Owens Corning has embarked on a major overhaul and expansion of several of its vinyl siding plants, to streamline and integrate operations. Space is being added to plants in Joplin, Mo., and London, Ontario, while capacity at its Atlanta facility will double by the end of the second quarter, said Michael Thaman, president of the exterior systems business.
"We tried to get our manufacturing facilities to operate more like a network," he said.
In the past, each vinyl siding plant operated as its own entity.
The company's strategy of having fewer plants that are larger culminated with the recently announced closing of its plant in Fair Bluff, N.C., the head production facility for the Owens Corning brand of vinyl siding.
Three of six extruders at that plant will be transferred to Atlanta immediately after the Fair Bluff plant closes April 6, Thaman said.
The company will decide later where to move the other three Fair Bluff extruders, said spokesman Chuck Hartlege.
The company has no plans to buy additional extruders for any of the plants, but will update existing machinery, according to Thaman.
Meanwhile, the company is adding 100,000 square feet of space to the 210,000-square-foot plant in Joplin, where Owens Corning's Norandex brand of vinyl siding is manufactured.
The London operations also will see big changes in the coming months.
Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning currently owns two plants in London that stand side by side. The company plans to combine those plants by changing a courtyard between them into 20,000 square feet of plant space, Thaman said.
Owens Corning also has leased a 38,000-square-foot plant adjacent to the London property, he said.
The company plans to complete all the expansion projects before peak construction season, Thaman said.
"An outsider looking in would see the closing of the Lynchburg [Va., vinyl siding] plant a year and a half ago and the closing of the Fair Bluff plant and say, `Owens Corning is shrinking.' What we're really doing is integrating," he said.
Owens Corning's overall capacity actually will increase 2-4 percent, Thaman said.
Owens Corning's five siding plants east of the Rocky Mountains will operate as one entity. Because the sixth plant in Mission, British Columbia, is so far away, it will continue to operate as its own business unit, Thaman said.