Johns Manville’s Engineered Products Group is responsible for manufacturing an array of nonwoven and fiberglass products that go into myriad construction applications. Lorie Greenspan enters the shop floor to see the many advances the company has made.
Durable is the word that encapsulates some of the leading products that have come from the research and development professionals in the Engineered Products Group of Johns Manville; these include DuraCore®, DuraGlass®, DuraBase® and DuraSpun®. All exemplify the company’s drive to provide highly engineered products to meet a range of construction needs.
The Engineered Products Group (EPG) is one of four of JM’s business units. It produces glass fibers, glass fiber nonwovens, polyester spunbonds, meltblowns and glass fiber wall coverings at 14 manufacturing locations worldwide: Spartanburg, S.C., Waterville, Ohio, Richland, Miss. and Etowah, Tenn. It also maintains facilities in Berlin, Bobingen, Karlstein, Steinach and Wertheim, Germany; St. Helens, U.K., Oskarstrom andHelsingborg, Sweden; Trnava, Slovakia, and Shanghai, China.
Its DuraBase® line is its most recent offering. DuraBase roofing underlayment employs the proven technology of asphalt with a new high-performance nonwoven polyester reinforcement.
“Since JM is the only manufacturer with the ability to produce this combination of asphalt and nonwoven polyester, we can
offer builders and contractors this innovative product that provides the performance of synthetics with the benefits and value of felt, while also providing the industry’s most efficient installation process,” relates Zain Mahmood, vice president and general manager, Construction Materials & Systems for JM’s Engineered Products Group.
The durability of the material enables DuraBase to hold nails better and provides greater tear strength and puncture resistance than synthetics or felt. It also offers greater waterproofing performance and better protection as it provides enhanced nail sealability. “Creating solutions for building science problems that benefit our customers is our highest priority,” says Mahmood. “DuraBase is a next-generation product that provides superior performance and value for our customers who want the best of both worlds in roofing underlayment materials.”
To develop this product Johns Manville has partnered with Tarco, the nation’s largest roofing underlayment manufacturer. Together the companies created a new asphalt synthetic underlayment called EasyLay™. EasyLay is Tarco’s new Leakbarrier® product that employs DuraBase™. DuraBase technology allows the EasyLay product to unroll flat in warm and cold weather. Additionally, EasyLay offers greater waterproofing performance and better protection, as it employs DuraBase technology, which provides enhanced nail sealability.
“Our partnership with Tarco’s strong roofing products distribution network will enable us to bring JM’s DuraBase nonwoven technology to our customers through EasyLay in an efficient and effective manner,” Mahmood had remarked at the time of the announcement. “There is a growing shift in the marketplace to more non-traditional underlayments, so we’re excited to participate in this business opportunity and partner with Johns Manville’s expertise in the nonwoven industry,” commented Steve A. Ratcliff, president and CEO of Tarco.
JM’s partnership with Tarco also benefits customers who would otherwise purchase JM’s DuraBase in large quantities and incur special shipping charges. Tarco’s large national distribution network and residential construction relationships across all channels will enable customers to purchase EasyLay, with DuraBase technology inside, along with other traditional roofing products it is shipping, eliminating the need for special shipments and reducing freight and warehouse costs.
DuraBase joins its cousins, DuraGlass and DuraSpun. DuraGlass is a non-woven fiberglass mat product used in many applications including roofing and gypsum wallboard to provide strength and fire resistance. DuraSpun, a non-woven polyester is used for roofing or for water proofing and geo textile applications such as golf courses and bridge underlayments“In the last three years we have employed a research and technical team to make improvements in these products through enhanced chemical properties that allow these glass materials to be made at a better cost,” Mahmood explains. “The new technology platforms allow our customers to reduce the total cost of ownership and processability.”
Also part of this “dura” line of products is DuraCore, which has recently been enhanced into DuraCore SuperFlow Plus, which represents the new generation of chopped fiber glass for use in fire-rated wallboards, and is a UL recognized component.
DuraCore™ SF Plus was engineered to offer superior properties in fiber flow consistency. The improvements in flow consistency will provide wallboard manufacturers the ability to decrease their fiber consumption when compared to standard products. DuraCore™ SF Plus is available in one-quarter, one-half and three-quarter-inch lengths, and is available in customized packaging solutions.
“DuraCore™ SF Plus has been developed to provide significantly improved value to the gypsum wallboard industry. It demonstrates the ability of Johns Manville to develop unique solutions for the gypsum wallboard manufacturers, and reaffirms our long-term commitment to the industry,” Mahmood explains. “Customer feedback has been extremely positive and we are convinced this product will bring value to all our gypsum wallboard customers.”
In addition to this technology, Johns Manville has been researching and developing formaldehyde-free building insulation, which recently was named to the top 10 new green building products by BuildingGreen, Inc., publisher of the GreenSpec® Directory and Environmental Building News, the leading national directory of green building products, including more than 1,650 products in the 2002 edition.
In March 2002, Johns Manville became the first fiberglass insulation manufacturer to stop adding formaldehyde to building insulation as a binder and began using an acrylic binder that eliminates all binder-related emissions of formaldehyde during manufacturing. The acrylic binder also reduces concerns about formaldehyde in the indoor environment once installed. In addition, Johns Manville Formaldehyde-free insulation utilizes a minimum 25 percent recycled content (North American average) and provides overall resource efficiency.
To facilitate the production of these and its other advanced products, Johns Manville recently broke ground on a new nonwoven glass mat production line at its facility in Etowah, Tenn. The new state-of-the-art, high-speed line will be capable of producingmore than one billion square meters of glass mat per year and underscores JM’s commitment to its roofing, wallboard, flooring, and specialty glass mat customers. The line will be fully operational by early 2007.
Glass mats are a key component in the manufacturing of asphalt roofing shingles, glass-faced wallboard, and many specialty applications. According to industry projections, glass mat demand will exceed supply in the near future, making glass mat production the bottleneck in shingle and other finished-material production.
All of this activity bodes well for a company that for more than 100 years has brought to light innovations that have enabled the construction industry to grow. “Think of what JM provides,” Mahmood says. “Our products’ number one attributes are strength, moisture and fire resistance. Our customers always return to ask for other ways to reduce costs while improving materials. Our improvements allow our customers to further their operations.”