Consol’s state-of-the-art technology hub

Consol’s Clayville plant has always been our most technologically advanced factory, and a valuable proving ground for technological innovation. Clayville was the first to use a natural-gas furnace and the first to use 12-section machines, technologies that were subsequently rolled out across the rest of our operations.

We’ve recently introduced something quite special to Clayville’s stable of technology: a 16-section tandem machine, custom built by Swiss company Emhart in conjunction with Consol and Owens-Illinois. The tandem machine produces up to 650 bottles every minute and up to 300 million bottles in a year, and feeds them from two production sources (hence “tandem”) onto a single conveyor – a process that requires microsecond calibration and advanced process control systems.

To feed the tandem machine, Clayville’s C1/1 furnace was recently rebuilt, having produced approximately 3 billion bottles from 2004 to 2020. That’s 1.2 million tonnes of glass – the equivalent of 240 000 full-grown African Elephants, and way above industry norms. The newly rebuilt furnace is a world-class unit that improves our competitive advantage, increases our energy efficiency, and allows for the use of 80%-90% recycled glass.

Hot facts

Between 2004 and 2020 the furnace produced approximately 3 billion bottles.

In another first for Consol, the C1/1 furnace has been kitted out with a robotic swabbing unit (above) and thermal imaging systems to ensure industry-leading quality control; technologies that again we expect to introduce to Consol’s other operations. Clayville continues to set the bar for glass production across Africa – and worldwide.

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