The expansion will add a third production line for coated glass fiber mat and employ approximately 25 people.
Scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2006, the new line will produce a new Owens Corning glass mat facing for G-P Gypsum's next generation of DensArmor(TM) Plus, a paperless interior wallboard product introduced at the International Builder's Show in January, that is already redefining wallboard. DensArmor Plus panels feature a glass mat facing that finishes like paper-faced wallboard, resulting in the first completely paperless interior wallboard that offers moisture and mold resistance and finishes easily.
The Aiken facility expansion will include the new veil coating production line, modifications to the existing warehouse, and two new buildings including an on-site coating "kitchen" and a new office complex.
"The expansion of the mat facility in Aiken is a testament to Owens Corning's continuing effort to develop innovative solutions that meet the demands of our key customers such as Georgia-Pacific," said Boudewijn Morelissen, general manager, OC(TM) Veil Technologies, North America, explaining that Owens Corning worked in partnership with Georgia-Pacific on this project.
"We're excited to be working with the citizens of Aiken to continue to expand this facility and add to the economic strength of the county and the state, which is already the home of 16 Owens Corning facilities, more than 1,000 employees, and more than 1,300 retirees," said George Kapitan, plant manager of the Aiken plant.
To develop the new glass fiber mat required for the innovative Georgia- Pacific product, Owens Corning worked closely with the G-P Gypsum's technical staff. The result is a coated glass-veil facing that finishes like paper facings traditionally used in gypsum wallboard with several important benefits, including:
-- Improved mold and moisture resistance
-- Improved fire resistance
-- Improved product stability
-- Reduced system cost in building construction
-- Ease of finishing
"As a global leader in the growing fiberglass composites market, Owens Corning is listening to builders and working with building material manufacturers to develop better-performing, cost-effective and more-durable products for the home building industry," said Morelissen.
The new coating process will help Owens Corning continue to solidify its leadership in the growing composites market. Demand for composites, and glass fibers in particular, is growing globally and in the United States, the Veil Technologies business alone growing double digit every year, making it one of the fastest growing businesses in Owens Corning. The growth of composites in the U.S. construction market is expected to exceed 5 percent through 2006. Total glass consumption in North America in 2004 exceeded 1 million tons, with the construction sector making up more than 50 percent of that volume.
The Owens Corning mat facility in Aiken currently employs about 100 employees producing veil and roofing mat. The plant started production in 1978 and was expanded with the addition of a second line in 1981. The company invested $3.2 million to upgrade the facility in 2003. Also that year, Lloyds Register Quality Assurance Ltd. recommended the plant for certification in ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:1996 and OHSAS 18001:1999 -- the agency's first triple- certification for quality, environmental and health and safety in North America.
Owens Corning traces its roots in the Aiken community to 1960 when the company built the glass fiber yarn and reinforcement facility now owned by AGY. That facility was spun off as a separate business in 1998.