The expansion will serve growing global market demand for acoustic glazing, building on Solutia´s current automotive acoustic production capacity in Santo Toribio, Mexico.
"This project is a key part of the Saflex growth strategy and marks the latest step in our investment program for the business," said Tim Wessel, president and general manager, Advanced Interlayers division. "This expansion optimizes our production on a global scale to meet demand from the increasing number of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) acoustic automotive platforms around the world. Our Gent facility is the largest PVB sheet plant in the world. Adding acoustic technology for automotive applications complements the architectural acoustic investment made at Gent in 2010 and provides the highest degree of responsiveness and quality to our customers."
Automotive windscreens made with Saflex Q series advanced acoustic interlayer products provide state-of-the-art acoustical damping and sound control with all the safety benefits of windscreens made with traditional laminated glass. In addition, with Saflex Q series, automakers can decrease the thickness of the windscreen and replace standard tempered side glass with acoustic laminated side-lites, which can reduce vehicle weight by up to 10.5kg without compromising cabin comfort or safety.
The new acoustic production capabilities will be deployed within the current boundaries of the Gent plant, leveraging existing infrastructure and the plant´s 40-plus years of experience in manufacturing Saflex products. The new upgrade will be designed to employ the latest technology, enabling the production process to be highly automated. In 2010, the company expanded its third extrusion line in the Gent facility to produce 3.2-meter wide rolls of advanced, multi-layer acoustic interlayer for the European architectural market.
The Saflex brand is known globally as the leader in PVB quality and reliability. When laminated between layers of glass, Saflex PVB interlayers greatly enhance the performance characteristics of glass, providing benefits such as safety, security, UV protection and sound attenuation.