Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 09.03.2016.| 12:14
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(NOMINATION FOR 2016 AUREA AWARD): Knauf Insulation - Implementation of ECOSE Technology in Rock Wool Production

On January 1st, 2016, in its Surdulica-based plant, Knauf Insulation started production of rock mineral wool using new technology based on fast renewable oil-based substances instead of on chemicals. Knauf Insulation Group patented ECOSE® technology in 2009 when it was used for the first time in production of glass mineral wool. So far, these products have positioned high at the market of insulation materials and received numerous awards worldwide, and in the meantime the company was working on improving the production process in Surdulica so that new technology could be applied in rock mineral production as well. Since Surdulica-based plant demonstrated huge progress in the previous 10 years, it was entrusted to use this technology as the first one in a group for production of glass mineral wool for construction.

During the entire 2015, tests and rehearsals were carried out and production technology was prepared so that new ECOSE® technology could begin in 2016 uninterruptedly.

This technology eliminates formaldehyde and phenol from traditional binders used in different industries, including mineral wool industry, and a new binder is based on natural, renewable materials from nature. Products at the same time keep or improve high level of performance - a combination of heat and sound insulation features, as well as fire protection. Energy required for production of binders is reduced which provides greater environmental sustainability.

With implementation of ECOSE® technology in Surdulica-based plant, Knauf Insulation became a unique company with a unique product at domestic market. More than 40,000 tons of rock mineral wool will be produced in Surdulica annually and implementation of new technology into production will not affect the price of the product itself. Knauf Insulation launches rock wool from Surdulica to the markets of Bulgaria and Romania, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, etc.


(Photo: Gajus/
Belgrade-based Knauf Insulation d.o.o. is part of the international Knauf Insulation Group and produces rock mineral wool at its Surdulica-based plant. Rock mineral wool is a universal insulating material of mineral origin which is used for thermal and acoustic insulation as well as for fire protection of facilities in construction and industry. Rock of volcanic origin is used for rock mineral wool production and material based on petroleum derivatives containing formaldehyde is used as a binder which binds wool fibers - so far, Knauf Insulation has not distinguished from other manufacturers of this product in Europe and world.

What makes rock wool innovative through ECOSE Technology?

ECOSE® technology is an innovative technology with no formaldehyde added, based on rapidly renewable materials instead of oil-based chemicals. This innovation eliminates formaldehyde and phenol from traditional binders used in various industries, including mineral wool industrial, while new binder is based on natural, renewable materials from nature. New binder base is bio-materials which turn into an inert polymer during mineral wool production which makes extremely strong binder which binds mineral wool fibers.

Insulation products themselves where binder with ECOSE technology is added do not resemble other insulation, neither for its look or touch, since they do not contain added colors or pigments and are pleasant to handle. In addition, it is the only rock mineral wool at the market which is of earthy brown color. At the same time, product maintains high level of performance (heat and sound insulation features, as well as fire protection), and reduces energy necessary to produce binders, which provides greater environmental sustainability.

Since Surdulica-based plant is the only plant for production of rock wool in Serbia - new ECOSE® technology is for us completely new thing. Apart from that, although it was primarily designed for industry of mineral wool- rock and glass, in the future it can be used in other industries as well where replacement of binders containing formaldehyde would contribute to production improvement.

As for now, Surdulica-based Knauf Insulation is the only one in the region which produces in line with new technology and it is planned that other plants for production of rock mineral wool in the Group (app. 10 of them) gradually switch to new production method.


(Photo: Romolo Tavani/
With elimination of formaldehyde and phenol from traditional binder used in production of mineral wool, Knauf Insulation made a big step in insulation industry – out of chemical industry and getting closer to nature.

Why is this important?

Formaldehyde is contained in almost everything that surrounds us. Its use is strictly controlled and limits for presence of this substances are clearly defined (as it was the case in current production of rock mineral wool) since quantity higher than regulated can be harmful for health.

While traditional binder which is used in production of glass and rock mineral wool mineral contains formaldehyde in limited values, new products with ECOSE® Technology binder do not contain added formaldehyde. Thus, new generation of mineral wool with ECOSE Technology, all participants in the construction process are provided with additional quality:

- Higher sustainability level: due to high concentration of recycled materials, binders, which uses less energy in its own production, and because there is no added formaldehyde, mineral wool with ECOSE® technology contributes to improvement of overall sustainability of buildings where it is installed.

- Green construction: Knauf Insulation mineral wool products contribute to overall facility rating in most commonly used systems of green construction (LEED and BREEAM). Mineral wool with ECOSE® Technology additionally improves facility categorization. With Knauf Insulation mineral wool, additional points are assigned thanks to biodegradable binder without added formaldehyde (ECOSE Technology) - "Indoor Air Quality (LEED and BREEAM)" and "Rapidly renewable materials (LEED)".

- Production department: Production of Knauf Insulation mineral wool with ECOSE® Technology in Surdulica is certified with key international ISO standards:

• ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System,

• ISO 14001:2007 Environmental Protection Management System,

• OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety at Work Management System,

• EN ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management Systems

- Exposure at workplace: rock mineral wool with ECOSE®Technology is produced without addition of formaldehyde so healthy environment for work in production of our materials is provided.


With a product portfolio of new generation with ECOSE® technology, Knauf Insulation positions itself as a unique company with a unique product at the market. Product stands out with its quality and increased sustainability (due to binder composition, content of recycled materials and reduced energy used for production), as well as its aesthetics - it is the only rock wool at the market that is of earthy brown color which is obtained in production process, with no artificial colors added.

Investment of introducing ECOSE technology to the plant for production of rock mineral wool in Surdulica totaled EUR 800.000 in 2015. This was preceded by numerous investments which developed the plant to the extent that new technology can be used and total investment of Knauf Insulation in Serbia totals about EUR 30 m in ten years.

After preparation, tests and test production during 2015, production of rock wool in Surdulica-based plant started in early 2016 so entire production output this year was done in line with new technology (they are waiting for stock with old products to empty and to completely deliver rock mineral wool with new technology at the market).

The company produces more than 40.000 t of rock wool per year and so far it has produced more than 3,000 tons with new technology.

Knauf Insulation exports about 60% of production output from Surdulica-based plant to the markets of Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey, and sporadically to other markets where there is a need for their insulation material.

If the implementation of ECOSE Technology in rock wool production at Knauf Insulation is your favorite for the Investment of the Year Award, you can vote for this nomination at the official website of the Aurea Award.

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