Saflex expands PVB capacity in Belgium and USA

At the Glasstec 2008 exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany, the Saflex(R) unit of Solutia Inc., announced that one million square meters of Saflex polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers have been produced an…

At the Glasstec 2008 exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany, the Saflex(R) unit of Solutia Inc., announced that one million square meters of Saflex polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers have been produced and shipped for commercial sale from the recently completed Third Extrusion Line (TEL) located at its plant in Ghent, Belgium. This start-up marks a significant milestone for the business, which has been focusing on improved regional capability and service levels over the past few years. As a result of this expansion, the Saflex Ghent plant is the world“s largest PVB sheet extrusion facility. The additional 40 million square meter capacity gained from the completed expansion positions Saflex as a key supplier to architectural glass laminators in Europe. The new line will also provide the Saflex business with greater flexibility in how it operates its plants worldwide. In addition, the Ghent facility is the only producer of the new Saflex Magnum(TM) roll, which can measure 3.2 or 3.3 meters wide by 800 meters in length, driving a new industry standard. The new size will increase yields and drive performance improvements for European customers. “We continue to invest across our Saflex business in order to meet the growing demands of our customers worldwide”, said Luc De Temmerman, president of Solutia“s Saflex unit. “This project is a key part of our global growth strategy for the Saflex business. By opening our third manufacturing line at Ghent, we are taking a key step forward in our strategy to optimize our production on a global scale in order to provide the highest degree of skill, scale and speed to our customers”. The new manufacturing line was designed within the current boundaries of the Saflex Ghent plant, leveraging existing infrastructure and the plant“s 40-plus years of experience in manufacturing Saflex products. In addition, the new line employs the latest technology, enabling the production process to be highly automated. “Our customers recognize the Ghent plant as a proven supplier of the world“s premier PVB interlayers”, said Dirk Duquet, vice president of manufacturing for the Saflex business, “and this expansion will enable us to very efficiently take that tradition of quality to an even greater scale”. Saflex is also in the process of adding 12,000 metric tons of PVB resin capacity at its Indian Orchard site in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, and will add a further 15,000 metric tons in Antwerp, Belgium by mid-2010.