Structure of the glass and ceramic industry in the Czech Republic

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The structure of the glass and ceramic industry of the Czech Republic is described below according to the division of individual production branches, as it is used in the following parts of this Annual Report. Companies profiling the branch through their economic importance and prestige are given in individual groups. Further on, also basic information on Czech producers of machinery and equipment and on companies providing services for the glass and ceramic industry and suppliers of basic raw materials, is given.

Flat glass

AGC Flat Glass Czech, a.s.: the key player in the area of flat glass production and processing

The only producer of a large-dimension flat glass in the Czech Republic is AGC Flat Glass Czech, a.s., a member of the AGC Group with the seat in Teplice. This company is at present the greatest producer of flat glass and its applications in Central and Eastern Europe. The 100 % owner of the company is Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., Japan.

The activities of AGC Flat Glass Czech, a.s. include the production of basic flat float glass, clear or with defined green tint. It is finished by further transformation to the so-called low-emission glasses controlling the light and energy flow, safety (laminated or toughened) glass, sound insulating glass, matt or painted glasses for exterior and interior applications and mirrors. By further treatment double or triplex insulating glass, bent building glasses, furniture glass, glass for solar technique and fire resistant glass, are produced. Beside float glass, the company produces dozens of ornamental patterns of cast glass. The trade policy of the company is based on export to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The company production is applied also in world distribution channels of the AGC Group.

The activities of AGC Flat Glass Czech, a.s. are supported by distribution channels in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland created by subsidiary companies for distribution of glass for the architecture and building industry. Through them the company is a supplier of important volumes of unfinished flat glass to processing companies.

Great volumes of flat glass are processed in the Czech Republic in the automotive division represented by AGC Automotive Czech, a.s. Chudeřice u Bíliny. This company is a part of world and European distribution channels of production and trade activities of Automotive Glass Company, Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., Japan. The main goal and vision is to be the most respected world supplier of all safety glasses for the automotive industry. AGC Automotive Europe Ltd. has its production activities in Belgium, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Germany and Great Britain. It supplies more than 33 mill. windshields, rear windows, sidescreens and skylights made of safety automotive glass per year to all most significant automobile producers of the world.

In the Czech Republic there are many other companies processing flat glass for various specialized products. Saint-Gobain SKLO ČR, spol. s r.o. Praha - production of insulating glasses, treatment of glass for the building industry and interiors; Saint-Gobain Sekurit ČR, spol. s r.o. Hořovice - production of glass for private cars, Pilkington Czech, spol. s r.o. Noviny pod Ralskem - production of glass for the building industry, Amirro, s.r.o. Čelákovice - production of mirrors and furniture glass, ERTL GLAS, s.r.o. Říčany - production of single-sheet toughened safety glass, Izolas, spol. s r.o. Brno - production of glass for the building industry and mirrors, WMA-Glass, s.r.o. Chrastava - production of insulating glass, and VEHA, spol. s r.o. Frýdek-Místek - production of insulating glass.

Beside the above mentioned companies there are also many wholesale companies trading with products and services regarding finished flat glass.

Container glass

The production of container glass includes beverage bottles and preserve glass jars made for the food industry (beer, wine, liquors, non-alcoholic drinks, mineral waters, fruit, etc.), and further on, glass containers for products of the chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

Dominant producers of container glass in the Czech Republic are O-I Manufacturing Czech Republic, a.s. with trading company O-I Sales and Distribution Czech Republic, s.r.o. Dubí u Teplic, members of the transnational group of companies Owens-Illinois, USA, and VETROPACK MORAVIA GLASS, a.s. Kyjov, a member of the transnational group Vetropack Holding AG, Switzerland. Both these companies have about 90 % of a market share of container glass in the Czech Republic and they have also important export shares in neighbouring countries within their transnational ownership and trade bonds.

