Apogee Enterprises, Inc. has chosen to make a previously announced investment of more than $30 million at its Viracon architectural glass facility in Owatonna, MN. The investment in a new coater, which will allow Viracon to continue its leadership in architectural glass products, is part of a strategy to ensure the long-term competitiveness of Viracon.
Apogee said it decided to install the new coating technology in Minnesota, because the Owatonna facility contains Viracon’s most extensive product capabilities and deepest team of technical talent, and it is centrally located for serving the company’s primary North American market. Support from the city, county and state was also a pivotal factor in the location decision.
“Strengthening the competitive positioning of our leading Viracon brand is key to Apogee’s growth strategies,” said Joseph F. Puishys, Apogee chief executive officer. “The new investment in Viracon-Owatonna, along with an upgrade completed at Viracon-Statesboro, GA during a six-month shutdown in 2012, allow us to enhance Viracon’s product capabilities while improving productivity. We have also recently announced that we will rationalize capacity in the short term since we have adequate capacity to serve the anticipated gradual strengthening of commercial construction markets.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that the Viracon-St. George, UT facility will be temporarily closed for approximately two years, beginning in mid-April 2013, to better align overall Viracon capacity with the demand expected over the next two years, which can be served from Viracon’s two other facilities.
“Viracon is the only North American architectural glass fabricator focused on commercial buildings with its own coating capabilities,” said Kelly Schuller, Viracon president. He explained, “Our coatings are a key underpinning of our competitive differentiation, and the new coater will have many new capabilities and features that will ensure Viracon remains at the forefront of architectural coating technology.”
Schuller said the project is expected to get underway in April 2013, with the site work required to make way for a building addition to house the new coater. It is anticipated that the new coater will begin delivering product for distinctive commercial buildings by late summer 2014.