One of Brazil's biggest producers of glass packaging recently launched its third glass furnace. The $75-million investment is set to increase production by 150 percent. Reuben investigates the bottle manufacturer that's pulling out all the stops.
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A specialist in glass bottles for the liquor, soda, beer and food industries, Vidroporto SA is focused on the perfect shape, form and quality for its diverse customers. A closed capital company, Vidroporto is part of 4, the holding company of the Salzano Group.
The decision to inaugurate a third glass furnace will consolidate the company’s position among the three market leaders in Brazil in the heart of the industry. Work on the new infrastructure inspired a new production line and systems at the São Paulo plant.
“We were dealing with an excess of orders, which we could not take on due to capacity restrictions. The new furnace will increase production to 110.000 tons per year,” says Company President Edson Rossi, who predicts the results will pump up Vidroporto’s market share by 9 percent.
Colors and Creativity
Founded on October 1st 1977 by a small group of entrepreneurs from Porto Ferreira, São Paulo, Vidroporto makes glass packaging for alcoholic drinks and food. The company’s main products are destined for the cachaça (sugar cane liquor), beer, wine, cognac, ices, liquor and olive oil among others.
The 50,000-square-meter Porto Ferreira factory, which employs 500 people, stands in an industrial park that covers 300,000 square meters and 50,000-square-meter build area the plant of Porto Ferreira has 500 employees.
The first packaging line entered production in 1981. “From the outset, our bottles differentiated themselves from others available on the market by the broad range of models, weights and colors (amber, flint, colorless, green and olive green),” Rossi comments. Vidroporto bottles vary from 310 milliliters to 1,000 milliliters and can be closed with corks, twist, fixed and anti-drip tops. Modern and traditional at the same time, Vidroporto glass provides several advantages: versatile, practical, re-usable, resistant, elegant, hygienic and 100 percent recyclable.
With the increase in the average Brazilian’s income over the last few years, glass has gained momentum in the race against PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to the manufacturers’ purses. According to Rossi this is largely owing to “the environmental advantage of re-usability.”
Clients such as Ambev, Petropolis, Asteca, Missiatto, Velho Barreiro, 51, Bebidas Asteca, Cervejaria Petrópolis and Caninha Velho Barreiro among others have allowed Vidroporto to include the increase in production volume into new sales contracts. Rossi points out however, that projections also include many new prospective clients.
Vidroporto’s investment in increasing production comes at the time when Brazilian economic are pessimistic about the country’s growth. “Despite the general direction of the market, we are confident that by increasing output from our facility, we will achieve an extremely positive response,” Rossi affirms.
His opinions are justified by a glance at the company’s books: 2013 saw revenue of $60 million and projects figures between $68 and $72 million in 2014. “The decision to expand our production capacity was taken in 2012, when the concentrated market repressed demand,” Rossi explains. Recent reports state Vidroporto increased its market share from 8 percent to 18 percent in 2014.
The company has always invested in maintaining its technology. An overhaul of first glass furnace was carried out in 1987 – just six years after the start of production. Since then, Vidroporto has not only continued improvements to its equipment, but also expanded the second furnace in 2005 and staff leisure infrastructure in 2010. “Our technology is the most up-to-date available in our industry,” Rossi affirms.
Acquisitions such as forming machines and furnace energy saving regenerators, which not only increase efficiency but produce better quality glass, keep procedures at the forefront of the industry. “The new production line comprises a system of raw-material storage and mixes fusing furnaces, molding equipment, tension-relieving furnaces and inspection line technology imported from Germany, Sweden, Italy and the United States,” Rossi clarifies.
In 2012 and 2013 technological adjustments to existing operations included automated packaging lines and the installation of the first shard cullet system in Brazil.
The new furnace and changes to the factory boosted the capacity to 42 million bottles a month – an increase that required hiring 200 more employees.
Rossi emphasizes the repercussions on market positioning: “The new structure, with state-of-the-art technology affords us greater competitive advantage: economy of scale in purchase and sale. It also increases our strength in highly sought after segments requiring huge volumes of glass, like beer bottle manufacturing.”
Recognized for its commitment to the industry, the future of the glass packaging industry is safe in Vidroporto’s hands. The company has products of proven quality, which respect tradition and technology and guarantee consumer satisfaction and environmental protection.