On January 23rd this year the first SentryGlas® rolls came off the newly constructed line at Kuraray’s production site in the Czech Republic. Built in just one year, the new facility passed factory acceptance testing in October 2018.
Since the purchase of DuPont’s GLS, PVB and SentryGlas® interlayer business in 2014, this site has belonged to Kuraray and until recently specialized exclusively in the production of recycled PVB film. “The new project represents a special opportunity for the site. This expansion also supports the total business growth strategy in the laminated glass market, especially “in the structural glazing segment,” said Steve Cox, General Manager of Kuraray’s worldwide PVB Division.
“The new SentryGlas® line 2 (SG-2) project is a chance for us to grow with a unique product” explained Holešov site manager, Jakub Sýkora. The project was supported by Vladimir Babayan, process engineer, and experienced teams from Kuraray’s sites in Fayetteville, USA, and Troisdorf, Germany. Sýkora added, “The dedicated project team is committed to meeting the high standards that apply to every Kuraray investment from the start – safety, quality, schedule and cost.”
“This will not only expand the product portfolio available from the Holešov plant but will also create new jobs.” reported Sýkora proudly.
Thanks to the new production line, the number of employees at the Holešov site is rising by almost 50 percent. Some of the new operators will come from existing teams in Holešov combined with new hiring.
“With the geographic extension of SentryGlas® interlayer production to Europe we can better serve our customers. As the supplier of SentryGlas® ionoplast films we are now the manufacturer with the widest range of glass laminating interlayers worldwide and have become an essential partner for architects, planners and engineers as a source of products, innovation and support,” said Reisuke Nakada, Global Marketing Director of the PVB Division.
Production is still in a trial period, but the interlayers already produced meet all current quality requirements. Indeed, in April, the first customers successfully qualified the new SentryGlas® rolls, commenting very favourably on the quality and flatness of the product.
The production capacity of the new line is sufficient to handle current sales volumes and allow for expected growth in demand in the coming years. At the end of 2019 a new cutting table will be installed that will allow the material to be supplied in sheet form. The expansion also offers the future capability to add an additional line. Full commercial production is anticipated to begin in July, initially for the EMEA region, but extending in 2020 to customers worldwide.