Pilkington UK, part of the Japan-based NSG Group, has invested more than £3m in new technology at its Pilkington Architectural site in St Helens to increase its capacity to manufacture structural glazing products for export customers and domestic clients.
The glass manufacturer has invested in a new state-of-the-art toughening furnace, an increased-capability heat soak oven, and a glass measuring device.
Each will be used as part of the manufacturing process for its Pilkington Planar structural glazing system and associated products.
Structural glazing systems are used in a variety of applications including glass atriums, facades and other specialist uses.
The company has developed, designed and manufactured structural glazing systems at its base in St Helens for more than 60 years, serving UK clients and export markets including the US and Middle East.
Pilkington has created glass products in the town for nearly 200 years.
The new toughening furnace, due to be operational by August, also increases the size capability of the toughening furnace and heat soak oven to 6000mm x 3000mm, meaning the company can create larger sheets of glass for Pilkington Planar systems.
Meanwhile, the newly developed glass measuring device will enhance the manufacturer’s quality control systems and processes for the benefit of customer and end-clients.
Phil Savage, head of sales–UK processing at Pilkington, said: “We’ve been at the forefront of glass manufacturing right here in St Helens for almost two centuries.
“This latest investment underlines our commitment to operating locally and will further enhance the town’s position as a heartland of the UK glass industry.”
He added: “Structural glazing products are increasingly popular as architects design more buildings that feature seamless expanses of glass for atriums and roofs.
“Our investment at Pilkington Architectural increases our capacity to support this increasing demand, helping our customers to create a built environment fit for the future.”
UK-manufactured Pilkington Planar glass has recently been installed in international projects including the Al-farwania Court Complex and Hawally Courts Complex – both in Kuwait; the 601 Massachusetts Avenue development in Washington DC; the American Dream Mall in New Jersey; and the Valley Fair Mall, California.