60 years of glassmaking in Galicia
On 15 March, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, president of the government of Galicia, and Francisco Conde, regional minister of Economic Affairs, Employment and Industry, were present at the launch of the 60th anniversary of Pontevedresa Group. This is a historic moment for the group now firmly established as the oldest multisectoral manufacturer in Spain and as a manufacturer of high technological value, with 17% average direct exports, 50% passive exports and a continuing investment in innovation of above 8% of overall sales.
At 90 years of age, founder Francisco Barbeito Castro explained that “at Pontevedresa, we never sought to be the biggest, but to pay attention to detail with each and every one of our customers. Perhaps that’s why we have been around the longest”. According to Barbeito, he and his team are extremely grateful “to everyone who has believed in us since 1958 and to all those who continue to do so”. For this reason, during the various acts that will make up this 60th anniversary celebration throughout 2019, Pontevedresa Group will focus on acknowledging the endeavours and years of trust of their regional industrial clients, and architects and design professionals in Galicia and in the rest of Spain, without whose support this industrial project would never have been possible.
From the last to the next 60 years
“A whole lifetime bringing glass to people” is the slogan for Pontevedresa Group’s 60th anniversary, a reflection of the firm’s original and ongoing vocation in the different industrial and architectural sectors where it operates. For the next 60 years, the group will seek to expand this vision, by growing the number of applications with new glass materials aimed at redefining modern living through the fusion of technology and design.
Investment in new technologies and innovation
The group is currently consolidating an investment of 12 million euros, which place it at the cutting edge of technical glass processing in the European market, making it practically the only manufacturer of 3mm-thick, ultralight tempered (flat and curved) glass.
A recent investment of over one million euros resulted in the landmark incorporation in late 2018 of the most advanced line of digital printing on glass. This one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art equipment integrates the largest printing unit in Europe, with a capacity for ultra-high resolution printing for such challenging sectors as the automotive industry and bespoke architecture.
This project not only reasserts Pontevedresa Group’s position as a leading manufacturer in the global glass industry, it is also the driving force behind a great many subsidiary companies in the region. Though seemingly paradoxical, the components that make up this new automatic printing line were manufactured in Galicia—technology 100% Made in Galicia. Consequently, the public resources of the regional government of Galicia (Igape) and the European Union involved in this project have a direct return at every level of the region’s production chain, resulting in a multiplying effect on the generation of industrial wealth.
Pontevedresa Group is equipped with a semi-autonomous solar-powered plant.
In 2015, the group installed a photovoltaic plant on the roof of its main manufacturing centre, establishing itself as the first company in the sector to introduce this sustainable system.
A closed circuit and state-of-the-art water treatment systems ensure that all water is reused. Every year, more than 11 million litres of water are treated and reused in the production processes. The result is a saving in water resources equivalent to the supply needs of a city of over 116,000 inhabitants.
Production processes integrate increasingly energy-efficient technologies, which have led to a 20% reduction in energy consumption in recent years.
New materials and bespoke architecture
Some of Pontevedresa Group’s most outstanding projects include iconic constructions in France, the cradle of the European glass industry. The Musée d’Art de Nantes, the new terminal of the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Publicis Groupe headquarters showcase glass and glass innovations manufactured by the Galician firm.
Pontevedresa Group’s 74-member team includes some of the most experienced technicians in the national glassmaking market. They continue to experiment with new glass materials, while preserving natural elements, aesthetic integrity, and high-performance mechanical and technological features, producing over 108 new SVS products each year at the Ceptual Glass Experimentation Centre. Ceptual® RockSkin, a composite of translucent natural stone used at the Musée d’Art de Nantes, is the flagship product of this category.
The latest product launches include new glass derivatives with semi-conductor features and the application of carbon fibre to glass surfaces. Many of these materials-of-the-future were shown to the president of the government of Galicia at the innovation centre of Ceptual, Pontevedresa Group’s brand of new glass materials.