Performance Review

Innovation and 
intellectual property

Vetropack is continuously optimising the ancient craft of glass production. With innovative, high-quality and environmentally friendly products, Vetropack adapts to customers’ expectations, thereby positioning itself successfully in selected markets. When developing its Strategy 2030, Vetropack defined the topic of innovation and digitalisation as one of five strategic directions for the next ten years.

Innovation strategy and portfolio

With Strategy 2030, Vetropack is emphasising that innovation is highly relevant for the company. Not only does the open innovation strategy focus on product development, such as the further development of VIP Glass technology, it also targets the all-encompassing development of container glass production along the value chain. For this purpose, the company is using new digital marketing and sales channels and improving its planning processes.

Vetropack would like to promote innovation more strongly throughout the Group. The reorganisation of the Technology and Production division during the year under review takes this intention into account. In future, the department will not only be able to advise the plants, but will also be responsible for process and technology development for the entire Group.

In future, the Technology and Production division will consist of three organisational units:

  • The Performance division is responsible for the production processes. The focus is on analysing, standardising and continuously optimising Vetropack’s process landscape. Tools for continuous improvement such as Lean or Six Sigma are used regularly.
  • The Technology division focuses on technological developments both within and outside the Group. The technologies used serve to implement production processes throughout the entire Vetropack Group and focus in particular on digitalisation, innovation and sustainability. Proven and well-known technologies in these areas are examined with regard to their suitability for Vetropack and, if necessary, brought into the company.
  • The Innovation Centre launched in 2020 at the Pöchlarn site in Austria was further expanded and will be integrated organisationally into the Technology and Production division from January 2022. The research focus of the Innovation Centre will be on process and product development as well as digitalisation. A further increase in staff is planned for this purpose. Current projects are working on, for example, the possibilities for CO2-reduced production of container glass, the development of new process technologies for the production of lightweight glass packaging, and the development of digitalised glass bottles that enable complete life cycle transparency and traceability. This is relevant not least because of the trend towards multiple use of glass packaging.

During the year under review, Vetropack continued to drive forward the development and commercialisation of lightweight glass packaging. The glass launched in 2019 under the name VIP Glass (Vetropack Improved Performance), which is particularly stable thanks to a special thermal curing process and thus enables the production of lighter containers, continues to enjoy great popularity among pilot customers, so the expansion of the product range is being driven forward.

Vetropack Story: Vetropack Improved Performance Glass entering a new phase

The company also continued to make progress in the area of digitalisation and automation, although there were delays at times due to the COVID crisis. The focus here is on the topic of traceability of individual bottles with the help of the latest laser technology and the processing of data in the corresponding systems. Vetropack also dealt with the introduction of a new Group-wide MES system. The uniform operational data structure created with the help of this system will enable the use of “Big Data Tools” or artificial intelligence for the extensive evaluation of operational data in the future. Vetropack expects the use of these digital tools to improve operational performance and increase quality levels. To this end, data analysis specialists will be integrated into the organisation of the Technology and Production division.

The introduction of an energy management system in cooperation with Siemens continues to progress. After a successful pilot project at the plant in Croatia, the Austrian plants were connected to the system in terms of data in 2021. The connection of the plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is planned for 2022.

There were delays in the implementation of the projects due to the COVID crisis, primarily due to the limited travel possibilities as well as the availability of staff of the partners involved in the projects.

Performance Review: Digitalisation and automation

Process innovation with suppliers

From increasing efficiency in the glass production process to improvements in the organisation and product development – Vetropack relies on collaboration with its suppliers in almost every strategic area of innovation. Their pursuit of a higher level of digitalisation also supports corresponding processes at Vetropack.