Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
Austria: Isobasalt, a subsidiary of Austrotherm, plants to build a mineral wool plant at Grosswilfersdorf. The plant is scheduled to start operation in the second quarter of 2017 and the plant will have a production capacity of 250,000t/yr. The unit is expected to create 50 jobs.
US: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau has recommended that Applegate Insulation discontinue certain claims for the company’s cellulose insulation products. However, it found the company could support its ‘R-value per inch’ claims. NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation in North America.
The questionable claims included; “Some studies have shown boron might lower the risk of some cancers and is a chemical commonly found in vegetables such as almonds, apples … and pears, according to BoraxPioneer.” NAD also challenged; “The fire retardant additives used to manufacture Applegate are non-toxic. One of the additives, boric acid, is six times less toxic to humans than table salt!”
The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) objected to comparative performance claims made by Applegate’s advertising that cellulose insulation provides superior energy savings over fibreglass insulation, resulting in consumers having significantly reduced heating and cooling bills. Applegate maintained that it has a reasonable basis for its energy savings claims based on the findings of three studies.
Following its review of the advertising and advertiser’s evidence, NAD determined that one of the reasonable messages conveyed by comparative performance claims which specifically reference ‘studies’ is that consumers will actually experience the same energy savings as reported in these studies. In this case, NAD found the advertiser’s evidence insufficient to support the challenged comparative performance claims and recommended the advertiser discontinue some of its claims.
NAD determined Applegate provided a reasonable basis for its ‘R-value per inch claims,’ noting that the evidence in the record supports a finding that Applegate’s cellulose insulation meets the exception to the Federal Trace Commission’s R-value rule and therefore, Applegate is not prohibited by that rule from making ‘R-value per inch’ claims.
In a statement Applegate said that it would take the NAD’s recommendations into account for current and future advertising materials.
Vacuum Insulation Panel Association comments on energy efficiency labelling ahead of European Parliament vote13 June 2016
Belgium: VIPA International, the Vacuum Insulation Panel Association, has commented on new regulations on energy efficiency labelling ahead of a vote by the European Parliament. It believes that the current system of labelling is too complicated for consumers so it welcomes the work by the European Parliament and the European Council to develop a new scale for energy related products. The Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament is scheduled to take a vote on the issue on 14 June 2016
"We are convinced that the new energy label will be an important measure to correctly inform the European consumers on the actual energy efficiency performances of appliances, and we therefore support the work of the European Institutions in this direction," said Gregor Erbenich, Chairman of the Public Affairs Working Group of VIPA International.
VIPA International notes that the frequency of the rescaling will be a central issue to ensure the reliability of the label. Therefore, it recommends that any rescaling should be performed separately for each product, not via a fixed periodic review. It suggests that only simple and standardised information should be included in the database of energy efficient products. Finally, it recommends that all energy labels should be clearly visible in shops.
Poland: Rockwool has inaugurated a Euro80m mineral wool production line at its Cigacice plant. The new line will allow the introduction of a new portfolio focusing on products for flat roofs and exterior walls. It will also allow for improved product quality, higher production efficiency and improved environmental credentials.
“The investment in Poland not only gives us the opportunity to take advantage of the latest technology in producing innovative stone wool solutions, we are now also positioned for further growth,” said CEO Jens Birgersson. He attended the inauguration with the managing director of Rockwool Polska Andrzej Kielar and other local Polish authority figures.
Russia: TechnoNicol has completed the construction of a mineral wool plant in the Rostov region. The plant is currently undergoing commissioning and testing with operation planned for mid-July 2016. The company has invested Euro44m into the site. Once operational the plant will be able to produce six groups of products, including more than 90 types of basalt-based thermal insulation products.
The roofing and insulation producer has also announced that it intends to build a Euro44m mineral wool plant in Kazakhstan. Irek Allayarov, director of the company’s mineral isolation department, said that the company is in the process of selecting potential sites for the unit. A final decision will be made by the end of 2016.
Poland: Stepan Company has completed the relocation of its European R&D and Technical Service centre to new laboratories in Wroclaw. The expanded facilities will serve Stepan's business in insulation foams as well as the diverse Coatings Adhesives Sealants and Elastomers (CASE) business. In addition to providing increased space for its growing team of scientists, the expanded facilities include a wide range of test and production equipment to support Stepan's customers with innovation and technical development projects.
The specialist and intermediary chemical production company also confirmed that the expansion of its polyester polyol facility in Brzeg Dolny will be completed in mid-2016, with the addition of a new reactor. The new asset is required to support Stepan's growth in the CASE business for its European customers.
"The completion of this expansion to our facilities in Poland marks a significant milestone in our growth story within the European polyester polyol industry. Commitment to these plans by Stepan is an endorsement of our growth strategy,” said Roger Stubbs, Vice President, Polymers Europe.
Ukraine: The interdepartmental commission on international trade has temporarily introduced special import duties on flexible porous slabs, blocks and sheets made of polyurethane foam classified for three years. The tariff follows an investigation started in July 2015, according to Interfax. The investigation concluded that an increase of polyurethane foam goods imported to the country at below local market prices took place in 2013 and 2014.
Russia: Saint-Gobain has increased its share in the Tambov-based heat insulation producer Isoroc from 74.9% to 100%. The plant's capacity exceeds 100,000t/yr. The French company obtained permission from the Federal Antimonopoly Service to increase its share of Isoroc in late 2015.
Australia: Businesses that suffered when the Home Insulation Program was closed are suing the federal government for more than US$72m in compensation. ACA Lawyers and McLaughlin & Riordan have launched a lawsuit on behalf of more than 100 people in the Victorian Supreme Court that alleges the government's mismanagement of the scheme resulted in business loss or forced them into bankruptcy, according to the Australian Associated Press agency.
The lawyers say that a Royal Commission set up following the closure of the Home Insulation Program failed to compensate businesses sufficiently. They allege that it only compensated companies operating before the insulation program was implemented not ones created afterwards to take advantage of it. 104 claims are believed to have been settled at a cost of US$9.7m despite thousands of businesses being affected.
The Home Insulation Program was shutdown in 2010 following the deaths of four workers.
Canada: CanWel Building Materials has entered into a multi-year agreement with Knauf Insulation for distribution of its mineral wool insulation products to the Lumber and Building Materials (LBM) channel across Canada.
"We are excited to extend our product offering for the LBM channel to include this high quality product line and to partner with one of the world's largest manufacturer of glasswool insulation," said Marc Seguin, President of CanWel.