Certain Teed Makes Fiber Cement Siding with 50% Fly Ash, Recycling 100,000 Tons of the Material Each Year

(Terre Haute News 2-3-10) CertainTeed has added a new in-house finished paint and coating system to its largest fiber cement siding plant in the Vigo County Industrial Park, south of Terre Haute. The new equipment began production in September, with the first shipment made on Dec. 8, said Allison J. Barlaz, director of marketing for the company. “We have a priming line, but we didn’t have a finished paint coating line. So this allows us to offer a complete solution direct from a single facility,” Barlaz said. “We are currently painting our [CertainTeed] ColorMax line.” She added, “A significant portion of fiber cement siding is sold factory-finished, and we expect that percent of the total market to grow.”
While some outside companies are still being used to finish their product, “The benefit of having this at our own facility is more flexibility and better service to our customers. This is our largest facility, so it makes sense to install this there first,” Barlaz said. The 375,000-square-foot facility has a capacity to produce 250 million square feet of siding each year. Production of fiber siding currently is done seven days in a row, then seven days off are allotted, during which painting and coating are done with the new equipment, located in the southeast corner of the plant. The facility currently employs just under 100 workers, but that number is expected to increase, along with production days, when the national housing market rebounds.
“The expectation is that we are close to the trough, if not through it, and we should start to see things looking up sometime this year,” Barlaz said. “We will be increasing the capacity this year, especially as we hit the busy season, which is the construction season in spring and summer.”
The fiber cement siding is produced with 50 percent fly ash, diverting nearly 100,000 tons of the material from landfills each year, according to the company. An acrylic latex coating protects the finish against the weather without cracking or flaking. The paint finish has a 12-year limited coating warranty, while the fiberboard siding has a 50-year limited warranty. CertainTeed also is using a new and improved ColorMax paint specifically designed to be factory applied for its fiber cement siding, Barlaz added.
The facility makes the fiber cement siding, applies a primer coat and two coats of the new paint. The new paint and coating process is done in a U-shaped system. Primed boards are lifted by a robotic arm onto a conveyor that slides the boards through a pre-dry oven before sending them through a continuous flow of paint. The boards then travel through a second oven before another coat of paint is applied. The boards pass through a third and final oven, after which an extruder applies a plastic covering to protect the boards.
“The idea is that you don’t take off the plastic covering until you are done installing the siding,” said Jeff Heffner, plant manager. The plant also saves any plastic, which is then recycled and returned to the plant. “We save a third of the cost by regrinding the resin,” Heffner said. Barlaz said the new equipment “is just the beginning. We look to do more with the paint line as we go forward.” CertainTeed sells its products to distribution networks and directly to some large retailers, such as Menards. CertainTeed is a subsidiary of the French industrial giant Compagnie de Saint-Gobain.
To read the original article please go to: http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_story_034232610.html