Owens Corning to Double Capacity for Technical Fabrics in Brazil to Help Customers Meet Global Demand for Wind Energy
Facility Installing State-of-the-Art Fiberglass Fabric Knitting Equipment
TOLEDO, Ohio – December 9, 2009 – Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) a leading global producer of residential and commercial building materials, glass fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems, today announced the addition of glass fiber knitting equipment at its facility in Rio Claro, northwest of São Paulo in Brazil, doubling its capacity for making fiberglass technical fabrics. The addition is the third expansion of capacity since the plant was established three years ago. A portion of the new capacity began production in September; the balance will be installed by year end.
Demand for fiberglass technical fabrics is growing in Brazil, driven by the success of wind blade fabricators based in the region. Wind blades made in Brazil are used in the local market and also exported.
“This latest expansion to our fabric knitting capacity highlights our strategy to support market growth and emphasizes our commitment to help our Latin America customers grow and succeed both locally and globally,” said Beth Rettig, Owens Corning general manager, Americas.
Owens Corning Reinforcements and Owens Corning provide material to Brazil’s leading producers of blades for the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers. The businesses serve the market from two facilities in the state of São Paulo – one making knitted fabrics and the other the company’s patented Advantex® glass fiber reinforcements. Advantex® glass technology brings world-class energy efficiency and emissions control to glass fiber production while providing unique product benefits including corrosion resistance and high strength.
The company has produced fiberglass reinforcements in Brazil for many years and in July 2006 established the first facility for technical fabrics, including woven, stitched and knitted products. Fabric capacity was doubled in 2007, and in 2008 the company moved the operations to a new facility and doubled capacity again.
Technical fabrics are used in several key industries but primarily in the wind energy market to meet rising demand for renewable, alternate energy sources such as wind power, which can benefit Latin America in terms of economic development.
Wind energy power generation is quickly developing on a global scale. In Latin America, Brazil at present has the largest installed capacity of wind energy power generation and offers the greatest potential, along with Argentina where wind-based energy has been attracting significant attention as an economically viable source of electric power generation in the country's southern Patagonian provinces where there are consistently strong westerly winds. To the north, the Mexico Renewable Energy Program promotes the development of alternate energy sources. Mexico has good locations and wind resources offering the potential to produce significant renewable energy substituting more than half of the fossil fuel utilized at present.
About Owens Corning
Owens Corning is a leading global producer of glass fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials. A Fortune 500 company for 55 consecutive years, Owens Corning is committed to driving sustainability through delivering solutions, transforming markets and enhancing lives. Founded in 1938, Owens Corning had sales of $6 billion in 2008 and about 16,000 employees in 30 countries. Owens Corning Reinforcements, Owens Corning and Owens Corning Non-Woven Technologies are the three main business units that make up the Owens Corning Composite Solutions Business. The business delivers a broad range of reinforcement products that provide lightweight alternatives to steel, wood and aluminum, thereby reducing weight and improving energy efficiency. Additional information is available at www.owenscorning.com.