This start-up marks a significant milestone for the business, which has been focusing on improved regional capability and service levels over the past several years. Solutia will host a Grand Opening celebration for customers at the Ghent plant on Saturday, October 25.
As a result of this expansion, the Saflex Ghent plant is the world's largest PVB sheet extrusion facility. The additional 40 million square meter capacity gained from the completed expansion continues to position Saflex as a key supplier to architectural glass laminators in Europe. The new line also will provide the Saflex business with greater flexibility in how it operates its plants worldwide. In addition, the Ghent facility is the only producer of the new Saflex Magnum(TM) roll -- which can measure 3.2 or 3.3 meters wide by 800 meters in length, driving a new industry standard. The new size will increase yields and drive performance improvements for European customers.
"We continue to invest across our Saflex business in order to meet the growing demands of our customers worldwide," said Luc De Temmerman, president of Solutia's Saflex unit. "This project is a key part of our global growth strategy for the Saflex business. By opening our third manufacturing line at Ghent, we are taking a key step forward in our strategy to optimize our production on a global scale in order to provide the highest degree of skill, scale and speed to our customers."
The new manufacturing line was designed within the current boundaries of 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 employs the latest technology, enabling the production process to be highly automated.
"Our customers recognize the Ghent plant as a proven supplier of the world's premier PVB interlayers," said Dirk Duquet, vice president of manufacturing for the Saflex business, "and this expansion will enable us to very efficiently take that tradition of quality to an even greater scale."
Saflex is also in the process of adding 12,000 metric tons of PVB resin capacity at its Indian Orchard site in Springfield, Mass., USA, and will add a further 15,000 metric tons in Antwerp, Belgium by mid-2010.
Saflex is the global leader in PVB production, innovation, quality and reliability. When laminated between layers of glass, PVB interlayers greatly enhance the performance characteristics of glass, providing benefits such as security, solar protection, sound attenuation and safety. Laminated glass made with Saflex PVB is used extensively in both the automotive and architectural markets, and is now used to encapsulate the world's largest thin film photovoltaic modules. For more information, please visit: http://www.saflex.com.
About Solutia Inc.
Solutia is a market-leading performance materials and specialty chemicals company. The company focuses on providing solutions for a better life through a range of products, including: Saflex(R) interlayer for laminated glass; CPFilms(R) aftermarket window films sold under the LLumar(R) brand and others; high-performance nylon polymers and fibers sold under brands such as Vydyne(R) and Wear-Dated(R); and technical specialties including the Flexsys(R) family of chemicals for the rubber industry, Skydrol(R) aviation hydraulic fluid and Therminol(R) heat transfer fluid. Solutia's businesses are world leaders in each of their market segments. With its headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, the company operates globally with approximately 6,000 employees in more than 60 locations. More information is available at http://www.Solutia.com.