Victorian treasurer John Brumby helped Pilkington Limited make its investment announcement on Tuesday.
The upgrade is the biggest in Pilkington’s 127-year history in Australia and is well over double the investment of more traditional upgrades.
It is also the largest ever investment by Pilkington in a plant upgrade.
Pilkington’s Australian president Laurie Kruger said the plant upgrade would consist of a state-of-the-art five beam chemical vapour deposition (CVD) coater.
He said the CVD would allow for production of new, environmentally efficient glass products including energy saving glass for buildings, self-cleaning glass that virtually eliminates water use and glass that will be used in solar energy production.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates a significant commitment to manufacturing in Victoria in the long-term,” Mr Kruger said.
“This important upgrade will lower unit production costs while supporting manufacturing jobs in Victoria.
“The plant upgrade represents the next evolution of manufacturing in this state, transforming Pilkington in Victoria from a manufacturer of largely commodity products to a source of innovative value-added products through best practice applications that underpin the future of the Victorian glass industry.”
Mr Kruger said the new glass would help cut greenhouse gas emissions at a time when global warming was a hot topic.
“For example, the use of coated glass in Victorian homes will significantly reduce household electricity and gas consumption each and every year and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 per cent while saving consumers money,” he said. Pilkington is also developing a Sustainability Covenant with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), making it the first manufacturer to commit to such an agreement.