Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
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.
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.
Thailand: Eastern Polymer Group is set to spend US$2.8m upgrading its Aeroflex insulation production lines with automation technology. The investment is part of a total of US$14.3m being spent by the company on cost efficiency, according to the Bangkok Post. It previously spent US$11m in 2015 towards improving production costs in order to increase its profit margin.
Deputy chief executive Challeo Vitoorapakorn said that, although Aeroflex demand had slowed over the past few years, the company is expecting the construction industry to grow in 2017.
Belgium: BASF has increased the methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) production capacity to 0.65Mt/yr from 0.56Mt/yr at its Verbund plant in Antwerp. MDI is used to manufacture polyurethanes, which are used in insulation production and other materials.
Kyrgyzstan: The Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund plans to expand a thermal foam insulation plant at Besh-Kungei in the Chui region in 2017. The project will cost US$1.67m, with 66% of the funding provided by the Russian-Kyrgyz Development Fund and the remainder by local businesses. The upgrade is part of a umbrella of investments being made by the fund in 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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.
US: Kingspan has announced a US$25m investment for its Frederick County, Virginia insulation plant. It plans to add 15 new jobs, buy new equipment and upgrade the facility.
The plant has about 120 employees, according to Ed Bates, a Director of Manufacturing and Technology at Kingspan. "We're moving forward with the project," said Bates. "It's underway and we'll probably complete it in 2017. We've already initiated some hiring and we'll complete the hiring by 2018."
The Frederick County plant is Kingspan's only facility in the US that makes building wraps and insulation. The company, however, has other facilities in North America and around the world.
The uptick in the building industry factored into the expansion, according to Bates. "It's not back at the level it was at its peak in 2006, but we've seen a nice rebound in construction and there's high demand for insulation products due to their energy efficiency," said Bates. "It's a great time to invest."