Our new Glass Mineral Wool plant in Malaysia is now fully operational and cutting delivery times to customers by up to 50%.
Knauf Insulation’s new plant at Johor Bahru plant in Malaysia is now fully operational offering high-performance Glass Mineral Wool solutions to customers throughout the Asia Pacific region.
The 75,000-tonne capacity site has faced unprecedented challenges over the past two years due the pandemic and strict lockdowns in Malaysia from March 2020 and throughout 2021.
Many commissioning activities were carried out online and some colleagues from our plants around the world joined on site to oversee the commissioning process.
International travel was complicated by changes in the opening and closing of Malaysia’s borders, enforced fortnights of quarantine and restrictions that meant local travel in Johor Bahru was on one occasion restricted to a 10km radius.
Plant Manager Erkan Üçok says: “The plant became fully operational in April 2021, and this milestone achievement is a tribute to the power of Knauf Insulation’s international cooperation as well as the personal and professional commitment of our teams.
“They are outstanding examples of our values to 'challenge.create.care.' and I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved in unprecedented circumstances.”
Now customers in South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are benefiting from the plant’s fully operational status and its geographic proximity.
In many cases delivery times of our products have now been reduced by more than 50% compared to before the plant started operations.
Johor Bahru is our first plant in the Asia Pacific region and uses state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality solutions using our revolutionary bio-based binder ECOSE Technology® with no added formaldehyde.
Stuart Dunbar, Regional Managing Director for APAC, says: “Asia is the fastest growing insulation market in the world and the plant has been built bigger than demand which gives us great growth opportunities.
“Johor Bahru also ensures that we can help our customers develop their markets and product offering through a diversified range as well as quickly adapt to develop new products in line with market demands.”
Knauf Insulation solutions include Mineral Wool batts, slabs, rolls and Blowing Wool which are tailor-made to meet specific market demands. For example, customised OEM solutions are being sold into Thailand.
Demand for our solutions is also increasing as a result of heightened awareness of energy efficiency and climate change.
In Australia, which is Johor Bahru’s biggest market, a new government came to power in 2022 and committed to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, increase renewable capacity to 82% of on-grid generation by 2030 and provide financial support for improving energy efficiency.
Our Knauf Insulation public affairs team is now campaigning to put the energy efficiency of buildings at the heart of this new political agenda.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand new regulations have been introduced to make it mandatory to install high-performing wall, floor and roof insulation in new homes to reduce energy use and improve living conditions.
“Johor Bahru brings high quality Knauf Insulation solutions closer than ever to our customers in Asia Pacific at a time when demand is increasing. The new plant marks an exciting new chapter in our company’s history,” says Stuart.
Sustainability and safety showcase
Our new Malaysia plant has marked more than 300 days without a Lost Time Accident as of October 2021 and reduced its Total Recordable Incident rate from 6.4 to 2.7 from 2021 to 2022.
The plant’s HSE Manager Kalai Ramalingam says the outstanding safety record is due to the efforts spent on leading safety activities like Hazard Spotting Tours, Safety Observations and Safety Dialogues.
Johor Bahru is also establishing itself as a showcase for sustainability. The plant is capable of running with high share of post-consumer glass, and has succeeded to negotiate a contract for renewable electricity which will be originating from hydropower sources.
Emissions from shipping are reduced thanks to the plant’s unique compression packaging which allows the delivery of higher volumes of product per shipment.
Additionally, a new piping system that collects rainwater from the roof rather than using potable water is saving around 20,000 m3 of water every year.
Ambitious plans like solar panels on the roof are now underway to accelerate major sustainability initiatives at the plant with exciting announcements scheduled for 2023.
World of diversity
Our Johor Bahru plant in Malaysia has one of the most diverse workforces in Knauf Insulation.
There are seven nationalities working at the site from Europe and Asia including Malaysians.
In addition, more than eight languages and four religions are represented under one roof working with harmony.
“Johor Bahru is a celebration of the power of diversity,” says Plant Manager Erkan Üçok, who is from Turkey. “How do we work so well together? Easy. Communication, communication, communication.”
Photo on the left: In the Johor plant diverse teams work in harmony
Photo in the header: Glass Mineral Wool plant at Johor Bahru in Malaysia