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.
US: China’s Wanhua Chemical plans to build a US$1.1bn methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) plant in Louisiana. The chemical producer has not revealed where it intends to build the plant, what size it will be or when it plans to start construction, according to local media. It expects to choose a site later in 2017. Wanhua Chemical will contribute about US$950m towards the project and US$170m will come from an unnamed partner.
Wanhua Chemical operates two MDI plants in China. In 2011 it spent US$1.7bn when it purchased BorsodChem, a Hungarian polyurethanes manufacturer. Louisiana state officials have reportedly been discussing the project with Wanhua since 2013.
Australia: Kingspan Australia has opened an insulation plant at Somerton near Melbourne. The US$30m plant will manufacture rigid board insulation, including Kingspan Kooltherm a rigid thermoset phenolic insulation. The 14,000m2 unit has created 26 new jobs and 24 additional jobs will be added as production increases. Following the opening of the plant Kingspan aims to export 20% of its production to the Asia Pacific region. This is expected to grow to 35% by 2020.
“The market for high-performance insulation is growing rapidly around the world in response to government policies aimed at making buildings more energy efficient. This facility gives Australia world leading technical capability in a sector that is experiencing significant sustained domestic and international growth,” said Gene Murtagh, the chief executive officer of Kingspan Group.
Architect Tone Wheeler designed the plant with a focus on environmentally sustainable design. It has a 750kW solar system designed into its roof structure which, when installed, will provide most of its daytime shift energy requirements. It also uses Kingspan lighting and insulation products to reduce energy requirements and optimise comfort for employees. Other sustainable features at the site include the use of sustainably sourced or manufactured building materials, the use of energy renewing ventilators and the use of rainwater harvesters for bathroom and landscape use. Kingspan says that the plant is on track to be Australia’s first Green Star-rated manufacturing facility.
France: Actis plans to invest Euro3m towards building a second production line of ‘alveolar’ insulation products at its plant in Limoux. The second line is scheduled to start production in 2018, according to La Tribune newspaper. The new production capacity is planned to allow expansion in Europe. The producer is also considering building an insulation plant in the UK. Actis’ alveolar products include Hybris, a hybrid product that uses a honeycomb structure polyethylene foams plies on metallised films.
Germany: Panattoni Europe has held the groundbreaking ceremony for a new roofing insulation plant in Heinsberg for Firestone Building Products. Panattoni Europe is responsible for the planning and implementation of the projecy and Goldbeck International has been commissioned as the general contractor for construction of the unit. The plant is scheduled to start production in the summer of 2018.
US: A fire reported at Owens Corning’s insulation plant in Newark, Ohio on 25 March 2017 is the latest in a series of such events at the site. The fire is believed to have started in the plant’s insulation system before spreading to a few rooms and the roof of a building, according to the Newark Advocate newspaper. It is the third significant fire at the site since 2013 following incidents in November 2013 and January 2014. Owens Corning has said that it takes the safety of its employees seriously and that it has taken ‘numerous’ actions to minimise the risk of fires at the plant.
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.
UK: Belgium’s Recticel plans to invest at least Euro20m towards increasing its production capacity by at least 50% of rigid polyurethane foam (PIR) panels for thermal insulation for the construction market. Start of production is planned for the third quarter of 2018. The polyurethane foam producer plans to take advantage of stricter insulation standards and regulations, higher energy prices and the growing market awareness for the product.
“This investment is consistent with the growth strategy of our Insulation business. It brings substantial additional production capacity to enable Recticel to continue to serve its customers in the United Kingdom and to grow with them,” said chief executive officer Olivier Chapelle.
Belgium: Ursa’s plant in Desselgem has gained ISO 140001 certification for the design, production and sales of glass wool insulation. The international standard specifies all the necessary requirements to establish an Environmental Management System, which will aid the environmental performance of the company. In addition the certification allows the company’s products to be sold more easily in the UK as they can now be readily specified in buildings being assessed under BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.