"Our business is so robust that we have to expand our existing operations
to respond more quickly," Don Pyatt, president of Viracon told USGNN following
the announcement yesterday that the company plans to build a new $25 million facility
as well as expand its Owatonna, Minn. and Statesboro, Ga. facilities.
He also pointed out that the company will be able to product more insulating
glass and laminated glass when the tempering ovens are installed.
Russ Huffer chairman and chief executive officer of Apogee, Viracon's parent,
added that once all the expansion is in place, the company will have a 50 percent
improvement in capacity since the beginning of the last fiscal year.
Huffer makes the point that with AFG and Interpane exiting the coating market,
$50 to $60 million worth of business is up for grabs. "We won't get all of
it," he said, "but we are expanding."
"Viracon will product with these expansions that the glasses those coaters
will product in a year will save three million barrels of oil every year for those
buildings," Huffer said. "At $60 a barrel, that's $180 million in energy
saving every year. That gets people's attention."
"The coating units we got from AFG and Interpane have been completely
refurbished," Hoffer said. "The new coaters available are good, but
they are designed for residential applications that can make a lot of a product.
Our need is different. We have to make smaller numbers of more sophisticated products,"
In announcing the construction of a plant in the southwest, the Viracon executives
said only that the plant should begin operating in about 18 months. Questioned
further, Huffer said that the company is in the site selection process with a
real estate company and it is looking in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, "that
quadrant." He projected that a decision would be made by March 1, the beginning
of the company's fiscal year.
Viracon built its Owatonna facility in 1970 and its Statesboro facility in