Vitro Glass, a hot process on a cold day

Tyler Chevier (Student):

Our tour of Vitro slowly began with more security than I’d ever encountered in my small-town upbringings, but quickly progressed to an entrance into a retired kiln. As we entered, wet and cold, we learned of the 100-plus year old processes to making glass.  Surrounded by old massive industrial equipment we made our way into a retired furnace, now a conference room, and tried to draw pictures of fire spewing from the walls as the tour guide further explained the process.  Through the use of some “educational” videos and PowerPoints a lovely Vitro rep strongly pushed Vitro’s values of social and environmental etiquette.

After enjoying a fresh Coke out of an on-site made Vitro bottle, the production tour finally began. We walked passed large fires and hard workers witnessing the melting of glass and maintenance of equipment. Workers quickly dodged plunging molten glass to lubricate and maintain the glass molds before another glowing plunger rammed down and formed another bottle. Thousands of bottles were then tempered, sanitized, and then printed.  Catching bits of the guide’s explanation of the printing process through the earplugs, I gathered that there were two types of printing. One type was an actual print where ink was layered on in different colors, and the other was more of a physical label. More differences and characteristics definitely existed, but their explanation was lost in the noise of production.

The tour ended with a visit to a small glass museum which contained hundreds of pieces of, you guessed it, glass! Glass, glass and more glass. We learned about some history and watched a detailed video of artisan hand blown and formed glass. The upstairs was full of art, some easily recognizable and some, like a fully human breasted bird sculpture, not so easily recognized.

Closing with goodbyes and straight departure to another factory, the Vitro crew was overly generous by welcoming us into their factory and taking the time to teach us about their craft. I felt highly fortunate for the knowledge we gained, yet more fortunate that I don’t have to make glass bottles for the rest of my life.

vitro coke


  1. CU blog

    This visit was a lot of fun, the molten glass being made into bottles was a really cool sight to see. It was also neat to learn that a lot of the bottles made in North America were made by that plant and we could test this by finding the V that was in the glass. The label making process was interesting to see as well and I thought it was strange that sometimes they still paint on bottle labels today. This company is really trying hard to change the culture of Mexico by trying to get many people to recycle their glass bottles. This is a lot harder without the deposit that we pay in the US and I think it is cool that they are trying to improve the environment without any pressure from someone else, they just want to make the world a better place. It is good to see companies doing the right thing on their own.
    Jordan Wyble

  2. CU blog

    I enjoyed this trip, as it was our first, but seeing the process was the most eventful part of the day. The presentation, in my opinion, was lackluster. The plant however made up for the lack of proper presentation. Valeria Zhukova

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  4. Jake

    The vitro plant, although cold and damp that day due to the unwelcoming weather was a great time. I enjoyed, as Kavi mentioned, the sight of watching melting glass shoot through the tracks to their rightful place where they were then molded quickly into glass bottles. They used 2 different types of labels on their Coca-Cola bottles. Some were painted on, while others were the paper label we are used to in the states. Their lack of accidents in the plant for long periods of times was well backed up with their necessity of training for each employee of atleast 3 hours a day. Very interesting plant.

  5. Kavian Kavianpour

    Vitro was exciting because it was our first visit. I thought the presentation could have been done better considering the status of the company.. I enjoy watching the molten glass being chopped and shot into mold like hot wheels on a track. The machine that was broken was cool to see because it had been taken apart and you could see all the machinery. The fact that they required a minimum of 3 hours of training per week was shown during the tour. I say this because a few times you could see the workers taking the machines apart and manually fixing them.

  6. Thomas

    I really enjoyed seeing the Vitro plant. The industrialized process of making glass has always been interesting to me. I wonder what it would take to implement at six sigma standard in a glass plant,- Thomas

  7. CU blog

    Vitro is an amazing place….as we walked thru the plant, glass is melting (@1500 degrees C) and being formed into bottles to the left and to the right. Tyler pointed out we could not hear everything but our guide made a special point to proceed down the line; re-explaining and pointing out different parts of the process, we still could not hear all of it but I appreciated his passion, his knowledge and his patience. Very little waste as they will remelt any defective glass pieces and move forward. Charlene Marisol

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