Austria-based Stoelzle Glass Group plans to invest $40 million to $45 million in upgrading the Monaca glass plant it acquired from Anchor Hocking Glass Co, in March over the next seven to eight years. The plant marks Stoelzle’s seventh glass factory, and its first in the U.S. The company, which did not disclose the financials of the acquisition deal, manufactures glass packaging for pharmacy, cosmetics, spirits and other consumer segments. The Monaca plant produces about 300 tons of glass per day. August Grupp, head of the spirits business unit for Stoelzle, said the company plans to increase that production capacity over the next two to three years, but he did not disclose specific goal numbers. To increase that capacity, Stoelzle has plans to upgrade the plant’s machinery, including high-tech quality assurance machines. However, Grupp said it was really the plant’s existing knowledge that drew Stoelzle’s attention. “Glass is a complicated material,” Grupp said. “The material makes it quite complicated to automate, so you always depend on people, on bottle makers, who know the material and know how to deal with it. … We immediately liked the passion people have for the material. You have people here with a lot of experience who have been with the factory for many years, so there is a sense of loyalty. … We are here to stay. We have a long-term vision.” Stoelzle, which has about 3,100 employees total, has 360 employees at the Monaca plant. Grupp said the company also intends to increase that headcount over the next few years, but he declined to disclose how many more jobs the plant would create. “We would like to attract the younger generation to come and work here,” Grupp said. “We want to be a company going forward where tech savvy and younger people who are interested in machines and in manufacturing, but as well in software and electric engineering, are excited to work here.”
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