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.
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.
UK: The British Rigid Urethane Foam Manufacturers' Association (BRUFMA) has called for the government to ensure that any new house building campaigns deliver energy efficient buildings and continue to increase the building standards for the sector. BRUFMA was responding to the publication of a White Paper or government report on the local market entitled ‘Fixing our broken housing market.’ The association recognised that the White Paper highlighted a need to continually review the current energy performance standards with regard to climate change targets and to domestic fuel poverty. It added that this should be extended to include the performance in flood risk areas of housing and the materials used in their construction.
‘The White Paper launches a consultation with a range of recommendations to increase numbers of homes being built in the UK. However, there are likely to be many conflicting views so I hope the government doesn’t use this as a way of kicking the problem into the long grass. However many houses are built we must ensure that all new housing is highly energy efficient in line with our climate change objectives. Just because there is a rush to build shouldn’t be an excuse to lower the quality of the thermal performance. And we certainly don’t want to have to come back and retrofit in 20 years because the houses we build today do not meet tomorrow’s requirements,” said Simon Storer, the chief executive of BRUFMA.
UK: MDF Recycling has completed proof of concept trials to develop a process to recover wood fibre from waste medium-density fibreboard (MDF). The solution generates a new raw material source for the wood and natural fibre industries. The company says that the recovered fibre is of the same quality as standard wood fibre and that it can provides feedstock to the manufacturers of MDF board, insulation products and horticultural growing products.
“We have already begun discussions with a number of leading companies and organisations operating in the MDF production and waste industries and look forward to progressing these during the early part of 2017,” said co-founder and Managing Director Craig Bartlett. He added that the recycling process was a ‘genuine world first.’
MDF Recovery has set up an advisory panel to help it commercialise the company’s technology.
UK: Simon Storer has been appointed as the chief executive of the British Rigid Urethane Manufacturers Association (BRUFMA) with effect from 9 January 2017. Previously, Storer was the Head of Communications at BACTA, the trade body representing the British amusement industry. Before this he worked as the External Affairs Director at the Construction Products Association (CPA) for seven years. He has also worked for the architect Levitt Bernstein, Shoreditch New Deal for Communities project and for the Channel Tunnel project during its construction phase.
UK: SIG’s sales rose by 0.3% on a like-for-like basis, the building materials distributor has said in a trading statement. Sales rose by 11% year-on-year to Euro3.4bn in 2016 but they were mainly driven by foreign exchange rates and acquisitions. In the UK & Ireland like-for-like sales increased by 1.1%, with SIG Distribution up by 1.2% and SIG Exteriors down by 1.5%. In mainland Europe life-for-like sales declined by 0.5%, with France and Germany down by 2.0% and 1.3% respectively.
"2016 was a disappointing year for SIG. While the competitive environment, particularly in the UK, was challenging, our transformational change programme, although taking the group in the right strategic direction, distracted us somewhat from our customers,” said chief executive Mel Ewell. He added that the company is planning to focus on customers, place added emphasis on sales growth and reduce its leverage in 2017.
SIG will announce its full year results for 2016 on 14 March 2017.
UK: TechnoNicol International plants to use Stirling-based Superglass to launch an expansion programme in the US and to develop its market in the UK and Ireland. TechnoNicol has created a new division at the company it purchased in July 2016 to achieve this aim and has made senior appointments to support it. The company aims to establish a ‘significant’ market share in North America over the next five years.
Ken Munro, Superglass’s chief executive officer, has become chief executive officer of TechnoNicol (UK, Ireland and USA). In this newly created role, Munro will have responsibility for the management and coordination of TechnoNicol’s presence in these regions and will continue to lead and develop the Superglass business as it is incorporated into this expanded structure.
Munro will also have responsibility for the global development of the Superglass brand as it begins to play a part in TechnoNicol’s overall insulation products strategy. As further businesses are developed, both organically and by acquisition, they will be integrated into this unified regional structure, with new jobs likely to be created in Stirling as the regional headquarters takes shape.
Stuart Rowell, who is currently Group Business Development Director at Superglass, and Girts Dikelsons, currently Regional Director TechnoNicol (UK and USA), will be responsible for sales and marketing activity across all product lines in the new region and are appointed as Regional Sales Director (Insulation Solutions) and Regional Sales Director (Bitumen Membrane Solutions) respectively.
Theresa McLean, Superglass’s Chief Financial Officer, has been appointed as chief financial officer of TechnoNicol (UK, Ireland and USA) and Mark Atherton, Operations Director at Superglass, becomes Chief Production Officer and Head of Operations for the newly expanded regional business. Rowell, Dikelsons, McLean, and Atherton will all report directly to Ken Munro.
UK: Doug Robertson will retire as Group Financial Director and from the board of SIG in the first quarter of 2017. He will be succeeded by Nick Maddock, currently Chief Financial Officer at McCarthy & Stone. Precise dates will be announced once determined. Robertson has worked at SIG since 2011.
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: 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.