German glassmaker Heinz Glas is inaugurating a new furnace mid-2020 at its Kleintettau glassworks that will be able to integrate up to 50% PCR glass. Coo Jörg Utsch and sales director Rudolf Wurm talked to Formes de Luxe about the project.
Why invest in this new furnace?
Rudolf Wurm: We started working on it two years ago—at a time when just one of our customers was beginning to ask us about the possibility of using PCR glass. Now this query is coming from all directions, so it was clear that the time had come to find a solution. In the beginning the request for PCR glass mainly came from the cosmetics business, but now queries are coming in mainly for fine fragrance bottles, which presents a different set of challenges.
Technically, how will this furnace differ?
Jörg Utsch: I can’t go into specifics without giving too much away, but basically, the furnace has more latitude when it comes to daily tonnage, so it’s much more agile. We can melt up to 50% PCR glass if there is the demand. On the current furnace there is a limitation to how much we can use, but with this one we’ve pushed the boundaries. The energy comes from renewable sources, mainly hydroelectric. The energy for the melting process is therefore 100% emission-free.
What will its capacity be?
Jörg Utsch: It will be a medium-sized electric furnace with two production lines that will produce PCR glass on demand in a very flexible way. It will be suited to fine fragrance production and will be able to manufacture complex items and feature all of the required elements for this level of product, such as fire polishing. What really makes it unique is its flexibility: it can work with PCR glass, but also the highest quality material in terms of color and brilliance. For the perfumery sector, what we’re offering is equivalent to squaring the circle!
Do you believe luxury brands want to go up to 50% PCR glass for their products?
Rudolf Wurm: Just because we’ll be offering the technical possibility doesn’t mean that the customer will have to go that high! But we’re offering the option.
Can you integrate 50% PCR glass without altering the aesthetic properties of the glass?
Rudolf Wurm: First off, the quality of the raw material has an immediate impact. The cullet comes from different sources–from the food and wine segment for example–it’s not perfumery glass, so that is a limitation when it comes to quality.
Jörg Utsch: Naturally, the color of the glass changes according to the quality of the cullet. Our customers are well aware that the higher the percentage of PCR glass used the more the glass will be altered; it takes on a slightly greenish tint the higher the percentage. Whether it shows or not depends on the design: you can come up with a design that covers the tint via decoration or perhaps even by integrating the color into the concept itself. There is a myriad of possibilities!