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Owens Corning Unveils OptiFlow Wet-Use Chopped Strand Reinforcements for Gypsum Process

Owens Corning (NYSE: OC), a leading global producer of glass fiber reinforcements for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials, today introduced OptiFlow™ wet-use chopped strand reinforcements that help improve productivity in higher-flow-rate gypsum processes. The product will be showcased in the Owens Corning booth at the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) Composites 2010 show along with other key products in the company's industry-leading portfolio of specialty reinforcements.

Gypsum wallboard and sheathing products use glass fiber reinforcements to provide dimensional stability. OptiFlow™ fibers are specifically designed to reduce feeding flow variation up to 50 percent compared with earlier product generations. They help reduce clumps and assist in improving production rates with a new technology that helps manage fiber forming, moisture and fuzz.

"For years, feeding flow variation, clumping and logging have been common challenges faced by the gypsum industry as reinforcements were added during processing, and this fiber changes the game," said Scott Flowers, director, global product management for the Owens Corning Composites Group, adding that the investment in this innovation and the necessary manufacturing platform to produce it underscore the company's renewed commitment to the gypsum industry.

OptiFlow™ fibers are made with Owens Corning proprietary Advantex® glass. The boron- and fluorine-free Advantex® glass production process results in a higher performing fiber and a significantly smaller environmental footprint compared with standard E-glass processes.

In addition to OptiFlow™ fibers, other Owens Corning specialty portfolio products featured at the show (Booth 803) include:

  • Advantex® E-CR glass fibers. Advantex® glass reinforcements are increasingly being used to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure because they provide excellent corrosion resistance in any liquid or wet environment, including water and acidic or alkaline solutions. Application examples include flue-gas desulphurization equipment used in coal-fired power plants, underground water and sewage pipe, desalination plants and a variety of saltwater marine applications including tidal energy installations.
  • Cem-FIL® alkali-resistant (AR) reinforcements. Cem-FIL® glass reinforcements are inspiring new applications for glass fiber-reinforced concrete which bring higher-performing, flexible and aesthetic reinforcement solutions to architectural and construction applications. Alkali-resistant glass fibers allow thin-wall, lightweight and fire-resistant concrete panels and aid sustainability by increasing the durability of concrete structures. With a 5 percent addition of AR fibers it's possible to obtain a very light, extremely thin composite material that is moldable to almost any shape.
  • High-Performance Reinforcements. The Owens Corning portfolio of high-performance reinforcements, which includes ShieldStrand®, X-Strand®, WindStrand® and FliteStrand® roving and fabrics, is designed for end-use markets ranging from defense and wind energy to transportation and recreational applications. The products were developed in response to the composites industry's need for large-volume production of high-strength fibers with a cost-performance ratio that enables the composites industry to compete favorably with traditional materials.
  • Silentex® noise control solutions. Silentex® muffler-filling technologies are used by the world's leading vehicle manufacturers. The system includes Advantex® E-CR glass fiber that has a higher temperature capability and greater resistance to corrosive gases than basalt wool fibers and standard Eglass compositions. As a result, Advantex® glass stays in place in the muffler at higher temperatures and for longer times than competing materials.
  • Twintex® reinforcements. Twintex® technology helps produce exceptionally strong lightweight parts while still retaining an even surface finish. Co-mingling technology allows a high glass content of up to 80 percent to be achieved, thereby providing excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio and impact properties. An application in vinyl windows won an innovation award at last year's JEC Composites show in Paris.

"We couldn't be more excited about showcasing this portfolio of products at the leading composites trade show in the U.S.," said Flowers, adding that many of the products joined the company's specialty portfolio with the acquisition of Saint Gobain's reinforcements and fabrics businesses. "With that acquisition and our expanded global presence, these products are available to a wider range of customers than ever. They are fast gaining a greater foothold worldwide, including in the Americas, as customers seek solutions to make products lighter, stronger, more durable and more energy efficient in ways that meet the increasing pressure in the eyes of the world for more sustainable solutions."

"Specialty reinforcements are a key component of our strategy in composites to deliver differentiated value to our customers and our company," he added. "We're helping our customers prosper by delivering innovations that can transform our businesses."


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