Once Vitro concluded the flat glass business acquisition from PPG, the company has announced the expansion of its coating production capability with the construction of a jumbo glass coater.
The coater is a machine that produces high-performing, energy-efficient, low-emissivity glass. The equipment will be capable of coating jumbo sizes and is expected it to be the largest of its kind in North America, according to a press release.
That project, expected to cost US$ 55 million, is likely to be completed at a plant in either Carlisle, Cumberland County; or Wichita Falls, Texas, and the coater would be the largest of its kind in North America, he said.
Vitro recently acquired PPG’s entire flat glass manufacturing and glass coatings operations in the United States and Canada, which includes four manufacturing plants with a total of five flat glass furnaces; a research and development center; and four distribution and fabrication facilities in Canada.
“The company’s Flat Glass Division has become a key business for Vitro, and this investment will allow us to strengthen it by offering a wider set of solutions to our customers. Through this investment, we will create value for our shareholders and our new flat glass business will reassert its standing as the leader in the commercial glass segment in North America,” said Adrian Sada, chief executive officer of Vitro.
Bill Haley, Wichita Falls plant manager, said Mexico-based Vitro is wanting to expand the manufacturer's production and get more of the high-quality glass products south of the border.
Adrian Sada said flat glass production has become and significant part of what the 130-year-old company does. The MSVD coater, he said, "will allow us to strengthen" Vitro and provide a wider array of products for customers.
"Through this investment, we will create value for our shareholders and our new flat glass business will reassert its standing as the leader in the commercial glass segment in North America," he said.
Haley said a positive aspect of the Wichita Falls plant, in addition to it being known as a "can do plant," is that it's a one-stop shop because of it's ability to produce a number of the company's glass products, which are used to make windows for commercial, residential, specialty and automotive purposes.
Several capital improvements have been made at the plant since 2006, including a $38 million coater, a $10 million tempering line, two production line rebuilds totaling about $88 million and $3 million to $6 million in miscellaneous upgrades and projects. If Wichita Falls lands the new coater Vitro plans, that would be a $55 million capital improvement enterprise.
Vitro should have a decision on the location of the new coater in early December.