Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
UK: Knauf Insulation has entered into a long-term contract with Veolia to support the construction of a glass cullet-processing unit next to its insulation production plant in St Helens, Merseyside. The unit will be constructed and operated by Veolia on land owned by Knauf Insulation. It will provide recycled glass for use in Knauf’s insulation products. Veolia has invested Euro11.6m into the unit it plans to build by the end of 2017.
“We are delighted to be working with Veolia on this project, which perfectly aligns our goals for sustainability and the circular economy. Given recent shortages impacting the construction sector, our customers can be reassured that we are working proactively upstream to further enhance the security of our supply,” said John Sinfield, managing director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe.
The new facility will dry and refine glass into a ‘furnace ready cullet’, a recycled standard of glass that has been cleaned and crushed into small fragments. The cullet is then fed into a furnace where it is melted and spun into glass mineral wool.
Germany: Jean-Claude Carlin has been appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Knauf Insulation with effect from 1 February 2017. Carlin is a member of the Knauf Group leadership team having led the Knauf Industries business as Group CEO since 2009. He succeeds Thies Knauf.
Carlin joined Knauf Industries in 2008 after almost 20 years working for Timken, a manufacturer of bearings and mechanical power transmission products. At Timken he held various operations and management positions in Europe, India and the US. Carlin is a French national and has degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Economics. He will be based in Knauf Insulation’s new global headquarters in Visé, Belgium.
Knauf Insulation has also established an Executive Committee that will define and implement the group’s strategy and manage of its operations worldwide. Carlin will be joined on the Executive Committee by David Ducarme, appointed as Group Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Deputy CEO, and Jens Nilsson, Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
UK: Knauf Insulation has developed a new robust detail for aircrete blocks, which has been included within the latest edition of the Robust Detail handbook. The new detail E-WM-30 comprises two leaves of 100mm aircrete blocks, with a 100mm cavity that has been fully filled with the blown mineral wool insulation Supafil Party Wall. It is the first Robust Detail for aircrete blocks, with a blown retrofit solution that negates the need for a wet parge coat. Only a plasterboard lining is required. The detail will also achieve three points in the Health and Wellbeing section of Code for Sustainable Homes assessments.
“We are always striving to develop cost-effective solutions for our customers to make their life easier and this new robust detail is no different. We have developed this detail without a parge coat to deliver greater process efficiencies, and it offers high levels of acoustic and thermal performance, which can satisfy the requirements of the building regulations for a zero U-value party wall,” said Stephen Wise, Glass Product Manager at Knauf Insulation.
Aircrete is a lightweight aerated concrete material that provides thermal performance and is primarily used for the inner skin of external walls. The Robust Details scheme is the alternative to pre-completion sound testing for satisfying Part E of the Building Regulations in the UK.
UK: Knauf Insulation plans to spend Euro5m to upgrade its mineral wool plant in Queensferry in Flintshire, Wales. The investment will deliver thermal and mechanical improvements, along with an increased portfolio of insulation solutions. It will also support the group’s Ecose Technology binder product.
“We are especially pleased to announce this investment at Queensferry, given the uncertainty many other businesses and investors currently face. That uncertainty applies to wider concerns around the impact of Brexit on economic activity, but also to key sectors we service such as the construction industry, UK energy and energy efficiency businesses,” said John Sinfield, Managing Director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe. “This decision demonstrates that a drive on energy efficiency will deliver greater energy security, increased UK economic competiveness and help address environmental commitments. We would hope that the new government, and especially the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, considers these outcomes when exploring what its new strategy is to be.”
Knauf Insulation acquired sole ownership of its UK business in 2002. It has since invested Euro179m at its UK plants.
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.
New Zealand: The Court of Appeal has confirmed that the term 'batts' is not in common usage in New Zealand as part of a fight over whether Pink Batts' trademark of the word should be revoked.
Fletcher Building's unit Tasman Insulation makes Pink Batts and sued rival Knauf Insulation for trademark infringement because it used the words 'batt' and 'batts' on its Earthwool products and also on the earthwool.co.nz website. Tasman has owned the Batts trademark for insulation materials in New Zealand since 1973. The term 'batts' is not covered by trademark protection outside New Zealand and is used in Australia and the USA to describe pre-cut pieces of insulation material.
Knauf started exporting some of its Earthwool products to New Zealand in 2011 with packaging that used the words 'batt' and 'batts' in the installation instructions. In November 2011, Knauf applied to revoke Tasman's 'batts' trademark and in December 2015, Tasman started trademark infringement proceedings. Knauf claimed that Tasman's trademark registration was not valid because the word 'batts' had also become generic in New Zealand. To succeed, Knauf had to prove that 'batts' had become a common name in general use by New Zealanders and that this came about by Tasman's acts or omissions.
