Russia: German suppliers encouraged by Mir Stekla

A very active construction market, investments in the automobile industry as well as higher consumption of beer seem to be stimulating demand for glass in Russia. German engineering companies are curr…

A very active construction market, investments in the automobile industry as well as higher consumption of beer seem to be stimulating demand for glass in Russia. German engineering companies are currently profiting from these rising tendencies, as most of the 39 exhibitors of the official German Pavilion, a joint booth, at the recent edition of Mir Stekla reported. According to Susanne Schartz-Laux, official representative of the German joint booth at Mir Stekla and head of the VDMA Forum for Glass Technology, the demand for modern window systems in Russia is currently very high. Experts in Russia estimate demand for windows at 24 million units a year until 2010, due to considerable construction and restoration activity in Moscow and other large cities. Demand for auto glass is constantly rising as well, according to Ms. Schartz-Laux, as international auto firms such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota or Nissan seek locations in Russia. Volkswagen has already decided to build an assembly plant in Kaluga, and General Motors is negotiating the construction of a car production plant in St. Petersburg. Russian glass manufacturers would appear to be upgrading to cater for the requirements of the auto industry: at Mir Stekla, German suppliers reported increasing interest in high-technology machinery used to produce top-quality glass. German glass machinery technology already sells very well in Russia. Near Moscow, Zippe Industrieanlagen GmbH is building a plant which will be used by Pilkington, while Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH has delivered a cold-end plant to Salavatsteklo, another flat glass producer. Grenzebach supplies clients on the Russian market, as does Isra Vision, a manufacturer of optical glass inspection equipment. Other German machinery manufacturers, such as JSJ Jodeit, Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich and Glamaco Maschinenfabrik, are involved in a project on cellular glass near Moscow. The technology requested by clients ranges from granulating recovered glass and the latest blending technology, to so-called “baking“ of glass “loaves“, which are then sliced and used as insulating material. In the field of container glass, interest and demand on the Russian market is also growing, German exhibitors at Mir Stekla said. In particular, demand for beer bottles is very high: market experts expect an annual increase of about 6% as younger Russians shift from vodka to beer. Producers of equipment for optical glass inspection also report increasing interest in their products. German companies are of the opinion that the more Russian companies focus on quality glass, the better the prospects for German suppliers of this high technology.