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Guardian uses lull for rebuild

Post Time:Jan 07,2009Classify:Company NewsView:424

The Guardian Fiberglass plant in the industrial park at 4200 N. Industrial Blvd. will shut down production for four weeks starting Jan. 5, temporarily laying off about 40-50 workers.

Plant manager James Brown said the plant will maintain a skeleton crew of approximately 12-15 senior employees to assist the company´s mechanics and research and development staff while the plant undergoes a complete rebuild of its fiberglass manufacturing apparatus.

Brown said the plant´s melter, which melts raw materials down to fashion them into fiberglass, is designed to last only one year before being rebuilt. Usually, the plant closes for only two or three days at the end of the year to rebuild the melter, but this year, Brown said, the entire 9-year-old plant will be getting an overhaul to improve the quality of its products and the efficiency of its production line.

"Electricity´s our biggest problem - electricity rates are humongous," Brown said. "With the new hot end, the product will be better and we´ll be more efficient in our glass making."

Brown said as the plant aged, Guardian had started looking for an opportunity to make renovations. With the sharp downturn in new housing construction this past year, the drop in demand for insulation gave the plant the window it was looking for.

"We supply all the insulation for the housing market, so when that goes down, we go down," Brown said. "This is the worst we´ve ever seen. It´s really, really terrible."

Nevertheless, Brown noted that Guardian has not been forced to lay off anyone due to economic woes. While workers have been down to half days the last two weeks, between holiday pay and vacation pay, Brown said, nearly everyone is still being paid for full-time work.

"Everybody´s worked 36 and 40 hours in the last two weeks, or getting paid for 36 and 40," he said.

Brown said many of the production-floor employees have voluntarily used vacation time to remain paid through next month´s layoffs, giving less tenured employees a chance to stay working, assisting the maintenance crews. Once the renovations are complete, Brown said, all laid-off employees will be offered their jobs back when the plant reopens Feb. 2.

"If they don´t come back, it´s because they choose not to for one reason or another," he said. "I think everybody will be happy when they get back here - it´ll be a new plant."

The Kingman facility is one of six Guardian Fiberglass plants across North America, with a seventh planned to open next year in Moses Lake, Wash. Based in Greenville, S.C., the company is the fourth-largest manufacturer of fiberglass in the nation, with Kingman´s plant its primary producer for the Western U.S.

Source: Guardian FiberglassAuthor: shangyi

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