In his decision in May 2014, the High Court's Justice Brendan Brown did not believe it had. Even if he was wrong on this point, Justice Brown said, Knauf had fallen 'significantly short' of establishing that it was the acts and inactivity of Tasman that caused the trademark to become a common name in general use. The judge also made ruling claims from both sides that the other had breached the Fair Trading Act.
Parts of the case went to the Court of Appeal, which has now largely upheld Justice Brown's rulings. "Our analysis of the origins of the word 'batts' suggests that, at least in New Zealand, the word was not widely used or understood by the general public as a descriptive term and that it did not become a term in general public use until it began to be promoted by Tasman's predecessor after the trade mark was registered in 1973," said Justices Tony Randerson, Christine French and Mark Cooper. "Thereafter, in consequence of the marketing campaigns undertaken, the word 'batts' became strongly associated in the public mind with Tasman's Pink Batts insulation products. We conclude that the judge was correct to find that the term 'batts' had not become a common name in general public use."
The Court of Appeal confirmed that Knauf's use of the word 'batts' on the earthwool.co.nz website did not infringe Tasman's trademark. However, the three judges also found that Justice Brown was right to decide that the Earthwool brand and online marketing were misleading and deceptive. The trio differed with the High Court on one aspect; on whether Knauf's use of the word 'Batt' in the website's code infringed Tasman's trademark. It is understood this was at issue because the website showed in internet searches for 'batts.' While the High Court believed the use of the code did infringe the trademark, the three appeal judges said that this was wrong.
UK: According to Builders Merchant Journal, an open letter to prime minister David Cameron published in the Financial Times on 10 June 2015 warned that a failure to tackle climate change could put the economy at risk, while decisive action could create jobs and boost competitiveness. The letter was sent by 80 UK businesses, including Knauf Insulation, Rockwool, Baxi, Akzonobel and Worcester and Bosch.
The businesses have called on the new administration to:
• Seek a strong global climate deal in Paris in December 2015 that limits temperature rises to below 2°C;
• Set an ambitious 5th carbon budget covering 2028 – 2032 to drive forward UK emissions reductions;
• Establish a long-term framework for investment in the low-carbon economy, giving industry much-needed clarity over what is expected in terms of low-carbon development and boost the confidence of green investors.
"British business is ready to step up. From construction and energy to retail, the best British enterprises know that green growth is the future," said Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) UK chief executive David Nussbaum. "They take on board that it's no longer credible to base a sustainable economy on fossil fuels, so the government should put us on track for a low-carbon world. As we approach international climate talks, Britain should be a global champion for change, but a lack of consistent long-term policies sends a confusing message to business and undermines our attractiveness to investors. The prime minister should send a clear message that the only way forward is a green economy and support forward-looking firms that want to build a clean economy."
Saudi Arabia: Knauf Exeed Insulation has won a contract to provide insulation to reduce the noise levels at Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque as it undergoes extension.
"We are proud to be part of this historic project. The Grand Mosque is the main attraction for over 16 million pilgrims who enter Makkah each year. Our challenge is to provide noise reduction for the worshippers using the most sustainable eco-friendly insulation materials," said Daniele Cerutti, general manager of Knauf Exeed Insulation. "The consultants and the contractors opted for KB blanket insulation, a lightweight blanket of glasswool bonded with Ecose technology. In line with sustainable practices, Ecose uses natural and more sustainable organic materials than the non-renewable, phenol-formaldehyde or acrylic based resins traditionally used."
US: Knauf Insulation's plant in Huguley Industrial Park, Alabama will double its production capacity in June 2015, according to Aaron Wine, plant manager. The plant currently produces 200t/day of insulation. With the expansion, that capacity will grow to 400t/day.
During the housing slowdown Knauf shuttered its Lanett plant, which was put back into operation in 2013. According to Wine, the plant makes batts of insulation and blow-in wool. With the new line that is being installed, the Lanett plant will have the capability to produce rolls of insulation as well. When the new line goes online, employment will grow to 215.
Slovenia: Germany's Knauf Insulation, which is switching from coke to natural gas as part of an upgrade at one of its three stone wool production lines, will be the main user of what is to be Messer's first oxygen production plant in Slovenia and one of around 30 in Europe.
"This will be the most technologically-developed line in Europe and will mean a great competitive edge for the company," said Knauf Insulation boss Tomaž Lanišek.
Using natural gas requires oxygen and Lanišek described the investments of Knauf and Messer Slovenija as complementary. He pointed out that CO2 and sulphur and nitrogen oxides emissions would be halved. "Messer is becoming a partner company in our future plans at our location," said Lanišek.
Messer said that this was its biggest investment in the country to date and was expected to generate 15 to 20 new jobs. The company's CEO Danilo Lukač explained that the plant would produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon.