EU funds help: Glass trophies easier to produce thanks to EU funds (VIDEO)
20. 9. 2023
The Sklárna KRYF glassworks in the Jihlava district has employees passionate about their field. Their work can be described as a perfectly tuned orchestra which, even in the unbearable summer heat, can create admirable pieces in the even higher heat of the fiery glass furnace. Their difficult work is made easier by technology and equipment bought with a contribution from the European Union.
Červený Kříž u Jihlavy - The company Sklárna KRYF, s. r. o., in Červený Kříž u Jihlavy has resumed the tradition of glass production after the former company KRYF, s. r. o. The new company brought the former glassworks back to life in 2017.
"We went through a difficult period of Covid-19, then the price of gas, of which we burn hundreds of cubic meters a day, went up almost twenty times. On top of that came the rising price of raw materials. Although we had to get the company into a slight debt, we fortunately came out of everything successfully and without any problems," the director of the Sklárna KRYF glassworks, Mr Jiří Seborský, described what their new glass company had to go through some time ago.
THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT HAS ALSO IMPROVED
The production at the Sklárna KRYF glassworks is carried out by a team of about twenty-five people. Most of them are experienced, older-generation glassmakers, many of them have been with the company since the beginning. "We have virtually zero turnover, the work ethic is very high. The people who are here have taken the company for their own, so to speak. And this is reflected in the high quality of their work," the director is pleased. That is why he seeks to improve the working environment for the employees.
"We also get help from the European funds. We have received almost CZK one million from the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness and we have added our own resources. We were able to purchase a new filter for the furnace flue-gases, a preheating tunnel or a mechanism for blowpipe rotating," the co-owner of the glassworks listed the investments.
He said that they had previously used a European grant for the acquisition of cooling for glassmaker workplaces. "Our glassmakers also appreciate air-conditioning and often use it, as the thermal conditions that prevail at the furnace, especially on hot summer days, tend to be borderline," said the entrepreneur who studied glass production at the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague.
According to Jiří Seborský, final products make up only three percent of the glassworks production, most of the glass is sold to glass cutters who then refine and resell it. The hands of the skilled glassmakers create small glass products such as drinking glasses, various gift items, as well as designer glass lamps and large glass trophies or trophy cups. “Our advantage is that we make our own glassmaking moulds, which speeds up the production process. We are a small company, so we can respond flexibly to orders," says Seborský.
One of the glassmakers, Vladislav Bačkovský, boasted that his father was a glassmaker too. He himself has worked as a glassmaker for twenty years and says of his work: "What I enjoy about it is that it is creative. Flashed crystal is my passion." He also recalled one of the most challenging orders in which he was personally involved: "We were asked to make glass legs for a big table. It was a special order from Saudi Arabia. I was picking up about 20 kilos of glass. If you add the weight of the blowpipe, it's almost thirty kilos. It was pretty heavy and I had two other colleagues helping me with the handling," he described his experience, explaining that it is very demanding for a glassmaker to have to produce four or five such pieces a day, it is very physically exhausting. "Especially such heavier pieces of glass are now handled with the help of the rotating equipment that we have acquired thanks to a European grant," the company director pointed out.
YOUNG GLASSBLOWERS ARE HARD TO FIND
Unlike Vladislav, his colleague Jakub Matějíček said that glassmaking had no tradition in his family. "This is only my third or fourth year working here. I got trained in the glass craft because I liked it. Then I worked in other fields. I hadn't been a glassmaker for thirteen years, but now I've returned to it. Mr Seborský offered me the opportunity, so I took it," he confided, praising the work team, which he said is the company's greatest asset.
Jakub Matějíček is, according to his boss, an exception, as most apprenticeship leavers today run away to other fields. "There is no high-quality apprenticeship centre on the market. The former system of teaching included practice in production, but that is no longer the case," Jiří Seborský shows disapproval. "Most of our workers are at or approaching retirement age. The only solution is to train our glassblowers ourselves. The Czech education system is very inadequate in this respect," thinks the co-owner of the Sklárny KRYF glassworks.
Photo: Eva Bártíková