La Glass Vallée

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Home | Know-how | Glassmakers

Glassmakers

A traditional know-how and a strong creative capability

Norman glassmakers have developed a specialized bottle-manufacturing center that integrates all associated activities, from mould design to final decoration.

The main glassmakers :

  • SGD (former Saint-Gobain Desjonquères) and Verreries du Courval, which depends on Pochet Group, are two important companies in term of employees and concerning up-market glass bottles for perfumes.
  • From semi-automatic techniques and investing in a 2nd automatic oven in 2008, Verreries Brosse should increase its workforce.
  • More known for its know-how in special design bottles for spirits but also other foodstuffs, Saverglass also develops its department dedicated to the glass bottles for perfumes.
  • Next to these big companies, a semi-automatic glass factory still lives, Waltersperger, with its much more modest size but which create small series of specific glass bottles for up-market perfumers (factice glass bottles or glass pressed items).
  • Alcan Packaging Glass Pharma has specialized in the manufacturing and marketing of transparent or tinted drawn glass tubes for pharmaceutical, paramedical and cosmetic usage covering the three pharmacopoeia classes, as well as blood sampling tubes.

An increase in their flexibility through a better adaptation of their manufacturing equipment to the changing market needs and their constant research into glassmaking improvement techniques as well as their environmental policy, have made it possible for these companies to consolidate their position into that of a world center for bottle manufacturing.

Glass, an outstanding material...

 It is composed of a vitrifying element - silica - mixed with "melting" agents (soda carbonate and sulfate) and stabilizers (calcareous or carbonate lime). It is obtained at a melting point of 1500°C. The choice and the proportion of "melting" agents bring to the molten glass bed the properties that give glass its notoriety, particularly within the designer perfume industry. Moreover, they confer a highly appreciated plasticity to the material that allows designers to be as audacious as their imagination will let them. They also provide for internal pressure resistance characteristics useful in the manufacturing of sprays with relatively complex shapes. Some technical specifications of what is known as neutral glass are particularly useful in the packaging of very fragile pharmaceutical items (antibiotics, plasma, etc…). In modern glassworks, all these operations are carried out automatically and monitored by highly complex electronic control installations.

There are still three main categories of raw material conversion :

  • Traditional manufacturing with raw material fusion in crucibles or pot furnaces
  • Semi-automatic manufacturing with fusion on pot furnaces
  • Automatic manufacturing with fusion on tank furnaces, operating 24 hours a day.

Traditional and semi-automatic manufacturing are cyclical operations (i.e. discontinuous).

With 1 billion and half bottles produced each year, French glassmakers have become the largest exporters of bottles in the world, especially for top-of-the-range articles where they command 75% of the market.

They also played a significant indirect role in the distribution of spirits and alcoholic beverages, thereby also positively contributing to France's public image.