US company Owens Brockway, a division of Owens Illinois Glass Container has recently reopened a 96-year-old glass bottle plant in Pennsylvania which had been idle since December 2000.
Production in the newly refurbished plant began April 15, 2002, two weeks before the official reopening on April 30. The plant will be making clear glass bottles for Miller and for Smirnoff Ice, and there are plans to make green glass bottles for Rolling Rock Beer in 2003.
The shuttered plant was completely stripped down and refinished, with two new bottle-making machines that produce bottles at the rate of 750 per minute. Brockway is considering the possibility of adding a $6 million (€6.5m) ACL Decorating Process system in the near future.
Badger State Construction, Wisconsin, was General Contractor for the $16 million refurbishment project, and engineering on the project was provided by Owens Illinois' corporate engineering department.
Improvements in the efficiency of the machinery and its configuration mean that the facility now employs 60 people, one-fifth of the old plant's force. A sister plant in Brockway employs 350.
Owens Illinois is one of the world's leading glass and plastic container manufacturers, producing one out of every two glass containers produced worldwide.