Ceramic Industry

Owens Corning Establishes Large-Scale Fabrics Center in Belgium

April 21, 2010

Owens Corning has established an excellence center for technical fabrics at its manufacturing facility in Zele, Belgium. The 5500-square-meter (about 60,000-square-foot) facility will have both pilot- and full-scale state-of-the-art production equipment for developing, testing and evaluating new fabric technologies before production and use in customer processes. In addition to equipment for weaving, stitching and assembling multi-axial fabrics, the center will have a laboratory for testing new fabric technologies in infusion molding and other closed-mold processes.

“The new excellence center is a dedicated facility for partnering and working closely on new fabric developments with our customers using state-of-the-art equipment,” said Mark Neville, vice president and managing director of OCV™ Technical Fabrics. “By centralizing our fabric development activities in Zele, we will have more flexibility in scheduling and can continue the work 24/7, if necessary. The expertise at this center will also further drive standardization and quality in our manufacturing facilities to better serve our customers.”

According to Chris Skinner, Ph.D., director of global technical marketing for OCV Technical Fabrics, having a focused fabrics excellence center is a logical next step in the evolution of composite materials. “A lot of development has already been invested in fabrics for composites,” said Skinner. “But our processes and our customers’ processes continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, requiring technical solutions. As a major integrated company, we are able to work systematically on the design and optimization of the total reinforcement system as it is prepared for and used by our customers. The excellence center takes this ability to work on the total system to the next level.”

Ashish Diwanji, vice president for innovations in the Owens Corning Composite Solutions Business, said the center is also a strong addition to the company’s global science and technology network. “The excellence center for technical fabrics has robust links to the company’s major innovation centers in Chambery (France) and Granville (Ohio, U.S.), enabling rapid introduction of fundamental innovations by the fabrics business,” said Diwanji. “The center is a major tool for supporting our customers in developing new applications and markets for composites, and for continuing our more than 70 years of leading glass fiber materials innovation.”

Additional details are available at www.owenscorning.com.