casting out - a flick of the hand that sends the culprit ignominiously tumbling down a bottomless chute - any bottle that fails to meet requirements. Is it imagination, or are the standards of his unblinking eye even more exacting than those of the machine? How long does it take, one wonders, to acquire this seemingly superhuman perception that never misses the slightest blemish in bottles that to the untrained eye are quite indistinguishable from the rest? From that point on, away from the heat of the furnaces and the impersonal robot-like movements of the dropping and forming machinery, the production process sheds much of its awesome quality. The long, apparently nonstop lines evoke memories of Den Bosch or Zoeterwoude. The resemblance is strengthened by the sight of a host of characteristic Heineken green bottles - in this case the EB8 type produced exclusively for the US. Steadily they wind their way on the first stage of a journey that is going to take them thousands of miles by land and sea before they are opened by a bartender in another country to delight first the eye and then the palate of a thirsty customer. It is at this point that a slight dryness in the throat - nothing emotional, just a nostalgic reaction of the taste-buds - reminds one of the phase that sub consciously one misses here, the filling and capping process of the Heineken breweries! Pride in quality! EB8 is in fact not the only Heineken bottle produced at Gerresheim; at other times one might see long lines of 33 cl green bottles or of the 30 cl brown variety for the Dutch market. And all - all that reach the customer at least - are of a quality of which Gerresheimer executives are justly proud, a standard which is the ultimate possible to recall all these various phases as part of an orderly sequence, but one which transcends the neat graphics of the printed page to form a phantasmic experience in which the dominant im pressions are unrelenting speed, control led heat of almost unimaginable intensity, unerring precision and a mind-bending volume and variety of units. The images that persist are of a furnace glowing with heat so great that the eye can view the interior only through a specially darkened glass; viewed on a closed circuit TV monitor screen in the control room the flames are seen sweeping across the chamber first from one side, then the other; a mix of materials moves slowly on its way to the furnace, then emerges like molten lava to be led to the drop moulds; twin globules of brightly glowing mixture fall to the blowing apparatus of each machine, where they are seized by metal clamps, blown, moulded, their necks stamped, seized again and transferred to the conveyor belt to be taken to the cooling oven; on the neighbouring line of machines, globules of a different size fall at a slightly slower pace to be blown and moulded into bottles of a different shape, and on the next line the molten glass falls at yet another tempo and is swiftly trans formed into yet another shapethen the long lines of cooled bottles move with a docile dignity to the quality control area where they circle briefly for inspection while apathetic metal arms strike unerringly to reject any bottle found wanting in accuracy of dimensions or having the slightest imperfection of shape or texture. Superhuman perception Surrounded on all sides by such an uncanny degree of automation it is almost a relief to see a man, substituting for an inspection machine temporarily out of service, intently watching the moving line and 9

Jaarverslagen en Personeelsbladen Heineken

Heineken Contact | 1980 | | pagina 9