Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) broke ground today on construction of a $55 million jumbo magnetron sputtered vacuum deposition (MSVD) coater at its Wichita Falls, Texas plant.
The coater, which Vitro announced when it acquired PPG’s former flat glass business last October, will enable the Monterrey, Mexico-headquartered company to produce high-performing, energy-efficient low-emissivity (low-e) glasses in standard sizes of 130-by-240 inches, with larger sizes available for special orders.
Expected to be the largest vacuum-temperable-capable MSVD coater in North America, the unit will apply Vitro Glass’s highest-performing solar control coatings on large-area glass while providing precision color control and aesthetics.
It also will be highly energy-efficient, producing more glass per energy unit than most MSVD coaters currently in operation.
Richard A. Beuke, president, Vitro Architectural Glass, said the coater signals Vitro’s commitment to supplying architects and building owners throughout North America with next-generation glass products in the larger sizes required by today’s building designers.
“The demand for energy-efficient buildings incorporating large panels of glass is greater than ever, and we expect that trend to accelerate as building designs change and glass technology improves,” he explained.
“This cutting-edge equipment will enable Vitro Glass to meet current demand for these products more efficiently while positioning us to meet the evolving needs of the market well into the future.”
Bill Haley, Wichita Falls plant manager, Vitro Architectural Glass, said the coater will create at least 50 new jobs at the facility, which currently employs 360 workers and staff, and provides regular work for another 100 to 150 local contractors.
“The development of this project shows how investments in research and technology can help create, secure and expand jobs in traditional manufacturing. This is a positive development, not just for our glass plant, but for the entire community.”
The MSVD coating process enables glass manufacturers to apply ultra-thin layers of silver to glass to create low-e coatings that deflect solar energy and transmit high levels of daylight.
Low-e glass makes homes and buildings more energy efficient by reducing demand for heating, air-conditioning and artificial lighting.
The $55 million investment at Wichita Falls also will cover construction of a new 200,000-square-foot building and several ancillary projects.