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History

Fast navigation: WHO IT ALL BEGAN | NEW FRONTIERS | THE ERA OF CHANGES | ENTERING INTO THE THIRD MILLENIUM | DEVELOPMENT STRAGEDY ON STREAM “THROUGH THE GLASS QUALITY – TO THE QUALITY OF LIFE!"

As far back as in the XVIII century that the greatest Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov wrote: “I sing the RAPTUROUS PRAISE to neither gold nor gems but to the glass". As the years passed since that time the possibilities of glass usage have greatly expanded - from the use of glass as a construction material and producing consumer goods to the use of glass in space industry.

The history of Saratov Industrial Glass Factory is the history of establishment and development of the greatest enterprise of glass industry in Russia. In the majority of Russian homes, almost in every family there are products of Saratov glassmakers: either window or furniture glass, double-glassing, mirrors, chandeliers, crystal ware, dishes. Saratov flat polished glass was used in construction of many unique objects and architectural monuments, that have become the symbols of the epoch and that are tightly connected with the history of the state: the Kremlin Assembly Palace, the Ostankinskaya TV-tower, the Borodino Panorama building, the Hotel “Russia” and thousands of other industrial, social and dwelling buildings all over the country. 

Today OJSC “Saratovstroysteklo” is the recognized leader of the national glass industry, whose products have been well known for more than 50 years not only in Russia, but abroad as well. It is one of the most stable and profitable enterprises of Saratov region. However, the way to Saratov glass was not easy.

WHO IT ALL BEGAN

The decision to build the factory producing asbestos-bitumen tiles and window glass in Saratov was made by the State committee on defense of USSR as far back as in 1944, and it was based on the essential demand in building and construction materials. The project of construction of the Saratov factory of technical glass was approved by the Council of Ministers of USSR in 1951, and a year later the Soviet Ministry of industry and building materials approved the project on construction of the factory, meant to meet the demands in plate, mirror, patterned and special glass. Active construction of the factory began in 1955.

It was already in March 1957 when ceramic production workhouse gave its first products, however the official date of "birth" of the factory is considered 15 May 1958. Exactly this day the rolling machine was started up and the system of continuous glass rolling with the furnace of the total square of 560 sq.m. - the largest in Europe - was putted into operation. The production capacity of the machine amounted to 175 MTD of rolled glass with the glass sheet of 3 m. wide. The same year was marked by the start up of the main workhouse of the factory – batch plant - raw materials processing and batch preparation for glass furnaces. The first in URRS conveyor of glass grinding and polishing (SHPS-1000) with total capacity of 2 mln. sq. m. glass per year was launched in January 1959.

In the same year the new experimental workhouse was started, that was aimed to research and implement new technologies. It was the first in the country started the production of high-proof electro fused refractory.

The period of the 60s was the time when the factory improved its power through implementing modern technologies. For example, due to the deficit of the cheap large-size glass there was made the decision to start the production of glass using Pittsburgh process (nondebiteuse drawing). In order to bring the decision into life the group of specialists of the enterprise was sent to Poland for exchange of experience, as no other factory in the USSR used the above mentioned technology.

The year 1961 was marked by the start up of the workhouse, producing stalinite and stemalite (the first industrial lot of the stemalite was delivered to Moscow for facing of the Borodino Panorama building); in 1963 the factory began double-glazed production, the large industrial lot of which was supplied to Togliatti for glass covering of the VAZ building; in 1962-1965 the production of glass fiber materials was mastered (glass fibre mat, heat and sound insulated roll material, special glass fiber, glass blocks, fiberglass plastic); in 1965 the production of glass door beds and glass blocks was mastered.

As a result of first operation decade received profit by factory more that tree-fold covered all borne expenses for factory construction. And by 1971 the factory was one of the largest factories in USSR producing 12% from total volume of USSR glass industry.

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NEW FRONTIERS

The total reconstruction of the factory was started in February 1973. As a result of the tough and hard work of the factory staff the first technological line, meant to produce 5,5 mln. sq. m. of glass per year, was ready in September 1974, a year before the planned date.

The cost of reconstruction was recovered within the first operation year. In September 1975 the second technological line was putted into operation, producing polished and architectural glass with total production capacity of 5 mln. sq. m. of glass per year. As a result, the glass production was doubled, the production capacity was increased by 6,7 times, the production cost became 3,2 times less and the sales profit was increased by 12 times! In the 70’s the reconstruction and technical re-equipment of the factory required twice less investments than it would have been needed for construction of new production using old technological decisions.

The period of the 70s was the time when Saratov Technical Glass factory experienced a real technological breakthrough: The large-scale reconstruction of the factory was finished by the end of the 70s. As a result of main production lines reconstruction the new lines were putted into operation producing polished glass by a method of two-stage glass ribbon formation on the molten tin surface. As a result the factory took a leading position in the glass industry of the country as per engineering level and per production efficiency. 

For large contribution of the factory's staff into development of glass industry and sharp increase in production output due to the reconstruction and re-equipment, in 1975 Saratov factory of technical glass was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

It was paid a big attention to the production of consumer goods: mirrors, glass tiles, a little bit later - plates, saucers, prints, aquariums which have been produced since 1959. By 1970 the volumes of production of consumer goods were not large - only 2.4% of total production output. Significant increase of volumes of consumer products took place in 70s and 80s years. In 1972 and 1975 two production lines for graded crystal glass wares were putted into operation. In 1980 the factory got down to the construction of new large Department Division - workhouse of production of decorative chandeliers with crystal elements. This division was full-fledged started already in a year.

