Ruscam-Ufa operates a glass bottle plant in Ufa, the capital of Republic of Bashkortostan in central Russia. The company produces and supplies light weight disposable glass bottles to the alcoholic beverages and food industry. The facility has three furnaces with a combined glass melt capacity of 360,000mt a year.

Ruscam-Ufa is owned by Anadolu Cam, a division of Turkish Sissecam. In Russian Federation, the company operates under the brand name Ruscam.

"Using NNPB technology, bottles are made much lighter with at least 25% less glass in each container."

The Ufa glass plant is the third facility operated by Anadolu Cam in Russia, the other two being the Ruscam Gorokhovets plant in Vladimir and the Ruscam Pokrovsky plant in Volodga. Ruscam-Ufa commenced operations of its plant in November 2005 with a single furnace.

The second furnace came into production in 2006.

The total estimated cost of the two furnaces was $80m. It was set up with the assistance of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which offered a loan of $32.5m.

The third furnace was brought into production in mid-2007. It required an investment of $40m.

Packaging systems in the glass plant

The plant has 14 production lines and manufactures 1.2 billion glass bottles a year. It produces containers in several colours including flint, green and amber.

The sizes of the containers vary from 8cc to 8,000cc. Labelling is done by modern methods such as silk screen printing, PVC sleeving, heat transference, frosting and OPS wrapping. Screen printing comes in seven distinct colours.

Background to the Ruscam-Ufa project

Russia’s bottling industry was shifting to bottling alcohol in plastic and cartons instead of glass and metals. It was a convenient packaging solution that offered scope for original designs.

This trend resulted in a slump in the glass packaging industry and posed a threat to bottling plants. EBRD was trying hard to promote glass packaging in Russia and the Ufa plant was a part of this campaign.

Ruscam-Ufa aims to improve the quality of glass packaging solutions to food and beverage producers in central and eastern Russia. The bottling plant also widened the choice for Russian customers.

Narrow-neck press and blow (NNPB) technology

The Ufa bottling plant makes use of lightweight technology to produce glass bottle containers. This is an innovative technology implemented by Ruscam-Ufa to minimise the amount of glass used in the production of light-weight bottles and jars.

It uses best available technique (BAT) standards along with an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System for its operations. The plant employs blow-blow, press-blow and narrow-neck press and blow (NNPB) technologies.

The technology decreases the weight of glass and guarantees even distribution of glass in the process of bottle manufacturing. This makes the bottle stronger and helps further eliminate breakage on the filling lines.

NNPB technology makes use of a metal plunger that forms the internal cavity in the bottle during blank formation rather than an air bubble as in conventional methods. The gob enters the mould at a temperature of 1,200°C and then the mould closes and the plunger, driven by a pneumatic piston, pushes the molten glass all the way into the mould.

The plunger is then withdrawn and the mould automatically opens. The blank gets transferred to the later stage of production.

Using NNPB technology, bottles are made much lighter with at least 25% less glass in each container. This saves on the cost of materials. The glass containers are made with the least defects on internal surfaces and a lower reject rate.

Environmental considerations

The EBRD had taken care of the environmental concerns before pushing the project. Since the bottling plant is located 3km outside the town of Sashka and the nearest residential settlements are just 1km away from the plant, the bank carried out an environmental impact analysis. The report showed that the new plant would not lead to any health or environmental risk.

The project was so designed to reduce air emissions from raw material handling, the forming of the glass and emissions from the furnaces.

"Ruscam-Ufa is owned by Anadolu Cam, a division of Turkish Sissecam."

Water consumption and wastewater discharges are minimised with the help of a water circulation system. There is scope for hazardous waste management in accordance with principles of segregating and recycling.

Ruscam-Ufa has implemented ISO 14001 Environmental Management System for its operations to ensure the environmental regulations are adhered to. ISO 14001 also calls for preventing and minimising of impacts on employees and locals as well as the environment. For this, an environmental action plan has also been drafted.