Sponsor Spotlight: Knauf Insulation (Quarterly Newsletter)

on September 1, 2015

Knauf Insulation is a company that embodies the strength and resiliency of Chambers County. As one of the first non-textile industries to locate in the county, the company has sustained a level of excellence within the community for nearly 30 years.

Knauf Insulation is a company that embodies the strength and resiliency of Chambers County. As one of the first non-textile industries to locate in the county, the company has sustained a level of excellence within the community for nearly 30 years. Though there have been hard times since they initially located, Knauf has persevered and is now a thriving segment of the Chambers County economy.

Knauf Insulation is part of the multinational Knauf Group, which is a family company founded in 1932 by the brothers Karl and Dr. Alfons N. Knauf. Today their sons, managing partners Baldwin and Nikolaus Knauf, steer the success of the corporation's numerous enterprises, which produces building materials and construction systems. From its beginnings in gypsum processing in Germany, Knauf has expanded and diversified to become a corporation with worldwide activities, delivering products and services in fields, including gypsum products, insulation and other building materials.

The Knauf Insulation arm of the Knauf Group represents one of the most respected and progressive names in insulation worldwide. With manufacturing operations in Europe, Russia, UK in addition to the USA, annual sales revenue is in excess of $1.5 billion.

It was formed in 1978, as Knauf Fiber Glass, when the Knauf family purchased an existing glass mineral wool production facility in Shelbyville, Indiana. In 1988, a second plant was opened in Lanett to produce light-density insulation and in 1990 a third plant was opened in Shelbyville adjacent to its first plant and headquarters to manufacture pipe insulation. The Lanett plant went through a major expansion in 1995 when an additional production line was added, doubling the plant’s capacity. The next big move came in 2002, when Knauf opened a new plant on the west coast in Shasta Lake, California that produces additional light-density insulation products. In 2003, Knauf Fiber Glass joined with newly acquired and renovated manufacturing facilities throughout Europe to become Knauf Insulation, and over the next few years several new facilities would begin production across Europe.

The rapid growth of the company came to a grinding halt near the end of 2010, and in 2011, the company was forced to shutter the 800,000-square-foot Lanett plant after 22 years of operation as the economic crisis hit the US housing market.

While the U.S. economy recovered, the company considered it’s future in the country and in Alabama. There was consideration of opening a plant in other locations, but in 2013 a decision was made to reopen the Lanett plant. At the time, company officials cited strong confidence in the U.S. market and in Alabama and the quality of its workforce. Currently there are 230 people working at the Lanett plant and more than half of the original workforce was re-employed by Knauf Insulation for the re-opening.

Now, one of four Knauf manufacturing facilities in the US, the Lanett plant recycles 300 million bottles every year converting the glass into energy-saving building insulation. Today, Knauf is the fastest growing insulation manufacturer in the world with a wide range of insulation products to meet the growing demand for energy efficiency and acoustic performance in new and existing homes, commercial buildings and industrial applications. Products include glass mineral wool, rock mineral wool, expanded polystyrene and extruded polystyrene.

Knauf Insulation’s North American facilities manufacture thermal and acoustical glass mineral wool insulations for residential, commercial, industrial, marine, original equipment manufacturers and metal building applications.

Knauf Insulation products are sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico and are exported to nations in Central America, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Products are distributed in the U.S. and Canada through independent insulation distributors and retail building material outlets.

Worldwide Knauf has over 5,500 employees in more than 35 countries and more than 40 manufacturing sites in 15 countries.

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