Glass production

Glass production since the Stone Age

Glass is one of the oldest materials ever and has a 9000 year old history. It is unknown when glass production started exactly for the very first time. The oldest findings of glass production date back to the Stone Age. Today you possibly couldn't imagine your daily life without glass.

Did you ever guess that WECK produced its glass in a factory in Bonn, the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany? After the loss of three glass factories in Eastern Germany the WECK distribution centre in the Rhineland was moved to Bonn-Duisdorf and converted to a glass factory. Since 1950 container glasses for industrial use and preserving glasses for private households were produced there. The daily production counted about one million pieces – jam, honey, pickles and fruit jars, 365 days per year in a four-shift operation as glass melters can't be turned off easily.

Glass production based on regional resources

Glass is produced from natural, inorganic resources whose availability is unlimited in nature. Moreover all the materials needed for the glass production in the WECK factory are of regional origin. Quartz sand which is 70% of the needed resources is made in Frechen, a city west of Cologne. Chalk (10%) is made in the close Eifel region and soda (13%) comes from the Ruhr area.

So regional origin and short ways are important for glass producing. Moreover glass is 100% recyclable. Each barrel of old recycled glass saves energy, CO2 and resources.

How to produce a tulip jar

The exact ingredients, together and fine shredded pieces of broken glass go to a glass melting tank that is heated up at 1200°C. At this temperature the ingredients melt and form molten glass. Now the temperature rises up to 1400 to 1600°C.

From the glass melting tank the liquid glass is transported to a so-called feeder. In this machine single glass drops are exactly detached and fall into the moulding machine. The little tulip jar is right now red-hot and its tempaterure is about 500 to 550°C. The jars are placed on an automatic conveyor belt in the direction of a lehr which cools down the jars every 30 to 100 minutes to 110°C. The duration of the cooling process depends on size and wall thickness.

This time-consuming process is very important for the stability of the jar as it helps to avoid residual voltage lays on the glass which could lead to glass brakes. The little tulip jar is now on its way to the quality check. Are there any streaks, little bubbles or inclusions? Can the glass resist a special pressure? Even if there are only small defects the jars are automatically sorted out to a pile of shredded glass pieces and they will be melted down. Thus the jars get a second chance. The permanent controls throughout the whole process guarantees a perfect quality of the jars.