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Saint Gobain Issue New Glass Reinforcements and Outline Expansion Plans

  • Friday, 8th October 2004
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Saint-Gobain are promoting a number of new rovings and reinforcements at Booth 1019 along with announcing details of a new joint glass reinforcement facility by their Vetrotex division and Owens Corning in Mexico.

Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics are offering a full line of reinforcements for closed mould processes, including a 100% glass fibre reinforcement and a combination mat with a polypropylene core. The new Multimat reinforcement combines outer layers of chopped glass fibres that are stitched to a drapable knitted glass fibre core. Multicore reinforcement is a chopped strand mat stitched to both sides of a polypropylene core offering improved performance for closed mould processes.

Saint-Gobain Vetrotex has introduced a high-strength thermoset chopped strand reinforcement designed for improving performance in bulk moulding compound (BMC) processes. Vetrotex claim that the 979 chopped strand offers higher physical properties, excellent pigmentation, low static and fuzz, bright white coloration, and excellent dry flow characteristics to accommodate continuous mixing processes. The sizing is specifically formulated for maximum compatibility with polyester and vinyl ester resin systems and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

Saint-Gobain Vetrotex also introduced new weight packaging for RO99 single-end direct rovings, increasing the packages from 37 to 33lbs, with the changes designed to reduce end-user material handling and waste disposal costs.

Saint Gobain Vetrotex outlined details of a the construction of a joint glass reinforcement facility with Owens Corning in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Saint Gobain said that the construction is still on schedule, with the first product expected to be available in early 2005. The new facility will be called Violet Reinforcements, the colour violet being the result of mixing blue (the colour of Saint-Gobain) with red, (the colour of Owens Corning).

“We’re anxiously awaiting the start-up,” says Tom Martin, Vetrotex Director of Marketing. “In order to meet strong North American reinforcement demand we’ve been supplementing Wichita Falls production with imports from other Vetrotex facilities around the world,” he adds.

The additional capacity of the Violet plant will help to meet growth in demand in the North American market. “This growth has outstripped the available capacity in the United States. Violet will reduce the need for imports, and will offset demand with product that can be produced and delivered in a more economical fashion,” says Martin.

Saint-Gobain Group reported strong growth in the first half of 2004. The Reinforcements Division saw an upturn in the second quarter as it countered the effects of price contraction in 2003.

Consolidated sales for the Saint-Gobain Group came to €15,696 million in the first half of 2004, representing an increase of 7.1% after a negative currency effect of 2.4%. Saint-Gobain Group consolidated net income for the first half of 2004 amounted to €487 million, an increase of 3.6% on the same period of 2003.

Apart from the Pipe Division, all of the Group’s divisions reported sales growth in first-half 2004, with the majority picking up pace in the second quarter.

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