Ahlstrom Corp. (Mikkeli, Finland; Bishopville, S.C., USA) announced on June 20 that it is nearing start of production of specialty reinforcements for the wind energy market in China.
The production of glass fiber reinforcements will be started by the fourth quarter 2011 at Ahlstrom's Binzhou plant in the Shandong province on China's eastern coast. Ahlstrom will install multiaxial machines at its existing Binzhou site, which currently manufactures transportation filtration materials and employs 170 people.
"China has become a global power house in wind energy and through this investment we can better serve our global and local customers in the country. This gives us a good platform for further growth in the fast growing wind energy markets in China and elsewhere Asia," says Laura Raitio, executive vice president, Building and Energy.
The wind energy market is estimated to grow at an annual rate of approximately 15 percent in China in the next five years. In 2010, Ahlstrom's total net sales grew by almost 50 percent in the Asia Pacific-region and the company made an acquisition of a filtration plant and announced a joint venture in China for the production of masking tape substrates and medical papers. In addition, the company announced an investment to wallcover materials manufacturing in China on June 14, 2011.