Process engineers key to new factory success

By Shoko McKay
May 20, 2021

Knauf Insulation’s new glasswool insulation manufacturing facility has opened in Malaysia, but not without a secret weapon.

Process engineers are akin to the first line of defence in making sure the products you buy and use are safe and reliable. So, it’s only right, as packs of our locally produced, high quality glasswool begin to be dispatched, we take a moment to celebrate one of our mission-critical players.

Among our talented pool of process engineers, Giuliana Rivituso has played a crucial role in the start-up of the Malaysian factory. Giuliana, the factory’s Process and Quality Engineer is responsible for one of the most important parts of the line – the hot end. That is where the raw materials are melted, mixed, fiberised, impregnated with our patented plant-based binder, ECOSE® Technology, and formed into a mat of very fine glass fibres.

Next generation furnace & energy efficiency

The linchpin of the factory is a new generation furnace that provides a high-quality melt and optimised fibre quality with the flexibility to run the batch more efficiently. Giuliana Rivituso is responsible for overseeing its operation and monitoring energy efficiency.

“I make sure the process is able to deliver the right properties – that is, fibre diameter, binder percentage, water percentage, the right components of glass chemistry, the right concentration, the right T set point – before the curing, cutting and packaging sequences begin.

“We only have a few melters like this in the group, and, thanks to the expert working group, R&D department and plant feedback, we got the best one with low energy consumption. I was proud to be part of the network group and discussions.”

In addition to energy efficiency, Giuliana reports positively on the other environmental credentials of the factory: “The plant uses a specific double-forming split system that delivers superior fibre quality and high compression packaging, which means reduced transport costs and associated environmental footprint.”

Giuliana joined Knauf Insulation in February 2018 as part of the company’s International Graduate Program. Originally from Italy, Giuliana has worked with central and plant teams overseeing factories in Belgium, Turkey, UK, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany and Slovenia.

Before being assigned to Malaysia, Giuliana was part of the start-up team at a new plant in Illange, France, where she was responsible for an area of the hot end process and monitoring emissions, including emissions system installation, commissioning, certification and data processing.

Thank you for your efforts in bringing quality insulation products to the Asia Pacific region. Keep up the great work Giuliana and team.

About our new Malaysian facility

The new glasswool insulation plant, located in Johor Bahru in the southern part of the country, will have capacity to produce 65,000 tonnes of product per year and at peak production is estimated to create 150 jobs.  It features state-of-the-art technology and control equipment making it one of the most efficient and sustainable insulation plants in the Asia Pacific region.

The plant uses up to 80 per cent post-consumer recycled glass in the manufacturing process and features Knauf Insulation’s patented high compression packaging. All products are made using Knauf Insulation’s revolutionary bio-based binder, ECOSE® Technology, with no added phenol or formaldehyde, which has revolutionised the world of construction and allowed Knauf Insulation to confirm its leading position in the field of sustainability.

Highly efficient shipping logistics from Malaysia will also enable Knauf Insulation to develop new distribution partnerships in South-East Asian countries and strengthen its presence in the major insulation markets of Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore.

Read more about the timeline of construction and commissioning of the Malaysian glasswool insulation factory For the very latest in Knauf Insulation news and announcements, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.