"For 80 years, Solutia and its corporate predecessors have driven innovation in glass interlayers. As demand from our customers continues to grow, we are making significant investments in each world region to ensure capacity is in place to meet the demand," said Luc De Temmerman, president of Solutia's Performance Products Division. "This project is a key part of our growth strategy for the Saflex business, allowing us to continue our commitment of providing the highest degree of responsiveness, quality and innovation to our customers on every continent."
The new Ghent manufacturing line will produce 3.2-meter-wide rolls of Saflex PVB interlayers. These specific interlayers are used primarily to make laminated glass for the growing European architectural market. The new line also will provide Saflex with greater flexibility in how it operates its plants worldwide.
"The third Saflex manufacturing line at Ghent is an important step forward in our strategy to optimize our production on a global scale," said Dirk Duquet, vice president of manufacturing excellence for Saflex. "Along with our 2006 acquisition of the plant in Puebla, Mexico, and the new plant under construction in Suzhou, China, the expansion at Ghent will help us achieve the highest quality and lowest cost production for our customers in every world area."
The new manufacturing line is being constructed at the Saflex Ghent plant, leveraging existing infrastructure and the plant's 40-plus years of experience in manufacturing Saflex products. In addition, the new line will employ the latest technology, enabling the production process to be highly automated.
"Our customers recognize the Ghent plant as a trusted supplier of the world's premier PVB interlayers," added Duquet, "and this expansion will enable us to very efficiently take that tradition of quality to an even greater scale."
The Saflex Ghent plant employs 300 people and began operation in 1961. The plant maintains ISO 14001 registration for its environmental management systems, OSHAS 18001 registration for its occupational safety and health management systems, as well as several registrations for its quality management systems, including QS 9000, ISO 9001 and TS 16949.
Saflex manufactures PVB interlayers at Ghent, Belgium; Puebla, Mexico; San Jose Dos Campos, Brazil; Springfield, Mass., USA; and Trenton, Mich., USA. It also operates a PVB finishing and distribution center in Singapore. A new plant for Saflex PVB interlayers in Suzhou, China, will begin production later this year.