Vitro Architectural Glass, formerly PPG Glass, broke ground on construction of a $55 million jumbo magnetron sputtered vacuum deposition (MSVD) coater at its Wichita Falls, Texas plant.

The coater, which Vitro announced when it acquired PPG’s former flat glass business last October, will enable the Monterrey, Mexico-headquartered company to produce low-E glasses in standard sizes of 130-by-240 inches, with larger sizes available for special orders.

“The demand for energy-efficient buildings incorporating large panels of glass is greater than ever, and we expect that trend to accelerate as building designs change and glass technology improves,” says Vitro president Richard A. Beuke. “This cutting-edge equipment will enable Vitro Glass to meet current demand for these products more efficiently while positioning us to meet the evolving needs of the market well into the future.”

Bill Haley, Vitro’s Wichita Falls plant manager, says the coater will create at least 50 new jobs at the facility, which currently employs 360 workers and staff, and provides regular work for another 100 to 150 local contractors.

“The development of this project shows how investments in research and technology can help create, secure and expand jobs in traditional manufacturing,” he says. “This is a positive development, not just for our glass plant, but for the entire community.”

The $55 million investment at Wichita Falls also will cover construction of a new 200,000-square-foot building and several ancillary projects.