On Sunday, March 26, 2023, an interior wall in the glass furnace collapsed at the SFS Paraćin glass factory, which is why the furnace is currently going through a controlled emptying process. In the incident, there were no injuries to the employees at the factory, nor was there any glass melt spillage. It is a furnace that was worn out and for which the new owner of the factory and the management actively worked in recent months to extend its life with appropriate maintenance works and investments. The company’s investment plans are progressing smoothly, including the construction of a replacement furnace, which is already underway and should start operating at the beginning of next year. In the meantime, the company will take the necessary measures to ensure stable operations, including reducing the number of employees through redeployments and early retirement.
In recent months, the company has invested a lot of resources to temporarily restore the furnace, built in 2014, but unfortunately, wear and tear has taken its toll and the furnace is unusable until further notice. This also means an outage of a large part of the production, as the company will operate with around 30% production capacity with a smaller furnace in the coming months. All procedures for the construction of a new replacement furnace began months ago and are continuing smoothly. The management of the company will make every effort to ensure that this furnace is delivered on time and that production at the site will increase again.
To ensure stable operations in the interim period until the construction of the new furnace, the company will be forced to take the most necessary personnel measures, which will include redeployments and early retirement. In the period until the resumption of full production in approximately one year, the company will be able to maintain roughly a little more than half of today’s jobs, namely through work on the existing smaller furnace and the necessary parts for overhaul and maintenance. In the meantime, approximately 50 workers will also receive professional training and education at Steklarna Hrastnik in Slovenia, where they will learn about all the necessary work processes from various work areas, all to ensure that the start-up of the new kiln in 2024 goes smoothly.
Simultaneously with the start-up of the new furnace at the beginning of 2024, the planned investment in the new B furnace will continue smoothly, which from 2025, together with the existing capacities, will enable around 450 jobs and an additional 500 tons of annual production. All employees have already been informed about the event and the planned measures. In the meantime, the company will offer all available help and support to the most affected groups of employees to preserve as many jobs as possible and bridge the period of reduced needs in production.