Owens Corning: expansion initiatives for composites

Owens Corning announced in mid-September 2006 that it is actively expanding its business for composite materials. The US fiberglass manufacturer completed its acquisition of the continuous fiberglass …

Owens Corning announced in mid-September 2006 that it is actively expanding its business for composite materials. The US fiberglass manufacturer completed its acquisition of the continuous fiberglass operations of Japan“s Asahi Fiber Glass in May 2006, which included the Ibaraki plant (Ibaraki Prefecture), and agreed with French Saint-Gobain to integrate businesses for reinforcement and composite materials in July 2006. Charles Dana, president of Owens Corning“s Composite Systems Business, said the aim of these initiatives is to “offer advanced technologies to all markets in the world,” and that “the Ibaraki plant acquired from Asahi Fiber Glass will play an important role”. The complementary relationship with Saint-Gobain is expected to make an efficient growth strategy possible. “Our company has superiority in furnace capacity that ties in with Saint-Gobain“s assembly capacity. In terms of geography, our company has many plants in the US, while Saint-Gobain has a presence in Eastern Europe,” Dana said. Integration of the business acquired from Asahi Fiber Glass is proceeding, according to Noboru Matsuoka, president of Japanese subsidiary Owens Corning Japan. “Quite remarkable results are emerging through improved efficiencies and profitability, as well as synergies, and the headquarters holds high expectations,” Matsuoka said. “End-users in the electrical/electronics and automotive industries, among others, with the most-advanced technologies are based in Japan. The Ibaraki plant has an R&D centre, and in terms of responding to lightweighting, downsizing and complex geometries, we are more advanced than other locations within our company,” he added. “Areas in which growth is anticipated in the composite-materials business are the fields of energy and automobiles, with technology being particularly indispensable in wind-power generation,” said Gary Nieman, vice president and managing director of Composite Solutions Asia Pacific. The company has also developed WindStrand – a fiberglass material optimized for wind-turbine blades.