The North West of England MEP and European Liberal Democrat Group environmental spokesman visited the newly opened facility, as part of a visit to learn about the how the NSG Group – manufacturer of Pilkington glass in the UK – is pioneering evermore advanced methods of making energy saving glass.
The coater, located at the company’s Cowley Hill site in St Helens, is one of the most advanced facilities of its type in the world. It enables ultra-thin special coatings to be applied to glass, creating a range of high-performance energy-saving architectural glass products. Having commenced production in November 2012, a wide range of products can be manufactured for sale both in the UK and for export, including Pilkington K Glass™ S, the company's latest high performance, low-emissivity glass which offers excellent thermal insulation.
Construction of the facility required a £36million investment, allowing the creation of 50 new, full-time skilled jobs on site. This followed on from a £35million investment in an improved online coating capability at the company's Greengate site, also in St Helens and visited by the MEP.
The visit was arranged in conjunction with Glass for Europe, the European trade association for manufacturers of flat glass, of which NSG Group is an active member. It gave an opportunity to discuss the impact that EU policy and legislation is having on UK manufacturing operations and to stress the important role that a strong and technologically-advanced industrial base in Europe has to play in the growth of the green economy. In the European Parliament, Davies has taken a lead role in shaping Europe's plans for developing a competitive low carbon economy by 2050. He was keen to learn how the energy saving glass manufactured in St Helens can make a significant contribution to delivering a 'nearly-zero' energy building stock in the UK and throughout the rest of Europe.
Chris Davies commented: “Europe's future competitiveness depends upon its ability to develop and apply energy-efficient solutions. The investments that have been made in St Helens reinforce the town's historic reputation as a world centre of glass making. The Pilkington brand of high performance glazing manufactured in the North West of England can make a significant contribution to reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.”
Rick Wilberforce, EU Public Affairs consultant to the NSG Group who accompanied the MEP on the visit, explained: “The new coater is undoubtedly a significant investment, and is a statement of the company’s faith that future EU legislation and policy will result in a growing demand for energy-efficient buildings. Buildings use almost half of Europe’s energy, so the energy-efficient refurbishment of its building stock is essential to deliver the EU’s economic and environmental targets; investments such as the new coater demonstrate NSG’s commitment to help achieve these targets.
For more information, visit www.pilkington.co.uk