Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
UAE: The Ministry of Environment and Water is set to issue a decree to regulate the production of mineral wool and fiberglass industries. The new regulations are intended to increase the environmental sustainability and performance of the industries. They will set out applications and pollution control techniques. Producers will also be required to prepare an environmental management plan specific to their operations.
UK: Veolia UK has introduced a new technology that it claims will transform non-recyclable paper and cardboard from household waste into a pulp called Pro-Fibre. The material can then be used in a range of products such as insulation and construction materials.
According to Veolia, the UK recycles about 815Mt/yr of recovered fibre, about 70% of the paper generated in the country. However, many different types of paper are rejected from recycling facilities because they have been contaminated with glass, sand, plastic, metal, food or grease. The contaminated paper has traditionally been sent to landfill or energy recovery facilities.
With its new system, Veolia will be able to convert the material into a recyclable material. It is investing Euro1.27m into the new technology at its facility in Sheffield, England, which will be able to treat up to 20,000Mt/yr and produce up to 14,000Mt/yr of Pro-Fibre. The process includes identifying and capturing the non-recyclable fibre fragments, pulping, cleaning, screening and a mechanical pressing stage.
The Pro-Fibre process includes five steps that will enable the removal contaminants to create a pulp that can replace virgin materials currently used in the construction and packaging industry, including insulation materials and biodegradable pots. Veolia is working with a specialist partner from the paper industry, which will analyse the properties of the Pro-Fibre so the companies can determine the product's commercial potential. The first batch of pulp is expected to be produced in early 2015. According to Veolia, Pro-Fibre can be manufactured either wet or dry and is suitable for businesses looking for a cost-effective and sustainable feedstock.
Germany: Kaibel & Sieber, one of the international leaders in machinery and plant engineering for the insulation materials industry, is celebrating its 200th anniversary. The company has a long-standing reputation for technical competence and flexibility. Kaibel & Sieber provides a one-stop source for project development and design, manufacturing, installation including automation, maintenance and service as well as supply of spare parts.
Germany: Germany's BASF has switched its entire polystyrene-based insulation product portfolio for the European market to the new polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR). The change comes nine months ahead of the deadline laid out in the REACH regulation, which forbids the use of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) as a flame retardant as of 21 August 2015. This means BASF's 'Styropor' and 'Neopor' Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and its 'Styrodur' extruded polystyrene (XPS) are only available with PolyFR from now on.
"By switching to PolyFR we can guarantee the supply of eco-efficient thermal insulation products for sustainable building projects in the future," said Giorgio Greening of the group's Styrenic Foams business unit. Using PolyFR allows producers to manufacture insulation materials that meet Class E under European standards.
To meet rising global demand for PolyFR, which has a better environmental profile than HBCD, a number of producers have set up new production plants, including the recent announcement by Albemarle and Israel Chemicals (ICL) to set up a PolyFR joint venture.
Latvia: The Latvian construction materials manufacturer, Tenapors, plans to invest Euro3.8m in a new production plant in Dobele. The new plant, which will produce insulation sandwich panels, will be completed in September 2015 and will employ 15 people. Roberts Kurma, director of the export department at Tenapors, said that the new plant would allow the company to double its production volume and sales in the Baltic States and Scandinavia. Tenapors had another factory in Valmiera, which produces insulation materials from geofoam.
Italy: Italy's top court has overturned an 18 year jail sentence for a Swiss billionaire who was convicted over his role in the country's biggest asbestos scandal. According to the court, too much time had passed since the alleged wrongdoing.
Stephan Schmidheiny was found guilty in 2012 of negligence at his company's Italian factories in the 1970s and 1980s, which eventually led to almost 3000 asbestos-related deaths. However Italy's highest court annulled the verdict on 19 Wednesday 2014, saying the statute of limitations had kicked in. The decision means that Schmidheiny will also escape having to pay millions of Euros in fines and compensation ordered by Italian courts in 2012 and 2013.
Prosecutors in the original trial said that Schmidheiny had not taken sufficient measures to protect the health of workers and nearby residents from the asbestos used at the Italian plants of his building material firm Eternit. The factories had used asbestos in the production of cement. The plants closed in 1986, but workers and local residents continue to suffer the consequences, with Italy's biggest union saying that the latest victim of an asbestos-related disease was only buried on 15 November 2014.
Prime minister Matteo Renzi said the ruling underscored the need to reform Italy's notoriously snail-paced judicial system. "We need to ensure that trials take less time and change the statute of limitations," said Renzi.
Serbia: Masterplast, a major producer of thermal insulation materials in Central and Eastern Europe, has announced that it plans to expand its plant located in Szabadka, Serbia. Masterplast will invest Euro400,000 of its own resources in the expansion and will launch trial production in its second fibreglass plant.
Russia: TechnoNicol Corp, a manufacturer of roofing, waterproofing and thermal insulation materials, has agreed to acquire an additional 54.1% stake in Russia’s Krovlya Ooo, a building materials company. After the transaction, TechnoNicol will own a 98.25% stake in Krovlya.
UK/Canada: Kingspan Group has announced that it will buy the building products division of Vicwest Inc for US$136m in cash, inclusive of debt and reorganisation costs.
Kingspan said that the acquisition will be structured as the purchase by Kingspan of Vicwest and the simultaneous transfer of the Westeel business and assets to Ag Growth International. The total estimated consideration payable is US$333m, of which Kingspan will fund US$137m and AGI will fund US$196m. The acquisition of the building products business will be funded from Kingspan's existing credit facilities.
The division being bought comprises three insulation panel production plants and a number of profiling facilities across Canada and the US. Revenues for the year that ended 31 December 2013 were US$224m and pro forma earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was US$11.7m. The unit had gross assets of US$111m at 30 June 2014.
US: Installed Building Products has acquired Installed Building Solutions (IBS), an installer of fibreglass insulation, spray foam insulation and waterproofing products. IBS primarily serves select markets across Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. Its sales for the 12 months that ended 30 September 2014 were approximately US$17.4m.