Further on, there are producers of container glass, e.g. Sklárny MORAVIA, a.s. Úsobrno and Stölzle UNION, s.r.o. Heřmanova Huť (the owner is Stölzle - Oberglas GmbH) in the Czech Republic.

Glass fibres and products made of

The only producer of glass textile fibres and products made of in the Czech Republic is Saint-Gobain Vertex, s.r.o. Litomyšl. The company is a part of the transnational production and distribution channels of the group of Saint-Gobain HPM – Textile Solution, a part of the Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, France. The predominant production share of Saint-Gobain Vertex, s.r.o. is exported in the framework of this group. The company is a producer of primary glass fibres and fibre products for composite materials, e.g. glass fibre yarns, glass fibre roving (long continuous filament) for chopping, cutting, weaving and winding, drawn glass fibre reinforced profile, chopped glass fibre strands, and chopped strand mats. A number of various types of reinforcing glass fibres and fibres for technical applications, net-like fabrics, wall covering materials, non-woven textile band "fleece", etc. is produced further on.

The composite materials made of glass fibres are demanded, especially by producers of transport means and building and machinery constructions for its construction and physical properties (mechanical, resistance, electrical, etc.), through which they exceed the properties of traditional metal, wood or building materials and at the same time at lower consumers´ costs. Especially, the use of net-like fabrics increases, mainly in warming up systems of buildings.

The only Czech producer of thermal and sound insulation made of glass fibres in the form of mats and slabs (ROTAFLEX SUPER® trade mark) is Union Lesní Brána, a.s. Dubí u Teplic.

Insulation material based on glass wool in the form of slabs and rolls is produced by KNAUF INSULATION, spol. s r.o. Krupka u Teplic.

Other glass

Products included into this group of the glass industry are often (especially in abroad) called special glasses. It is a wide range of glass products with specifically defined properties having their customers mostly in other processing branches of industrial market. The assortment of this group in the Czech Republic is very wide. It includes technical, laboratory and laboratory apparatus glass, technical spheres, glass industrial apparatuses, protective welding glass, optical glass. Also the production of glass blocks, fashion jewellery semiproducts and lighting glass are included.

A dominant Czech producer of technical and laboratory glass, tubing and apparatus glass made of borosilicate glass is KavalierGlass, a.s. Sázava. Technical and laboratory glass is also produced by Technosklo, s.r.o. Držkov, EXATHERM, s.r.o. Železný Brod (glass thermometers and densimeters), Vitrum, spol. s r.o. - Sklárna Janov, and other smaller companies.

From the producers of optical glass can be stated EcoGlass, s.r.o. Jablonec nad Nisou, the producer of exactly pressed components of optical glass for electro-optical apparatuses and BOHEMIA OPTIK, s.r.o. Mařenice u České Lípy, the producer of optical components and systems.

Vitrablok, k.s. Duchcov is the producer of glass blocks for the building industry.

Production of fashion jewellery semiproducts is a subject of activities of many companies mostly in the north part of the Czech Republic in Jablonec region (Preciosa, a.s., Liglass, a.s., PAS Jablonec, a.s.). Trade activities of the fashion jewellery group are unambiguously export oriented.

Lighting glass is produced by Sklárny Janštejn, s.r.o. and it is a supplementary assortment of several smaller producers of utility and technical glass. A number of companies are engaged in the production of components for chandeliers and also in individual production of chandeliers, the most significant are, e.g. Preciosa, a.s., Liglass, a.s.

Utility glass

In 2008 important changes in the structure of utility glass producers occurred. The company Bohemia Crystalex Trading, a.s. Liberec crashed. This company associated the most significant Czech producers of utility glass, e.g. Crystalex, a.s. Nový Bor (tableware and decorated glass), Sklo BOHEMIA, a.s. Světlá nad Sázavou (soda potassium glass and lead crystal), Sklárny BOHEMIA, a.s. Poděbrady (lead crystal) and Sklárny Kavalier, a.s. Sázava (borosilicate household cooking glass). Crystalex, a.s. Nový Bor, Sklo BOHEMIA, a.s. Světlá nad Sázavou, and Sklárny BOHEMIA, a.s. Poděbrady were closed down.

