Vitro Architectural Glass is preparing for big changes at its plant Wichita Falls, Texas. A $55 million expansion is underway to make room for a jumbo coater at the facility.
“Architects and our customers are demanding oversized glass. We can create jumbo glass now but we can’t yet coat it. There are things you can do to get passed that, but not efficiently,” says Bill Haley, plant manager. “This will help architects build bigger buildings. We have a nice portfolio of coatings with high energy performance and clarity.”
The jumbo coater will be able to coat up to 130 inches by 204 inches of glass, with 11 different colors and seven to ten different types of coatings to be run on the new line, which includes Vitro’s Sungate and Solarban low-E coatings.
Haley says that the project wasn’t approved until Vitro bought PPG’s flat glass division.
“On day one the CEO, Adrian Sada Cueva, approved the jumbo coater. It showed his commitment to our customers, the technology and the market,” he says.
The expanded facility in Wichita Falls will be more than 200,000 square feet. It will house the new equipment as well as the capacity to ship it.
“The building proper will be complete by the end of this month. We’re already setting some of the equipment into place,” says Haley. “We plan to be producing and selling the glass in July.”
The expansion will bring approximately 50 jobs to the plant, including supervisors, engineers and glass processors.
“We’re very happy with our workforce there. We have a great relationship with the state college and community college in the area,” says Haley. “I can’t say enough good things about where we’re located. The chamber of commerce did a great job garnering incentives to make the coater happen.”
Haley says that the construction hasn’t interrupted the current day-to-day operations at the plant. The factory acceptance test is set for the first week of June.