Saint-Gobain's Dunkirk Plant Continues Hundreds Of Years Of Glass-Making Tradition

As temperatures reach or top 90 degrees outside, temperatures inside the Saint-Gobain Containers plant, tucked away at the end of Center Street, are even higher.As beer bottles glow red hot an arm's length away, workers step toward open windows in hopes of catching a cool breeze.

As he leads visitors on a tour, plant manager Michael Hart notes that there are cooling booths near each production line.

"Some never even need it," Hart said. "They get resistant to the heat."

Clocks scattered throughout the plant feature the cautionary phrase "Safety First," a good idea when 400 employees are working around furnaces that reach 2,800 degrees.

But aside from safety considerations, the heat leaves most of the plant's personnel unfazed.

They're busy concentrating on their jobs. They work for a company that's been around for more than 300 years, in a plant that's been operating since 1898.

Saint-Gobain Containers -- a $1.4-billion company that's part of a corporation founded in France in 1665 -- has an extensive history, a sprawling global presence and a steady future in a mature industry.

"Saint-Gobain is the largest glass company in the world with all of its type of glass," said Joe Cattaneo, president of the Glass Packaging Institute. "Glass containers, flat glass, fiberglass, industrial construction glass. They're well-diversified in all types of manufacturing.

"They'll continue to be a player for many years to come," he added.

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600450 Saint-Gobain's Dunkirk Plant Continues Hundreds Of Years Of Glass-Making Tradition glassonweb.com

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