Vitro Architectural Glass, formerly PPG Glass, will build a new jumbo magnetron sputtered vacuum deposition (MSVD) glass coater at its Wichita Falls, Texas, plant. According to the company, it is expected to be the largest of its kind in North America, and groundbreaking is slated for April.

“As building codes become more stringent and building designs more complex, architects and building designers are driving glass manufacturers to provide higher-performing products, greater cost efficiencies and increased technical support,” says Vitro president Dick Beuke. “This new machinery, along with our expanded sales and service staff, positions us to meet those demands.”

The $55 million investment, which Vitro Glass first announced when it acquired PPG’s flat glass business last fall, will enable the Monterrey, Mexico-based manufacturer to produce low-E glasses in the larger sizes demanded by architects.

“Current architectural trends favor the use of oversized glass on many office, commercial and multi-story residential projects, which requires glass sizes over 12 feet tall that our existing coater cannot accommodate,” says Bill Haley, Vitro’s Wichita Falls plant manager. “The new equipment will enable us to cost-efficiently coat jumbo-sized glass, which will further increase demand for our products.”

In addition to the MSVD coater, which applies ultra-thin layers of metal to glass to help it deflect heat without reducing transparency, the $55 million investment includes construction of a new 200,000-square-foot building and several ancillary projects.

The Wichita Falls Economic Development Corp. approved a $3 million incentive package in mid-January to provide local support for the project.

Vitro also has U.S. operations in Carlisle, Pa.; Fresno, Calif. and Salem, Ore.