Glass-maker embarks on R1bn expansion

Local glass manufacturer PFG Building Glass yesterday celebrated an official groundbreaking ceremony for its capacity-expansion programme, which will see the construction of a second float-glass production line on site at its PFG Building Glass factory, in Springs, on the East Rand, as well as complete upgrades of the existing float line in Springs and PG's automotive-glass plants in Port Elizabeth and Garankuwa.The expansion project, altogether valued at some R1-billion, is expected to more than double production at the Springs factory.A PG spokesperson yesterday said that the Springs expansion and upgrade had received the final go-ahead following the completion of the environmental-impact assessment.The existing plant, which currently produces some 140 000 t/y of flat glass, will be able to double its production, but at lower costs, because the new line will make use of existing infrastructure and resources.Construction is expected to begin in October, and commissioning of the new line is scheduled for early 2007.

PFG Building Glass MD Bob Thompson told Engineering News Online earlier this year that the R1-billion investment, which is to be financed through a loan, is broken down into: R15-million for the automotive plants, R300-million for the repair of the existing float line and the balance for the construction of the new production line.

The existing float line, which has run continuously for 12 years, since its initial commissioning, will close for about three months, during which a complete upgrade will take place.

The local flat-glass industry is currently running at capacity, with PFG Building Glass and other local suppliers importing a significant amount to satisfy domestic demand, Thompson said.

The firm supplies some 70% of production to the building industry and the remainder to the automotive industry.

With the local construction industry booming and the effects of the government's motor-industry development programme set to come into effect within the next few years, local flat-glass demand is expected to remain on the increase.

As a result, and given the long lead-time of the expansion project, a decision was taken to increase capacity as soon as possible.

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600450 Glass-maker embarks on R1bn expansion
Date: 8 September 2005

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