Volume 35, Number 1, January 2000


PPG Rebuilds and Upgrades in Fresno; Expands in Carlisle

Manufacturing at PPG’s Fresno, CA, float glass plant was temporarily suspended, beginning in December 1999, for three months . The company says it is working toward completion of a $40 million project to enhance environmental and operational efficiency and to rebuild the glass melting tank.

Glass shipping and processing operations will continue while a 100 percent oxy-fuel glass melting furnace is installed and other enhancements are made, according to Dennis V. diDonato, director of flat glass production. When the plant resumes production in April 2000, it will have expanded capabilities, increased production capacity and lower air emissions, he said.

The Fresno plant manufactures clear glass for construction. Although glass manufacturing is temporarily suspended, the plant will continue to process and ship glass to West Coast customers, according to diDonato.

On the East Coast, the company’s Carlisle, PA, plant is undergoing major expansion. PPG says it will invest more than $25 million to expand production of energy-efficient coated glass for automotive and construction applications there. When new equipment is in operation by late 2000, the plant will have two coating lines with flexibility to produce automotive and architectural glasses. This is the company’s second project expansion at Carlisle. An $11 million project completed in 1999 enhanced capability of the first glass coater there to product Sungate solar-reflective low-E glasses, the company said.

PPG Joins Forces with
South African Company

PPG Industries and AECI Ltd. of Johannesburg, South Africa, have agreed to join forces in an automotive refinish, auto original equipment and industrial coatings venture. The announcement came in late December, but the decision is subject to regulatory approvals.

According to Douglas C. Pepper, vice president of refinish coatings for PPG, the company will have an equity interest in the new entity, AECI Coatings Ltd. The new entity was created in January from AECI’s present Dulux technical coatings unit. Pepper added that the long-time strategic alliance between the two companies will be consolidated through the new venture. “AECI Coatings customers in the automotive and technical sectors throughout southern Africa will have access to PPG’s latest products and process technology,” he said. The new unit will also have access to additional PPG technologies, including industrial coatings, adhesives, sealants and metal pretreatments.

Paolo Candotti, managing director of DULUX Ltd., will become managing director of AECI Coatings.

AFG Increases Production
with New Coater

To increase its production of Comfort Ti® low-E coated glass, AFG Industries of Kingsport, TN, has purchased a second Leybold MSVD coater. The coater will be located at the company’s Victorville, CA, facility. Roger Kennedy, AFG’s chief executive officer, said, “We have exceeded our initial estimates of demand for our first coater.” He added, “The market demand for all low-E is growing rapidly and we project the overall market to double in the next five years. This growth is tied to consumer energy savings and its promotion, improved comfort, tighter construction and energy codes.”

Vistawall Plans New
Plant for the Southeast

Vistawall Architectural Products of Terrell, TX, recently announced plans to build a $24 million aluminum extrusion and finishing plant in the Southeastern United States. According to the company, the plant primarily will serve customers in the eastern United States.

The location of the 250,000-square-foot plant has not yet been determined, but plans for the facility are well underway. The company expects the facility to become operational in early 2001. Additionally, Vistawall projects it will employ approximately 150 personnel within one year.

According to Vistawall president Ron Rutledge, the new plant will maintain the high-level of service the company is known for. “We have experienced double-digit growth for the past five years, including another sales record in 1999, and this new capacity will allow us to further expand all of our product lines—especially in the Texas facility,” he said.


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