Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
Japan: Sekisui Chemical's High Performance Plastics Company has acquired the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism approval for a new type of flame retardant for polyurethane. Clearance was granted in September 2013 and now Sekisui Chemical has formally made the announcement as it launches the product.
Under internal testing the new product has passed the 5V-A standard, the most stringent of UL94(3) flame-retardant standards and it meets US flammability standards. When subjected to heat the fire retardant in the new material reacts with oxygen to create layers of charcoal, preventing fires from spreading. Similar to conventional urethane in weight and light stability, it can be shaped into any form.
The new product has a maximum density of 65kh/m3, a minimum compressive strength of 30N/cm2, a maximum heat conductivity of 0.031W/m•k and a maximum water absorption of 1.1g/100cm2. The company aims for annual domestic sales of US$98m by 2020.
US: Rockwool has started production at its Marshall County, Mississippi mineral wool plant. The US$164m plant, the Danish insulation producer's first in the US, is expected to be fully operational by mid-2015. The plant will employ 150 people and produce more than 100,000t/yr for the North American market.
"The new plant will enable us to increase our sales for insulation products in the USA. We have been experiencing double-figure growth rates in the North American market over recent years and there is still considerable potential for growth in the market, which is mainly dominated by glass fibre and plastic foam products," said Trent Ogilvie, President of Roxul, Rockwool's subsidiary in North America. Over the last year the company has experienced such an increase in demand that the it has been forced to import from Europe.
Australia: Fletcher Building's subsidiary Tasman Insulation, which makes Pink Batts insulation, is appealing against a High Court decision that a rival using the word 'batts' was not in breach of trademarks.
The High Court in Auckland in May 2014 handed down a multi-pronged decision on a long-running dispute between Tasman Insulation and Knauf Insulation, which makes the rival Earthwool products. Justice Brendan Brown ruled that Tasman's claim largely succeeded. However, claims that Tasman's trademarks were infringed by Knauf using the word 'batt' and 'batts' in packaging were not upheld.
The Court of Appeal has confirmed that Tasman has lodged an appeal against the ruling and a hearing date has yet to be set. The dispute canvassed a range of claims, including false advertising and intellectual property breaches. The case has run since 2011.
US: Curt Rich has been named as president and CEO of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), where he will be responsible for charting the strategic direction of the organisation as it leverages the role of insulation in achieving energy efficiency. NAIMA is the association for North American manufacturers of fibreglass, mineral wool, and slag wool insulation products.
Rich was most recently vice president of Energy and Environmental Policy for United Technologies (UTC), responsible for directing government affair objectives for UTC's building and industrial systems businesses. He will assume the leadership role at NAIMA effective 1 July 2014.
"Curt has more than 20 years of demonstrated success in the energy policy arena and has been a leader in ongoing efforts to advance energy efficiency policies through congress and the administration," said Fred Stephan, chairman of the NAIMA board and senior vice president and general manager of Insulation Systems at Johns Manville. "His leadership abilities will be invaluable in guiding NAIMA's future as it expands work within the energy-efficiency policy front through efforts such as collaborating with allied trade organisations and others to encourage the development and enforcement of strong building codes that promote energy-efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy costs."
US: Knauf Insulation and Guardian Industries Corp have announced that a definitive acquisition agreement has been signed for Knauf Insulation to acquire Guardian Insulation. The transaction includes Guardian Fiberglass, a supplier of insulation products for the construction market, as well as Guardian Laminated Building Products. Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
"We are already one of the fastest-growing insulation companies globally and this deal will firmly establish our leadership position in what is the largest insulation market in the world," said Mark Andrews, CEO of Knauf Insulation in North America. "It is an important step in our mission to become the global leader in energy efficient systems for buildings."
"We are delighted to acquire such a high quality business that fits perfectly with our growth strategy and we look forward to welcoming the Guardian Insulation team into the Knauf Insulation family," said Andrews. "This is also great news for customers of both Guardian and Knauf Insulation due to the highly complementary nature of these businesses. The combined entity will have a dramatically expanded manufacturing footprint to help provide high levels of service."
Steve Ziessler, president and CEO of Guardian Building Products, said that the purchase by Knauf is exciting news for Guardian Insulation and its employees. "We are confident that our employees, customers and suppliers can look forward to an excellent future with Knauf Insulation. Guardian and Knauf share a culture of responsibility, accountability, safety, entrepreneurship, strong leadership, innovation and value creation," said Ziessler. "We want our customers and employees to know that we anticipate a smooth transition."
