9 December 2009, Toledo, Ohio – Glass fibre reinforcement fabrics specialist Owens Corning has announced the further expansion of its glass fibre knitting plant at its facility in Rio Claro, northwest of Sao Paulo in Brazil, doubling its capacity for making fibreglass technical fabrics. The addition is the third expansion of capacity since the plant was established three years ago. Part of the new capacity began production in September and the balance will be installed by year end.
The company says that demand for fibreglass 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, OCV Technical Fabrics General Manager, Americas.
OCV Reinforcements and OCV Technical Fabrics 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 Sao Paulo, one making knitted fabrics and the other the company's patented Advantex glass fibre reinforcements. Advantex glass technology brings world-class energy efficiency and emissions control to glass fibre production while providing unique product benefits including corrosion resistance and high strength, the company says.
The company has produced fibreglass reinforcements in Brazil for many years. In July 2006, it 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.
Owens Corning’s 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 and according to Owens Corning, in Latin America, Brazil at present has the largest installed capacity of wind energy power generation. It 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, says Owens. In the country's southern Patagonian provinces, 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, Owens Corning says.
Owens Corning is a leading global producer of glass fibre reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials. Founded in 1938, Owens Corning had sales of $6 billion in 2008 and about 16,000 employees in 30 countries. OCV(TM) Reinforcements, OCV Technical Fabrics and OCV 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.