Pilkington NA Illinois Plant Undergoing Repairs

Pilkington North America's Ottawa, Ill., plant is undergoing a four-phase repair to a 500-ton-per day glass melting furnace. According to Pilkington, $11 million has been put toward the first two phases of the repair.

In phase one, which is already complete, a new propane firing system was added to the furnace. Phase two, which is in progress, will include the addition of a new furnace cooling water system and a new site power supply. Todd Huffman, Pilkington North America vice president of strategic planning, said phase two will be complete by the end of this calendar year. A new batch house and a furnace replacement will be added as part of phases three and four.

Huffman said phases three and four are not expected to begin before 2008.

"We're always evaluating the units to see if they can [be in operation] longer," said Huffman.

He explained that phase one and two repairs are having only a minimal effect on daily operations.

"We [want the repairs] to be transparent to daily production routines," Huffman said. During cold repairs, he added, the furnace would have to be shut down a certain amount of time in order to replace the equipment.

If all four phases are carried out the repairs will total a $60 million investment.

On June 14 Industrialinfo.com had released a web article stating that Pilkington was deferring the Ottawa plant rebuild until 2010, but cited no source for the story. Huffman said the news site's information was incorrect and that the repairs were still in progress.

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