Glaston Inaugurates New Factory in Tianjin


Mike Seitovirta, president and CEO of Glaston Group, left, officiated at the official ribbon cutting ceremony along with local and industry dignitaries, as well as Finland's ambassador to China.

Glaston Corp. officially inaugurated its 13,000-square-meter production plant in Tianjin, China on Friday, May 18. More than 300 people, including local dignitaries and Finland's ambassador to China, attended the ceremonies. The company had chartered two flights from Shanghai to bring current and potential customers to the facility for the opening.

Petri Makinen, managing director of the plant, said that the particular day was a lucky one in Chinese culture. "It is a day that is connected with prosperity and a lot of people get married on this day," he said.

The Finnish company (known as Kyro Corp. until the official name change on June 1 and the parent of known-name companies Tamglass and Bavelloni) used China Glass as occasion to hold the ceremony. The plant opened last summer and is already operating at full speed.

Mika Seitovirta, the Tampere-based company's new president, said the facility is the first Glaston plant to offer both equipment and tools, which combines the offerings of Tamglass and Bavelloni. This is a major part of the company's One-Stop-Partner philosophy.

As part of the program, the 300 attendees toured the facility and got information about the machinery being produced there.

"The Tianjin facility houses the production of pre-processing and safety glass machines and lines as well as Bavelloni Tools' operations for the growing Chinese market," Seitovirta said.

"Being close to clients and offering shorter delivery times for both machinery, tools and spare parts is appreciated by our Chinese customers," Makinen said.

Tamglass, which has been supplying the Chinese market since the 1980s, has more than 300 lines operating in the country.

In a press conference on Thursday, the day before the inauguration, Seitovirta pointed out that Glaston's sales are primarily in Europe but 29 percent is in the Americas and 15 percent is in the Asian Pacific area. "Asia has the biggest growth potential for us," he said. This, he said was because of its active construction market and the growth of low-E glass. "Energy is driving developments in this market," he said.

Seitovirta also reported that for the first quarter the company's gross sales were up 26 percent over the same period the previous year (to 42.5 million euros). "Business is good everywhere except in North America where housing is lagging," he said.

Glaston has also reorganized its structure and Jack van Meerbeeck is now head of North American sales and service and Raimo Nieminen holds the same position for South America.