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Published: Wednesday, 3/5/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Owens Corning to offer 9 new products

Debut comes Tuesday at Paris show

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

In a nod to its storied past when it could flood the market with new customer-driven products, Owens Corning plans to launch nine new products next week at a trade show in Paris.

The products are intended to help OC’s global customers in four diverse areas: Automotive, wind energy, building materials, and construction. All were designed with significant customer input.

“Nine new products — that’s a monumental amount of products,” said Chris Skinner, OC director of Product Platforms for the Composite Solutions Business. “It’s an exciting time.”

Mr. Skinner said that when you look at Owens Corning’s history, it grew by developing applications — that is, extensions of its products — so that its glass fibers could be incorporated into different products and useful to a variety of manufacturers.

“In a way, it’s back to the future for us,” Mr. Skinner said.

The nine new products, which will debut on Tuesday at the JEC Europe show, are designed to increase the performance and productivity of several customers that OC works with. “They will let them grow the performance of their materials,” Mr. Skinner said.

For example, three of the new products are Owens Corning fabrics, known as Windstrand, that can be used to make turbine blades for wind generators. The fabric materials reduce the weight of a blade by 6 percent.

“It makes the blades longer and lighter,” Mr. Skinner said.

“A lot of the markets for these products are mature, but these products drive productivity into their processes using our glass solutions,” he added.

Another new product, known as ME1510, combines with epoxy sheet molding systems to use up to 60 percent glass fiber content in epoxy composite materials used by the auto industry. It allows the composites to be lighter but stronger, letting automakers reduce the amount of steel in a vehicle.

A third product, WUCS, improves strength and efficiency in the production of carpet tile, vinyl flooring, and asphalt roofing shingles. Mr. Skinner said each product took a year of research and development, then another year of working with customers to make the products practical for industrial use.

Windstrand, for example, needed to be designed to work with 30 different manufacturing plants, nine fabric-conversion operations, and suitable for 40 different customers.

“The scale of that product was monumental,” Mr. Skinner said.

The product introduction at the Paris show is only the beginning, he added. In October, OC plans to launch several new products in the United States at a composites trade show.

“The mix of products you’ll see there will have a regional focus for the American consumer markets,” Mr. Skinner said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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