Investing more than 15 million € in energy-efficient solutions and creating more than 50 new job opportunities for the region's residents, construction of the second high-silica glass melting furnace at the VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA, AS production site has been completed. It will run alongside the two existing E-glass furnaces and another high-silica glass melting furnace. On Friday 14 July, the heating up of the new furnace started to prepare it for the start of glass fibre production, so that it can provide high-value export products for foreign markets in early August.
Exporting more than 95% of its production, the company claims to be an export leader
“We are the only Western supplier of high-temperature resistant glass fibre products. With unsafe production supply alternatives from sanctioned areas and from countries with a shady global political and economic agenda, our customers are looking for a sustainable supply chain in Europe as they follow the consequences of war on the world political stage. Faced with growing demand, we are currently increasing our production capacity to serve this market sector," says Stefan Jugel, Chairman of the Board of AS VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA.
The company exports more than 95% of its production, and all of its silica glass fibre production goes abroad. The company would like to further expand its position as the world market leader in terms of quantity but above all - quality. VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA, AS wants to reduce its market share in standard products and offer its customers more customized technical and commercial solutions.
Obtained from the new furnace, high-silica glass fibre will be produced into products that are able to provide heat resistance of up to 1100°C. Their role is invaluable in industries requiring low thermal conductivity, inertness to most chemical reagents, resistance to organic and mineral acids, weak alkali, water and high-pressure steam. These products are therefore often used in various high-tech industries such as aerospace, chemicals, metallurgy, special clothing, energy, mechanical engineering and insulating materials for electric car batteries. This is a specialized niche product produced by only a small number of suppliers worldwide, and AS VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA can pride on 40-50 years of experience in this field.
Investing in energy-efficient solutions
Being aware of the environmental impact of the glass fibre industry, one of the most important investment goals of VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA, AS is to become more energy efficient and flexible in the choice of energy sources. Therefore, the construction of the new furnace, in which the company has invested more than 15 million €, uses innovative technologies and solutions that will help ensure higher product quality and reduce resource consumption per unit of production. This focuses on more climate and environmentally-friendly production, reducing the release of CO2 and other GHGs into the atmosphere, and greater flexibility in the choice of energy sources.
Another major investment in the transformation towards greener production is the glass fibre technological waste recycling unit, which will be installed next month but is expected to be operational in October. “Working in an industry that undeniably generates waste, we have invested 3 million € in a new glass fibre technological waste recycling unit, which will help to grind and reuse the process residues or, so-called, technological waste, not to landfill them, but to reuse them in molten glass, thus reducing the environmental impact,” explains S.Jugel.
In addition to the glass fibre technological waste recycling unit, the next investment step will be to invest in technology for further processing of high-silica glass fibre and possibly to build two more similar furnaces as more and more customers demand high-silica glass fibre fabrics.
The resources of VALMIERAS STIKLA ŠĶIEDRA, AS were used for the implementation of both the fourth furnace and the glass fibre technological waste recycling unit, but the company has also applied for the ALTUM grant programme "Investment loans for large and medium-sized enterprises with a capital discount to promote competitiveness", hoping to receive state co-financing for the development of the aforementioned projects.