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Owens Corning to Double Technical Fabrics Capacity in Brazil (posted 12/16/09)

December 16, 2009
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Owens Corning recently announced the addition of glass fiber knitting equipment at its facility in Rio Claro, northwest of Sao Paulo in Brazil, doubling its capacity for making fiberglass technical fabrics. The addition is the third expansion of capacity since the plant was established three years ago. A portion of the new capacity began production in September; the balance will be installed by the end of the year.

Demand for fiberglass technical fabrics is growing in Brazil, driven by the success of wind blade fabricators based in the region. Wind blades made in Brazil are used in the local market and are also exported.

“This latest expansion to our fabric knitting capacity highlights our strategy to support market growth and emphasizes our commitment to help our Latin America customers grow and succeed both locally and globally,” said Beth Rettig, OCV™ technical fabrics general manager, Americas.

OCV reinforcements and technical fabrics provide material to Brazil’s leading producers of blades for the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers. The businesses serve the market from two facilities in the state of Sao Paulo, one making knitted fabrics and the other producing the company’s patented Advantex® glass fiber reinforcements.

Owens Corning has produced fiberglass reinforcements in Brazil for many years. In July 2006, it established the first facility for technical fabrics, including woven, stitched and knitted products. Fabric capacity was doubled in 2007, and, in 2008, the company moved the operations to a new facility and doubled capacity again. Technical fabrics are used in several key industries, but primarily in the wind energy market to meet rising demand for renewable, alternate energy sources such as wind power, which can benefit Latin America in terms of economic development.

Wind energy power generation is quickly developing on a global scale. In Latin America, Brazil currently has the largest installed capacity of wind energy power generation. It offers the greatest potential, along with Argentina, where wind-based energy has been attracting significant attention as an economically viable source of electric power generation. In the country's southern Patagonian provinces, there are consistently strong westerly winds. To the north, the Mexico Renewable Energy Program promotes the development of alternate energy sources. In addition, Mexico has good locations and wind resources, offering the potential to produce significant renewable energy to substitute more than half of the fossil fuel utilized at present.

Additional information is available at www.owenscorning.com.

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