Owens Corning is boosting its manufacturing capabilities for the recreational vehicle market with a tentative agreement to buy fiberglass molder Wolverine Fabricating Inc.
The deal, announced Sept. 28 for undisclosed terms, will expand OC's Fabwel business line and give the firm more opportunities to expand the role of composites in the RV business, said Chuck Dana, president of Owens Corning's Composite Solutions business.
Through manufacturing outlets like Wolverine and Fabwel, the material supplier can have greater influence in expanding its business, Dana said during a Sept. 29 interview at the American Composites Manufacturers Association's Composites 2005 in Columbus.
``We're not going to be the ones who develop the next fiberglass-reinforced car, for example, but with more focus on the downstream [manufacturing], we can drive developments,'' he said. ``With those relationships, we can take our composites technology and apply it.''
Wolverine, based in Riverside, Calif., makes side walls for the RV industry and doors for the cargo trailer business. President Steve Thomas will move into a position with Fabwel, as part of the purchase agreement. The deal is expected to close within a month.
``The leadership position of Owens Corning Fabwel in the RV side-wall market carries Wolverine far beyond its own capability,'' he said.
Wolverine employs 50. Its California location also allows OC to access more customers on the West Coast. The bulk of Fabwel's operations now are in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
OC will focus on winning more business for composites in RV floor and ceiling systems through its direct production capabilities in Fabwel, Dana said.
``We look at the RV industry and it's a traditional materials industry,'' he said. ``There is very little fiberglass. We think there are more opportunites.''