By Erin Smith
Kuraray America, Inc. announced late Wednesday afternoon they are planning to invest $20 million at the Fayetteville Works site in Bladen County. The investment will feature the modernization of the Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) Film line and the phasing out of PVB resin production at the Fayetteville Works plant.
In a release, Kuraray officials said the PVB resin operations will be consolidated at the Washington Works facility in West Virginia.
Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess said, “This is a real positive thing for Bladen County and the Fayetteville Works site.”
Heustess described the modernization process as the installation of the next generation of technology. He said the company is planning to invest $20 million to modernize the PVB Film operations. The PVB film is utilized in automobile windshields to create the tinting and for safety.
The announcement also brought sobering news the company will be reducing its workforce over the next two years as a result of the changes. A press release from the company states, “The Fayetteville Plant currently produces PVB resin and extruded film. After 2020, Fayetteville will focus on the development and production of PVB film and SentryGlas™ interlayers. While this change will result in an overall reduction in workforce, the process will take approximately two years to complete. Employees were notified of the decision on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.”
“This is a major announcement for our company, especially for our employees in Fayetteville,” said Steve Cox, General Manager of the PVB Division. “This decision was made after a detailed analysis of all potential options to improve global cost competitiveness and ensure the long-term success of the PVB Division and the sustainability of the Fayetteville site.”
Bladen County Commissioner Chairman Charles Ray Peterson said, “We’re glad they’re expanding. Hopefully there won’t be any job loss.”
Chairman Peterson said when it comes to technology, there is always a chance for job loss to occur. He added the investment by Kuraray shows the company’s commitment to Bladen County.
“Anytime a company is investing in you, it’s a good thing,” said Chairman Peterson.
For more information, visit www.kuraray.us.com.