Jushi initiates, AGY expands, US-based glass capacity

Two of the biggest names in fiberglass manufacturing made big announce- ments at JEC Europe 2015.

Two of the biggest names in fiberglass manufacturing made big announce- ments at JEC Europe 2015.

The world’s largest manufacturer of glass fiber, Jushi Group Ltd. (Tongxiang, Zhejiang, China), made the biggest ripples, saying it is expanding its production capacity in Egypt and build- ing a new facility in the United States.

Jushi’s Egyptian plant opened in 2013 with 80,000 MT of nameplate capac- ity. The expansion will double that. The additional 80,000 MT of capacity will come on line in 2016, followed in 2017 by a new 40,000-MT furnace for the manufacture of specialty glass fibers.

Notably, in Richland, SC, US, Jushi will erect a new facility that will copy the Egyptian plant in capacity and capability. Phase I of that plant (80,000 MT) is expected to open in first-quarter 2017, with the second 80,000 MT and 40,000 MT of specialty glass to follow. Company officials say the US plant will employ 600-700 people initially, and up to 1,000, eventually. Jushi also reported that global glass fiber capacity is about 4.7 million MT, 32% of which is used with thermoplastic materials.

For its part, AGY Holding Corp. (Aiken, SC, US) told CW that it is in the midst of “aggressive expansion” of its S-2 and L glass capacity. Iain Montgomery, global manager, new business development, says Phase 1 of its S-2 expansion came online in January 2015, to be followed by Phase 2 in mid-2015.

Montgomery says AGY doesn’t release exact capacity figures, but he did say the expansion increases its S-2 production capability by 30%. Moreover, AGY’s specialty L-glass product, for PCB boards and electronics applications, will expand by 200% by the end of 2015. Montgomery says that growth, from a relatively small capacity now, is fueled in part by the material’s low signal decay properties, which has made it highly attractive to electronics manufacturers.

In 2014, AGY also acquired Owens Corning’s (Toledo, OH, US) S-glass product line and has been selling product from acquired stock. Montgomery says AGY will soon officially add the S-glass product to its portfolio and establish production plans. 

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