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THE ERA OF CHANGES

The 90s were marked by entering to the market economy. This required the strategic rethinking of actual activities of the enterprise and non-standard approaches to productions aims solving during the difficult transformation era of common economic relations.      

In light of new economic realties, in 1995 "Basic directions of activity" were approved at the company and detailed investment program was worked out. Within its execution in 1995 new equipment of Italian company "Bavelloni" for processing mirrors and furniture glass was purchased and installed, that allowed to inflict more beautiful and wide facet and significantly increase possibilities of diamond surface decoration of mirrors and furniture glass. The same year the highly technological imported line for production of wide range of triplex construction glass (from architectural-constructional triplex to bullet-proof glass corresponding to the world standards) was putted into operation.

While executing the plan of the enterprise technical re-equipment the technological line of another Italian company "Bottero" has been putted into operation and glass cutting tables with computer control were installed for accurate cutting and glass packaging (technological development out of the Switzerland company "Bistronik"). That allowed to vary glass sizes set by the computer program widely and significantly increase export potential of the enterprise: by 1997 the company exported 20% of total volume of sheet glass. At the same time the mechanized line equipped with robots, fire polishing and six-position press, produced by German company "Walter" for crystal ware production was put into operation.

In 1997 automotive glass production lines were putted into operation corresponding to the international standards (automotive glass has an International Quality Certificate), with the schemed capacity of 150 000 automotive glass complete sets per year. Today automotive glass is supplied to production lines of AutoVAZ, "KAMAZ", UAZ, and PAZ. Besides, automotive glass production was developed for a range of foreign cars' models ("Mercedes", "Daewoo", "BMW" and many others). Automotive glass produced by the company was highly appreciated by specialists of such companies as "Opel", "Fiat", "Renault", and has an International Certificate of Safety.

In spite of difficult situation on the consumer goods market the enterprise has found an extremely perspective niche for realizing its goods. In 1999-2000 the enterprise was successful in reorienting the production to large-sized light fixtures for administrative and public buildings. During these years for the first time ever it was developed the production of colored crystal goods.

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ENTERING INTO THE THIRD MILLENIUM

Early 2000 the situation of the glass market has greatly changed. Besides the increasing of competition between domestic manufacturers, it was stated the active entering of the largest international glass enterprises into Russian glass market. In order to give a reasonable reply to ongoing changes on the glass market and to make ever business process transparent, self-financing and investment-attractive top management and shareholders of the enterprise decided to start reforming of enterprise corporate structure in 1999.  

Reorganization and restructuring of Saratov Glass Factory which begun in early 2000 have opened a new chapter in the enterprise development. During this period the main efforts and resources were aimed to creation of effective management model which would be in full compliance with the actual international standards and would consider the specific features of glass production activities.

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DEVELOPMENT STRAGEDY ON STREAM

Simultaneously with the corporate structure reforming the deep modernization of all sheet glass lines was carried on, allowed for produce the highest quality glass of the very wide ranged assortments which is necessary for market. 

In the end of 2003 the factory performed the unique modernization of sheet glass line LTF-1 in unprecedented terms; the modernization allowed to increase the production volumes and to improve the quality of output product.  

In February 2007 in cooperation with Italian firm Bottero the project of equipment assembling for producing the large sized glass “Jumbo” (6000mm x 3210mm) was realized – the most progressive glass type used by modern industrial processers. It was installed the large sized glass cutting table of German firm “Hegla” and the new edge trim section was assembled as well.  The main element of new line was the “Jumbo” glass stacker with stacking capacity of 250 tons per day and designed to stack glass on the racks. In order to perform the “Jumbo” glass quality control it was installed the optic scanned of German firm "Isra Vision". 

In 2008, considering the perspectives of Russian and world economy growth and also the factor of intensification of competition in the glass marker, “Saratovstroysteklo” has started realization of the largest project for all the enterprise history – construction of a new highly profitable sheet glass line with a capacity of 700 tons per day. The project was to solve the main aim of production restructuring program – the removal from operation of 2 out of 3 existing float – lines depleted its production facilities. Early 2009 the line LTF-5 was successfully putted into operation and LTF-2 and LTF-4 were closed.

LTF-5 is fully automotive, equipped with the newest technological equipment; at the moment of construction LTF-5 had the largest glass furnace in Russia with the design features which were not used earlier in the domestic glassmaking and also the unique technological process control system. Here is produced the highest quality large sized glass and, first of all, “Jumbo glass.”

Simultaneously with technologic and engineering re-equipment of the enterprise it was proceeded the active works for adjusting the Quality Management System in accordance with the requirements of international standards ISO 9001. In 2000 it was obtained the Certificate of Conformity to ISO 9001:1994. In 2004 - Certificate of Conformity to ISO 9001: 2000. In 2006 it was implemented the Integrated Management System (ISM) in accordance with the requirement of three international standards. In 2009 the works for updating of Quality Management System in accordance with the new revision of the standard ISO 9001-2008 were performed. The Management system is certified by Bureau Veritas Certification for 3 international standards – ISO 9001, IS 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Moreover, the sheet glass is included into the Voluntary Certification System – GOST R. 

The scaled modernization of the last ten years and the realization of new projects as well have essentially advanced the engineering and manufacturing processes efficiency and afforded the innovative nature to the development of company business.  

In order to keep the positions of one of the largest glass producing enterprises “Saratovstroysteklo” goes on the strategy for production processes improvement basing on the leading international experience for all business lines.

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