Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
Kazakhstan: Politerm plans to open a mineral wool slab plant in the Bulandy district of the Akmola region in July 2017. The unit will cost US$22m, according to Interfax. The plant will have a production capacity of 34,0000t and the project is expected to create 138 jobs. Politerm produces mineral-based insulation materials and it was founded in 2008 in the Akmola region.
Russia: Rockwool has completed an upgrade of its stone wool insulation plant at Troitsk, in Chelyabinsk region. The unit will use Power+ technology with enhanced micro-distribution of the binder and optimised fibre-spinning technology on the production line. These improvements are intended to improve the final product’s homogeneity and performance properties.
Finland: Following negotiations with staff Paroc has decided to shut down its Oulu stone wool plant in July 2017. The closure will involve the transfer and centralisation of support functions currently in Oulu to other Paroc plants and locations. Production of building insulation will be moved mainly to the Paroc plant in Parainen and support functions will be moved to other Paroc locations. 64 members of staff will lose their jobs, including all of the production workers at Oulu, and five staff will be moved to other locations.
“The decision to shut down the factory was difficult due to the considerable impact it will have on the personnel. However, the utilisation rate of the current capacity of Finnish stone wool factories is too low to ensure competitive operations in Finland. The factory located in Oulu is old and, in addition to the already high cost structure, continuing operations would require significant investments in the near future,” says Kari Lehtinen, chief executive officer of Paroc Group.”
Denmark: Bjørn Høi Jensen, the chairman of Rockwool, has announced that he will not be standing for re-election at the company’s annual general meeting in April 2017. He said that as he had met his goals to review the management group, start a new growth plan and introduce an ‘extensive’ improvement in results that he was standing down earlier than planned. He originally became chairman in 2014.
Rockwool’s external net sales for its insulation division dropped by 2% to Euro1.63bn in 2016 from Euro1.66bn in 2015. In local currencies the company calculated a slight rise of 0.7% for its net sales. However, its overall profit nearly doubled to Euro166m from Euro90m and its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 21% to Euro389m from Euro322m. It blamed the poor sales on the industrial and technical insulation industries and the slow development of construction in Russia in both new build and renovation. In a statement Jensen described 2016 as a year ‘marked by tough conditions.’
The insulation and building materials producer also announced that it was planning to build three new production plants including a stone wool factory in Mississippi, US. Land acquisitions for the projects are expected to be completed in 2017.
Finland: Paroc Group is planning to shut down the operations of its stone wool plant in Oulu. The decision has been blamed on overcapacity of Finnish production without a similar increase in consumer demand. The plan also includes transferring and centralising support functions to other Paroc factories at other locations. Approximately 70 workers at the site will be affected by the decision and negotiations are on going.
“Starting the cooperation negotiations is very unfortunate. However, the utilisation rate of Finnish stone wool factories’ current capacity is too low to ensure competitive operations in Finland. The factory located in Oulu is an old one, and, in addition to the already high cost structure, continuing its operations would require significant investments in the near future,” said Kari Lehtinen, chief executive officer of Paroc Group.
Russia: TechnoNicol has started operation at a Euro105m mineral wool plant in the south of the Rostov region. The new unit will produce four types of rock wool products. Future plans for the site include the production of pipe and roof insulation and exports to markets in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
Poland: Paroc Group has upgraded its mineral wool plant in Trzemeszno to increase its production capacity with an investment of over Euro13m. “Up till now, some of the Paroc’s technical insulation solutions had been produced only in Finland,” said Joakim Westerlund, Chief Operating Officer at Paroc. “Shipping from Poland, combined with the fact that more products can now be transported on one truck thanks to new technology, not only will save time and resources of our customers, but also fits in our sustainability and energy efficiency policy.”
The investment marks a continuation of Paroc’s long-term development strategy in its Baltic and Central Europe area. Since 1998, when the Polish Paroc production plant was set-up, the company has invested over Euro140m in the Trzemeszno plant.
UAE: Michel Francis, chief architect at DEC consultants, has recommended that ‘intensive’ inspections, including checking that insulation is properly installed, could help to prevent the spread of fire in high-rise buildings in Dubai. He pointed out that a fire could propagate rapidly if there were gaps between fire-resistant mineral–based insulation. Francis’ comments at the Windows, Doors and Facades Forum in Dubai were covered by the National newspaper.
"An inspector must look for these holes, see how the mineral wool is installed, the fixtures used, check for any intricate gaps between the intersection of slabs. An expert auditor would look to see if there are any loopholes. These locations and intersections, if well treated, will prevent the jumping of fire from one floor to the other and the whole facade catching fire. Fire containment would be much easier," said Francis.
New provisions in the local Fire and Life Safety code are due to be released later in 2016 requiring owners to renew a no-objection certificate annually after inspections to ensure all modifications are fire-safe. The changes in the regulations follow a string of fires in high-rise buildings in the city in the last few years.
UK: TechnoNicol intends invest up to Euro5.9m to double the production capacity to at least 55,000t/yr at Superglass’ mineral wool plant in Stirling. The upgrade will involve building a new furnace at the site to come online by 2020, according to the Scottish Herald. The investment is intended to boost the insulation producer’s sales in markets in the UK and western Europe. The decision follows shareholder approval of TechnoNicol’s purchase of Superglass.
Russia: TechnoNicol has opened a Euro27.6m mineral wool insulation production plant in the Khabarovsk region. The plant will have a production capacity of 0.75Mm3, according to Prime News. The products will be sold locally and via export. The company plans to export 20% of its entire output to China in 2019. The insulation producer expects the payback period for the plant to take seven years.