In 2009 new owners bought glassworks of the crashed company Bohemia Crystalex Trading, a.s. and they renewed the production, even though in smaller extent. With the change of owners also the names of companies changed to Crystalex CZ, s.r.o., Crystalite BOHEMIA, s.r.o., Crystal Bohemia, a.s. and KavalierGlass, a.s.

In the Czech Republic, several smaller companies with various assortments still exist, e.g. art glass, cut lead crystal, utility glass decorated with painting, pen-and-ink drawing, staining, high enamel and engraving, hand made utility glass, historical replicas, off-hand glass, etc. For example: AJETO, s.r.o. Lindava, Rückl CRYSTAL, a.s. Nižbor, Blažek Glass, s.r.o., CAESAR CRYSTAL BOHEMIAE, a.s. Světlá nad Sázavou, SKLÁRNA SLAVIA, s.r.o. Nový Bor, Královská Huť, s.r.o. Doksy, EGERMANN, s.r.o. Nový Bor, and a number of other companies.

Luxury hand made utility glass is produced by Moser, a.s. Karlovy Vary.

The pressed-and-blown decorated drinking glass is produced by Sklárna Heřmanova Huť, a.s, which is controlled by Sahm CZ.

Household china and ceramics

The assortment of household china includes products intended for daily use to luxury products, e.g. luxury household china, household and decorative china, e.g. rose, onion pattern, and figural china.

A similar situation like in the structure of utility glass production occurred at the household china producers. The group Porcela Plus, a.s. owing Karlovarský porcelán, a.s. and Concordia, a.s. Lesov crashed and companies in its ownership announced an insolvent proceeding. Companies were not closed, however, their production continued. A part of former plants gained a new owner and so Thun 1794, a.s. appeared.

Among significant china producers belong G‑Benedikt, s.r.o. Karlovy Vary, Český porcelán, a.s. Dubí u Teplic, Haas & Czjzek, s.r.o. Horní Slavkov, Leander Porcelán Loučky, s.r.o. Nové Sedlo, and Starorolský porcelán Moritz Zdekauer, a.s. Karlovy Vary - Stará Role.

A great number of smaller specialized companies produce household ceramics. The greatest ones are, Keramo Kožlany, v.d., JIHOTVAR, v.d. Veselí nad Lužnicí, and Keramika Krumvíř, spol. s r.o.

Technical ceramics and sanitary ware

There are two dominant Czech producers of sanitary ware – LAUFEN CZ, s.r.o. (with producing facilities in Bechyně and Znojmo), a member of the Roca and Ideal Standard, s.r.o. Teplice. Both companies are strongly oriented to export and their market success is dependent in a great extent on the building industry boom in Europe.

The producers of technical china are Elektroporcelán, a.s. Louny with its assortment of insulators for the energy industry and Jizerská porcelánka, s.r.o. Desná v Jizerských horách producing also laboratory chinaware and china tubing.

From the producers of technical ceramics can be stated Technická Keramika, a.s. Hradec Králové producing technical oxide ceramics for the electrotechnical industry, machinery and chemical industry, etc., KERAMTECH, spol. s r.o. Žacléř producing a foundry ceramics and technical china, and BRISK TÁBOR, a.s. producing spark and glow plugs for internal combustion engines and technical ceramics.

Aluminosilicate fibres resistant to high temperatures and insulating fibre products (wool, mats, shaped pieces, slabs) with Sibral trade mark used mainly in the construction of heat appliances, are produced by UNIFRAX, s.r.o. Dubí u Teplic.

Fused basalt products (abrasion resistant and refractory materials with EUROR trade mark), abrasion resistant piping, and tiles for industry and interiors are produced by EUTIT, s.r.o. This company is the only world producer of interior floor basalt tiles.

Furnaces/kilns, glass machinery and equipment, and special services
for glass and ceramic industry

Nowadays, about forty or fifty independent companies produce and deliver glass furnaces, kilns, machinery and equipment, glass moulds and apparatuses for the glass and ceramic production, or carry out service, design and various specialized and consultancy work for this industry. These companies are of a different size and they have, of course, various ranges of their activities.

Among the companies with individual production and trade activities exceeding significantly the territory of the Czech Republic belong some producers of machinery and equipment, e.g. Sklostroj Turnov CZ, s.r.o. producing machines and equipment for automatic production of container glass. Machinery for the processing of flat glass is produced mainly by SKLOPAN LIBEREC, a.s. The company Sklářské stroje Znojmo, s.r.o. delivers various glass machinery equipments. Machinery and equipment for the production and processing of glass fibres is produced by Trima, s.r.o. Turnov.

Heat appliances and kilns for china and ceramics firing, as a complex and in greater amount, are designed and delivered by Realistic, a.s. Karlovy Vary, BVD PECE, s.r.o. Karlovy Vary, and LAC, s.r.o. Rajhrad. The company Elsklo, s.r.o. Desná v Jizerských horách designs and delivers equipment for small-scale electric melting of glass. Glass melting aggregates are designed and delivered by Teplotechna Prima, s.r.o. Teplice and PKI Sklopece Olomouc, s.r.o.

Companies Glass Service, s.r.o. Vsetín and Dites, s.r.o. Teplice have important activities in abroad in the area of design and control systems for glass melting aggregates and automatized systems of technological processes control, respectively. Gas-fired melting furnaces and auxiliary furnaces for hand production of glass are produced by EGT servis, s.r.o. Hradec Králové.

Producers and suppliers of cast iron and steel moulds for utility and lighting glass - Brnoform, s.r.o. Brno, and for container glass Skloform, a.s. Suchdol nad Lužnicí - work predominantly on the level of services and deliveries for Czech producers. Further on, Desko, a.s. Desná v Jizerských horách delivers machinery and moulds for fashion jewellery production. Other producers of machinery for the production of glass are, e.g. FOR G, s.r.o. Teplice, and Bohemia Machine, s.r.o. Světlá nad Sázavou.

Quite a great group of companies and also a number of independent individuals are dealing with design of procedures and construction of machinery for mechanical working of glass (engraving, cutting, polishing), e.g. Dias Turnov, s.r.o. and Polpur, s.r.o. Turnov.

Raw materials for the glass and ceramic industry

A long tradition and the development of glass, china and ceramic production were determined, beside other factors, by an abundance of basic raw materials, i.e. sand, kaolin, feldspar and quartz.
High quality glass sands with extremely high content of SiO2 are outstanding for the glass industry and also for various utilizations in other branches. Sands are delivered in a moistened or dried form. In the Czech Republic, companies Provodínské písky, a.s. Provodín and Sklopísek Střeleč, a.s. Mladějov v Čechách mine and deliver these sands.

Mining and processing of kaolin is carried out by LB MINERALS, s.r.o., Sedlecký kaolin, a.s. Božičany and Kaolin Hlubany, a.s. Podbořany. LB Minerals, s.r.o. is a supplier of ceramic kaolins intended for wall and floor tiles and sanitary ware, mixed kaolins for sanitary ware, paper mills kaolins and kaolins for glass fibres. Floated kaolin delivered by Sedlecký kaolin, a.s. is used, especially for china and ceramics. Kaolin Hlubany, a.s. delivers floated kaolins for ceramics.

Beside mining and processing of kaolins also mining and processing of feldspar is a part of the production of the LB Minerals, s.r.o. Potassium feldspars are suitable for the production of container and flat glass, glazes and china; soda-lime feldspars are suitable for the production of frits and enamels. Soda-potassium feldspars are applied as flux.


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