Manufacturing premium bottles for a wide range of industries requires outstanding design that remains compatible with the product's function and consumer demographic. Packaging & Converting Intelligence speaks to Gary Steen at Stoelzle-Oberglas to find out how the company strikes a balance between style and substance that keeps luxury brands returning.
Gary Steen: Our consistent use of cosmetic flint as the base for our products gives the containers we produce a luxury look right from the outset. Coupled with our technical expertise from a design and manufacturing perspective, this means we manufacture impressive products.
Stoelzle is extremely skilled at customising existing brands by enhancing standard bottles or providing brands with one-off gifting options. We have extensive experience in adding value through decoration, for example, to produce high-quality gift products for any season of the year. This is a great way of adapting a luxury bottle from an already-premium product, and Stoelzle does this very well.
Over the past five years, Stoelzle Glass Group has invested over €100 million in prestige spirits. This has been mostly
in new state-of-the-art furnaces - the most energy efficient in Europe. Two of our recently rebuilt furnaces have won environmental awards. We use an electrostatic precipitator or a bag filter on all of our new furnaces so that all particulate dust is removed from emissions, and our latest furnace design and equipment has environmental compliance for NOx and SOx. We're also currently investigating ways to reuse our coloured waste glass, as well as ways to reuse our waste water by recycling it all on site.
Stoelzle has already invested in a high-speed spraying line and a new automated printing machine in 2016. This venture will see another automated printing machine arriving later in the year. We will also continue to experiment with digital printing, lasering and sand blasting, and further develop automatic accessory-application capability.
Our pharmaceutical, perfumery, cosmetics and prestige spirits business units are where we have the greatest success, noting significant growth in prestige spirits. Having in-house decoration facilities in the UK, Poland and France also gives Stoelzle a strong position in keeping the supply chain small, with one-stop glass and decoration solutions.
Our biggest achievement is our flexibility, which is likely the number-one reason why major companies work with us on their brands - particularly in the luxury sector. Being able to manufacture high-quality products in small batches is key to helping this category grow, for us and our customers. Limited-edition productions require small numbers of bottles, which Stoelzle has the capability to manage well.
We also place importance on keeping up with consumer trends, and this is benefitted by having the right collaborators. We carry out our own market research, but we're also aided by simply listening to our customers and engaging with design agencies.
Stoelzle will not require furnace rebuilds for the next five years, so improving production performance will be a priority. We aim to grow sales in our three business-unit areas, and develop our existing capability in glass manufacturing and decoration.