Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) announced that it is expanding its Environmental Technologies manufacturing facilities in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Shanghai, China, to increase production capacity of its DuraTrap® GC gasoline-particulate filter (GPF) product line. The $100 million investment in these two facilities enables Corning to address growing demand from automakers for filters that help them comply with new Euro 6c and China 6 emissions standards, which are slated to go into effect in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
Several global automakers have already announced plans to equip vehicles with gasoline-particulate filters to meet the Euro 6c regulations. Based on its filter design, range of system configurations, and strong technical support, Corning has won a major share of gasoline-particulate filter platforms to date. Sales are expected to begin ramping in 2017, as the company seeks to build another significant business within its automotive market-access platform.
Demand for gasoline particulate filters is being driven by new regulations in Europe and China, which establish more stringent emissions limits and address particulates released by gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engine vehicles. GDI engine vehicles are increasingly popular as consumers demand better fuel economy without sacrificing engine performance.
As a result, the market for vehicles with GDI engines has grown rapidly, to about a quarter of worldwide passenger vehicle sales, with the rate of sales growth in the high teens percentage annually. However, these engines produce a high number of fine particulates that impact air quality and have been linked to negative health effects. DuraTrap® GC filters feature a new, patented cordierite-based material composition with an innovative engineered ceramic microstructure designed to trap fine particulates, while maintaining engine performance with low engine back pressure.
“We see the development of this significant new gasoline-particulate filter market opportunity as an exciting new chapter in Corning’s 40-plus year history of serving the auto industry and global clean-air initiatives,” said Hal Nelson, vice president and general manager of Corning Environmental Technologies. “Investing in our Kaiserslautern and Shanghai facilities demonstrates our commitment to helping our customers meet evolving emissions regulations with innovative emissions-control products and reliable supply.”
Corning’s Kaiserslautern facility, which has been producing diesel particulate filters since 2011, will expand its footprint with new production lines and state-of-the-art equipment dedicated to DuraTrap® GC filters. New assets will begin running early next year with completion of the entire expansion project by early 2018, quadrupling the facility’s filter manufacturing capacity. These investments are supplemental to facility upgrades currently underway that will be on line in early 2017, and are part of the capital expenditure plan under Corning’s Strategy and Capital Allocation Framework, announced in October 2015.
“At Kaiserslautern, we are proud to be leading European production of Corning’s DuraTrap® GC gasoline particulate filter product line,” said Klaus Wellstein, general manager, Germany and South Africa, Corning Environmental Technologies. “Our facility will soon be well-equipped to supply a range of solutions that advance clean-gasoline design with proven solutions for the next round of emissions regulations.”
The Shanghai facility expansion is also on track for completion in early 2018. This is the first step of a phased investment approach for DuraTrap® GC filter production in China. The Shanghai facility has been at the forefront of meeting the Chinese market’s demand for light-duty substrates and filters since 2001.
“In Shanghai, we are adding capacity to lead production of gasoline particulate filters for local Chinese and global automakers,” said Wu Dan, general manager, China, Corning Environmental Technologies. “This is the first step in our plans for production of DuraTrap® GC filters in China and we look forward to continuing our commitment to customers with this investment.”
Corning is a leading supplier of advanced cellular ceramic substrates and particulate filters for the world's major manufacturers of gasoline and diesel engines. The company invented an economical, high-performance, cellular ceramic substrate in the early 1970s that is now the standard for catalytic converters worldwide. In 1978, Corning developed the cellular ceramic particulate filter to remove soot from diesel emissions. Corning continues to leverage its expertise in material science and manufacturing to develop market-leading emissions control solutions that help our customers meet new emissions standards and enable cleaner air worldwide.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995), which are based on current expectations and assumptions about Corning’s financial results and business operations, that involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include: the effect of global political, economic and business conditions; conditions in the financial and credit markets; currency fluctuations; tax rates; product demand and industry capacity; competition; reliance on a concentrated customer base; manufacturing efficiencies; cost reductions; availability of critical components and materials; new product commercialization; pricing fluctuations and changes in the mix of sales between premium and non-premium products; new plant start-up or restructuring costs; possible disruption in commercial activities due to terrorist activity, armed conflict, political or financial instability, natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, or major health concerns; adequacy of insurance; equity company activities; acquisition and divestiture activities; the level of excess or obsolete inventory; the rate of technology change; the ability to enforce patents; product and components performance issues; retention of key personnel; stock price fluctuations; and adverse litigation or regulatory developments. These and other risk factors are detailed in Corning’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the day that they are made, and Corning undertakes no obligation to update them in light of new information or future events.
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About Corning Incorporated
Corning (www.corning.com) is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have created new industries and transformed people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in R&D, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges. Corning’s businesses and markets are constantly evolving. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. They include damage-resistant cover glass for smartphones and tablets; precision glass for advanced displays; optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for high-speed communications networks; trusted products that accelerate drug discovery and manufacturing; and emissions-control products for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles.