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Viridian to Rejuvenate Construction Industry

Viridian’s New Zealand Investment - Set to Rejuvenate Construction Industry

Auckland, 3 December 2009 – Viridian Glass has completed the first of a series of significant investments with the opening of its new innovative glass processing factory at Highbrook. The investments, planned over the next few years, will allow the New Zealand manufacturing and construction industry to take advantage of the increasing demand for energy efficient glass products.

The new Viridian Highbrook factory is the only purpose built, fully automated glass processing factory in New Zealand and is the most advanced factory of its type in the world. The factory embodies a major shift in the way glass is processed, with the use of technology software to manage continuous glass production.

Alan Westwood, Viridian New Zealand General Manager says, “The factory represents a significant investment in New Zealand and is stage one of a planned investment programme which will include new factories and equipment throughout the country.”

Viridian will develop the adjacent site at Highbrook in the next three years to match the expected demand for energy efficient glass in commercial buildings and is proposing to open another factory in Wellington, commencing construction in 2010.

“Despite a difficult economy, we’ve invested in and are committed to the New Zealand market,” says Mr Westwood

Mayor of Manukau, Len Brown, who attended the opening says, "It's great to see the investment that is being made in Manukau City. Viridian's commitment to ensuring they deliver maximum potential to their customers in the glass industry is an indication of their forward thinking leadership. They are creating a thriving environment for the future."

Key to the factory is the software that combines all the variations of production requirements with the factory equipment speeds, programmes and timings; thereby providing a continuous flow of work. The software also identifies where each piece of glass is in the system.

This enables the Viridian Highbrook factory to handle very large volumes of glass of different sizes to match New Zealand industry demands of customisation and short lead-times.

Previously glass could be handled up to 50 times, from manufacturing, to the time it arrives with the customer. At Viridian Highbrook the glass is handled only once providing greater efficiency, quality and workplace safety.

“This means greater efficiency and superior quality for the window and construction industry. With new energy efficiency legislation in place there will be an increased demand for double glazing in the residential sector.

“Our Highbrook factory has been timed to coincide with this, and the upshot is the New Zealand glass and window industry, with its unique demands, can take a strong position against the threat of imported standard windows or glass,” says Mr Westwood.

“The skills required to operate the factory is another major change for the industry.
The technology involved means that we are investing in up skilling our operators – this is good for the labour force and for the economy We are also working closely with the industry body JITO (Joiner Industry Training Organisation) to address the current skills shortage,” says Mr Westwood.

This approach has been endorsed by the government. Maurice Williamson, Minister for Building and Construction, says, "This new factory provides unique employment opportunities for skilled technicians to ensure a top-quality product.

“This Government welcomes such initiatives to improve market conditions and to spark innovation. We are seeking to help the building industry by reducing regulations, cutting red tape and creating an environment in which business can prosper. I commend Viridian for working closely with the Joinery Industry Training Organisation."


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