means no opportunity to compete, so investments in advanced technology will allow us to compete in the global market and to be placed among the highest quality and top innovative glass producers in the world.”
The value of the investment amounts to €7 million, composed of 1.4 million of Steklarna Hrastnik’s own assets and subsidies and €5.6 million from bank credit sources.
Commissioning of the new melting furnace is planned to take place after the refit in early March.