FRANCE – American packaging manufacturer, Owens-Illinois Inc. (O-I) is investing more than US$56.6 million (€50 million) in modernization and upgrading of its Reims glass bottles facility in France.
The company is installing new high technology equipment, new overall layout and technical innovations that will ensure production of high-quality glass packaging for the food and beverage industry.
The project includes a complete renewal of one of the plant’s two furnaces as well as all-new industrial equipment on the attached production lines.
The upgrade, set to be completed by mid-2019 targets to enhance flexibility, boost capabilities and energy efficiency at the plant.
The company will hire 30 more new employees who will join more than 200 people already employed at the Reims plant.
The new workforce would undergo extensive training to further strengthen capability of the plant which is made of as production, supply and procurement, and maintenance departments.
“This is a strategic investment to strengthen our position in the Champagne business,” said Francois Pierrot, Country Group Executive, Southwest Europe, for O-I.
“We will be able to serve our customers in the premium segment even better with improved flexibility at the plant and within O-I’s overall manufacturing network in France.”
Once the upgrade is complete, the Reims plant will be able to produce bottles in three colors and in the full range from 0.2l to Magnum-size.
The expansion would enable O-I which serves North America, South America, Asia-Pacific and Europe, better serve vineyards and premium wine customers located in Burgundy, Alsace and the Loire Valley in France.
“This €50 million project is a major long-term commitment to the Reims area.
It represents one of the biggest investments in the region during the last few years, further bolstering O-I’s reputation as a strong player in the region and making the plant an even more attractive employer,” said Dallah Mekki, O-I’s plant manager in Reims.
“In addition, the investment will increase the flexibility and logistics advantages we offer to our Champagne customers.”
O-I said the investment was part of its commitment to sustainability given that the new furnace and machinery promotes energy efficiency thus, reducing the company’s environmental footprint.