Glass packaging manufacturer Beatson Clark, which makes bottles for pharmaceutical brands Gaviscon and Covonia, has completed its £5.4m rebuild of its white flint furnace.
Although the new furnace at its site in Rotherham produces the same amount of glass as the previous one, with a capacity to make 200 tonnes of glass a day, the investment has improved efficiency and reduced energy usage at a time when the prices are rising for big energy users.
The Chancellor George Osborne announced the introduction of a carbon price floor from 1 April 2013 in in the 2011 Budget, which the manufacturing organisation EEF claim will push up the price of power as the tax on fossil fuels is coming in when there is not a low carbon replacement that is cost effective.
There have been around 80 contractors involved in the rebuild and maintenance project, including Sheffield-based Tecoglas, which designed the furnace and Rotherham-based Batts Engineering, which fabricated and installed the structural furnace steelwork.
Beatson Clark is investing £10m in furnace improvements and new equipment its Rotherham plant, with new automatic inspection equipment is being installed to improve the quality of the products.
The company has already installed new vision-based inspection equipment with sidewall, base and top stress detection on four lines, and installation on the other four lines will be complete by early next year.
Beatson Clark is also replacing inspection machines with the latest Servo-driven multi-inspection machine that inspects the neck of the bottle, wall thickness and ovality of the glass.
All this new equipment can read dot coding, which will enable additional automated inspection and improve traceability of the product. The company plans to add dot coding to all its products to take advantage of this facility.
Beatson Clark will also be upgrading its metal detectors across all lines later this year. As well as detecting metal in the product the new equipment will also isolate affected products and remove them from the waste products that go for recycling.
The company’s managing director Tony McLoughlin noted that the £10m investment demonstrates how it sees growth in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors over the next year.
As well as improving the production process, Beatson Clark is also investing in new design technology. The company has updated its CAD (Computer-Aided Design) system to the latest 3D visualisation software.
“Using this software during the new product development process, our design team we will be able to provide customers with real-time images of what the end product will actually look like,” said Mr McLoughlin.
“The animation of the 3D visualisation can be turned 360° on the screen, showing customers what the size, shape, colour and embossing details would actually look like, rather than using an outline drawing that takes time to amend and makes it difficult for customers to properly visualise the product.”