Ceramic Industry


November 1, 2006
We've got details on some of the brick industry's latest developments.

General Shale Brick Updates Roanoke Plant

General Shale Brick is investing more than $7 million for capital improvements at its Roanoke, Va., manufacturing plant. General Shale will modernize the plant's material handling procedures using robotic setting and unloading practices with automated control systems. Significant resources are also being invested in the firing process.

The project is expected to be completed by December 2006. For additional information, visit http://www.generalshale.com .

Boral Opens New Production Facility

Boral recently opened its new $12 million production facility in Wacol, Australia, in response to industry demand and the high number of landscaping projects being undertaken by Australian homeowners. Boral outgrew its original facility in Prospect due to the increasing popularity of large format pavers for contemporary garden designs. "A recent survey conducted by the Housing Industry Association showed that landscaping and outdoor building projects are being undertaken by 42% of respondents," said Keith Mitchelhill, executive general manager of Boral's Clay and Concrete Products division. "The results reinforce the need for Boral to invest in larger facilities to ensure that the growing demand for its popular landscaping products can be met."

The company's website is located at http://www.boral.com .

New Home Construction Declines

Total housing starts dropped 6% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.665 million units, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department. The pace of new home construction was down 19.8% from a year earlier, which was a record-breaking year.

"We are in the midst of an inevitable adjustment following the housing boom of 2004-2005 when housing market activity soared to unsustainable levels," said National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist David Seiders. "The downward adjustment to housing production should run its course by mid-2007." For more information, visit http://www.nahb.org .