Glass plant is a first for Cornwall

A state-of-the-art new glass toughening plant has opened in Cornwall - a first for the county. It took a £2 million investment by Cornwall Glass and Glazing to create the plant in St Austell and already it is enabling the firm to expand its business.

Ten extra staff have been employed to work on the new productions lines and another five or six positions are expected to be created this year.And with glass being very much "in vogue" in the construction world the firm is looking forward to a successful future.The decision to build the new plant - a 17,000sq ft premises next to the company's existing factory on the Holmbush Industrial Estate - was made in 2002 after a number of changes were made to building regulations.These led to a massive increase in demand for toughened glass and Cornwall Glass and Glazing became increasingly frustrated with the costs, delays and lack of control involved in buying from suppliers around the country.The firm, which had a £4 million turnover last year, decided it was time to put itself in the forefront of toughened glass production as managing director Mark Mitchell explained."What we have created is the most modern, state-of-the-art facility of its kind in the country at the moment.

"We spent about 18 months researching machinery and visited Germany, Switzerland, Italy and most parts of the UK looking at other plants.

"We wanted to buy the best machines of their kind and we invested about £1.2 million in them."

A British company supplied the furnace, the integral part of the glass toughening process, which is used to heat sheets of glass to almost melting point after which they are cooled quickly creating a highly toughened product.

Each sheet produced carries Cornwall Glass and Glazing's own Chough Tough logo featuring a picture of the Cornish Chough.

Along with the furnace the company has also invested in new automated, high speed glass cutting equipment and an automatic robotic sealed unit line for creating double glazed units.

"We were in the hands of our suppliers before but now we are in control of our own destiny," said Mark Mitchell.

"We can make decisions today rather than refer to a head office and we can react quickly to market trends.

"We know if something has appeared on a programme on TV, like glass bricks or glass you can walk on, we will start to get calls the next week and we have the upper hand."

Matthew Taylor, MP for Truro and St Austell visited the new plant during its opening week along with many of Cornwall Glass and Glazing's customers.

"Everyone was genuinely impressed by the scale of the project," said Mr Mitchell.

600450 Glass plant is a first for Cornwall
Date: 27 February 2004

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