The AGY manufacturing operation is divided into two primary business units: Technical Fibers and Advanced Materials. The Technical Fibers business unit supports our E-Glass portfolio of products. The customers serviced by this portion of the business are in a wide variety of markets and applications such as aerospace, electronics, automotive and sporting goods. The Advanced Materials business unit supports the portion of the portfolio that utilizes not only some of the E-Glass specialty products, but also the products made from all of the other glass types offered by AGY, such as S-2 Glass® yarns, S-2 Glass® rovings, S-2 Glass® chop, L-Glass® yarns, Zentron® rovings and S-3 HDI® Glass yarns. These products support a wide variety of markets such as defense, aerospace, electronics, and architectural roofing, as well as some specialty medical and sporting goods applications. Each of these business units supports a global customer base.
In Technical Fibers, glass is produced using a Direct Melt process that combines ingredients to create an E-Glass recipe. Raw materials, such as sand, clay, and limestone are mixed together and fed into a refractory furnace which has oxygen-gas burners and electrodes to provide the energy required to heat the batch mixture to nearly 3000°F, creating molten glass. Glass flow is then cooled and distributed to several forming positions (bushings) to create fiber glass.
In Advanced Materials, glass is fiberized using one of two different melting technologies with either batch ingredients or pre-formed glass marbles as the input. Depending on the product, the fiberized glass filaments will range in diameter from 4 to 24 microns, a fraction of the size of a human hair. Filaments are then bundled together using a chemical binding agent to create singular strand. Fiberizing process speeds can reach up to 10,000 linear feet per minute. Once formed, the strand packages are further processed downstream by twisting the yarn onto one of several different bobbin configurations, chopping the yarn to a specified length, or using it in an assembled roving process.