US: Johns Manville (JM) has announced the addition of CI Max® White insulation to its line of building insulation products. Johns Manville CI Max White is a high-efficiency polyiso foam sheathing that is designed specifically for exposed interior applications.
JM says that CI Max is approved for use without a thermal barrier and provides an attractive and durable interior finish. It is suitable for wall or ceiling applications in commercial, residential, agricultural and industrial buildings. CI Max White provides a continuous layer of insulation to reduce thermal bridging. Additionally, it has an acrylic-embossed facer that is aesthetically appealing, hard-wearing and easy to clean.
"Code-compliant, cost-effective and thermally efficient wall assemblies aren't something that can be achieved with just one product. It takes a comprehensive, planned and well-executed insulation system including both cavity and continuous insulation, which is why we continue to invest in expanding our portfolio," said Fred Stephan, senior vice president of Insulation Systems for JM.
Turkey: ODE has won the 2013 prize in the 'Large-Scale Enterprise' category in the Fourth Competitive Power Prize, which was organised by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), the Federation of Industrial Associations (SEDEFED) and the Sabancı University.
ODE was founded in 1985 and is the largest 100% domestic insulation manufacturer in Turkey. ODE is the youngest producing company to win this award to date. Previous winners of the Competitive Power Prize include İÇDAŞ, Bilim İlaç and BRİSA. ODE was judged on growth, export, added value, human resources, financial resources, innovation design, technology, leadership and sustainable strategy.
Kemal Direk, ODE's deputy general manager of Financial Affairs, received the prize from the president of the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation, Süleyman Onatça, on behalf of ODE. "This esteemed prize, which we have received in our 29th anniversary year, has been a source of pride and joy for us," said Direk. "We would like to present our endless thanks to the venerable jury members, who awarded us with this prize. ODE has always looked out for the development and progress of its employees, its sector and its country. It has adopted innovations without hesitation. These esteemed awards have exalted us and given us strength and courage for our future objectives."
ODE has grown by 60% in the last two years and has targeted at least 25%/yr growth until 2018. The company currently operates at almost 100% capacity from its four manufacturing plants and is preparing to open a new plant in Eskişehir within three years. ODE has accelerated its activities abroad in recent years and currently exports to 68 markets on all five continents. It plans to increase exports to 75 markets by the end of 2014.
China: Orient Paper Inc has commenced the final commercial production phase of its papermill 1 (PM1) renovation project, which produces insulation liner paper. PM1 has a designed production capacity of 50,000t/yr.
"We are very pleased to re-launch the renovated PM1 a few months earlier than our original schedule," said Zhenyong Liu, chairman and CEO of Orient Paper. "The purpose of our modernisation plan is not only to convert PM1 into a more energy-efficient production line, but also to produce higher profit margin products."
According to Liu, the insulation liner paper is used to sandwich certain insulation materials as a construction material for wall and floor insulation. It can also be combined with certain plastic woven cloth to manufacture new moisture-proof packaging materials for the transportation of books and magazines by the publishing industry in China. Both product applications are expected to benefit from stable market demand in the region.
Russia: Knauf Insulation expects its mineral wool insulation factory in Tyumen Oblast, Russia to reach its design capacity of 45,000t/yr in late 2014. More than Euro64.3m was invested in the project. The plant sells its products in the Ural district, Siberia, the Far East and Kazakhstan.
UK: Advanced Insulation (AI) has acquired Manuplas, which specialises in the manufacture and supply of floatation and protection products for the global marine and offshore energy markets.
"The acquisition of Manuplas enhances AI's market diversification by providing further penetration into our existing offshore markets while simultaneously increasing our presence and breadth of product offerings in the marine sector," said AI's managing director Andrew Bennion. AI's turnover has increased from Euro3.68m in 2008 to Euro24.5m in 2013.
Manuplas has over 50 employees at its two manufacturing plants in Plymouth, Devon, the second of which was acquired in early 2013 to accommodate the increase in production of offshore products and to further improve general productivity. As a result of the acquisition, Manuplas has dissolved its commercial reseller and distribution agreements with Fendercare Marine.