Vitro Architectural Glass (formerly PPG Glass) has selected its Wichita Falls plant to be the site of a new jumbo magnetron sputtered vacuum deposition (MSVD) glass coater, expected to be the largest of its kind in North America. Groundbreaking is slated for April.
The $55 million investment, which Vitro Glass first announced when it acquired PPG’s former flat glass business last fall, will enable the Monterrey, Mexico-based manufacturer to produce high-performing, energy-efficient low-emissivity (low-e) glasses in the larger sizes desired by today’s building designers.
“Current architectural trends favor the use of oversized glass on many office, commercial and multi-story residential projects, which requires glass sizes over 12 feet tall that our existing coater cannot accommodate,” said Bill Haley, Wichita Falls plant manager, Vitro Architectural Glass.
“The new equipment will enable us to cost-efficiently coat jumbo-sized glass, which will further increase demand for our products.”
Dick Beuke, president, Vitro Architectural Glass, said the coater will strengthen Vitro Glass’s position as an industry leader, innovator and architect resource. “As building codes become more stringent and building designs more complex, architects and building designers are driving glass manufacturers to provide higher-performing products, greater cost efficiencies and increased technical support. This new machinery, along with our expanded sales and service staff, positions us to meet those demands.”
In addition to the MSVD coater, which applies ultra-thin layers of metal to glass to help it deflect heat without reducing transparency, the $55 million price tag includes construction of a new 200,000-square-foot building and several ancillary projects.
The Wichita Falls Economic Development Corp. approved a $3 million incentive package in mid-January to provide local support for the project. The coater will expand the number of jobs for one of the city’s largest employers and create new work for local contractors when the building is constructed.
Vitro Glass considered all four of its U.S. manufacturing facilities as sites for the new coater before selecting Wichita Falls. The company also has operations in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Fresno, California and Salem, Oregon.