Pilkington North America Reopens Plant Damaged by Tornado

Pilkington North America re-opened its Ottawa, Ill., plant December 21, 2017, nearly ten months after it was damaged by an EF-3 tornado in February 2017.

“It was really nice to see glass coming down the line for the first time since February 28, [2017],” says Richard Alt-man, regional director of architectural glass. “We were also feeding batch from the new batch plant, which replaced the one that had been in operation for over 70 years.”

The repairing process included re-placing the damaged roof and walls, significant investments in equipment and other work, according to Altman. A full furnace rebuild was deemed necessary because of the extended downtime.“A real positive for all stakeholders is that we have been able to keep our employees working throughout the process,” he says.The Naplate-Ottawa tornado killed two people and left at least 14 others injured on February 28, 2017, according to NBC Chicago.“Regarding safety, none of the 40 employees on site suffered so much as a scratch when the plant was struck by the tornado. This was all due to our workforce preparation and following the company’s emergency safety procedures,” says Altman.

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