Owens Corning Corp, the world's largest manufacturer of fibreglass and related products, has formally opened its new production facility in Hangzhou to meet fast-growing demand from the mainland and other Asia-Pacific markets for composite materials used in various industries.
The plant, located in the Yuhang Economic and Development Zone, employs about 280 staff and brings the United States-based company's number of composite production sites in Asia to eight.
'Building a new facility in China is part of our global business strategy to supply our customers locally in growing regions of the world,' Owens Corning chairman and chief executive Mike Thaman said.
Owen Corning's proprietary fibreglass product, Advantex, will be manufactured at the plant. This product line provides corrosion resistance in acidic, water and alkaline environments, as well as high fatigue resistance and strength-to-weight ratio ideal for applications such as wind turbine blades.
The 73-year-old company, which posted US$5 billion in global revenue last year, expects sales volume in its composites business will continue to trend upward as global industrial demand increases throughout this year. It said developing nations could save money on infrastructure repair and replacement by using advanced materials and processes, including corrosion-resistant fibreglass-reinforced polymer composites.
By employing optimum corrosion-management practices, the mainland's annual savings was estimated to be as much as 2.4 trillion yuan (HK$2.8 trillion).
'With more than 50 years of field experience, fibre-reinforced plastic is now proven technology,' said Jeffrey Xu, Greater China marketing leader for Owens Corning. 'Chemical storage tanks and pipe constructed with corrosion-resistant composites, for example, have consistently provided extended service life over those made with metals.'