Factory Operations and Production

Our new facility at work. Learn how the insulation is made and about the day-to-day operations of the factory including trucking, water usage, and emergency preparedness.

Download Production Process Fact Sheet

Navigate to additional information about our facility and investment Ranson, WV

Making ROCKWOOL insulation in Ranson

Production at our 130-acre site in the city of Ranson WV is slated to launch in fall 2020. Once up and running, the ROCKWOOL manufacturing facility will produce stone wool insulation for residential, commercial, and industrial uses.

Overview of the stone wool manufacturing process

The stone wool manufacturing process consists of the following 8 steps (also shown in the below visual) that account for ROCKWOOL insulation safety precautions for those working inside the plant.

  1. Material Handling / Charging
  2. Melting
  3. Spinning
  4. Wool Collection
  5. Curing / Cooling
  6. Cutting and Marking
  7. Recycling Plant
  8. Packing / Unit Load

Learn more about how insulation is made in our production process fact sheet and the list of materials used in the manufacturing of stone wool in our raw materials fact sheet.

rockwool-production-plants-state-of-the-art-technology-process

ROCKWOOL production plants utilize state-of-the-art technology in the development of light- and heavy-density batt insulation.

Factory tour: see for yourself the operations and production of our stone wool insulation

ROCKWOOL Ranson, Jefferson County, West Virginia final rendering of factory scheduled to open 2020

Advanced Manufacturing Factory Tour

We’re proud of the efficiency and productivity of our manufacturing facilities. They offer a unique combination of state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and people working together to ensure the highest product quality.

Production Process Fact Sheet

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Industrial Health and Safety Precautions

In general, all employees are required to wear standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for work in an industrial facility. Specific areas require hearing protection, and specific tasks may require additional safety gear that is provided by the company.

Our indoor air quality does not require employees to wear respirators or dust masks in their regular duties. Specific tasks requiring confined space entry are subject to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and appropriate PPE is provided and used as required.

As you saw in the production process map above, a mix of raw materials comprised of rocks and recycled slag gets delivered to the manufacturing location by truck and fed into a melter.

The stones are then melted into a lava, which is then spun into fibers in a process much like making cotton candy.

While being spun, the fibers are sprayed with a binder and de-dust oil and then formed into a fleecy web that gets conveyed into a curing oven where the binder is cured.

Next, the product is cooled, cut, packaged and staged for shipment. The finished product is transported to customers by truck.

We are not batch mixing chemicals or producing resins at the Ranson facility. All ingredients will be injected together during the binder application at the spinners.

Monthly Newsletter

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Emergency Preparedness

At ROCKWOOL, we take all available precautions to prevent an emergency. As part of our emergency preparedness planning, we have conducted a risk assessment that includes risks associated with fire, explosion, and spills.

This detailed risk assessment has concluded that no event on-site will cause any evacuation situation for schools and neighbors.

We have been pleased with the proactive nature of ROCKWOOL officials in offering their help to us as we learn about the new technology on which they have based their processes... The potential of a minor or major incident regarding ROCKWOOL is no different than any other home or facility across the region.

Ross L. Morgan and Marshall DeMeritt

Fire Chief and MS, EMS Chief, Shepherdstown Fire Department
See the fire chief’s full statement

Mitigating noise pollution

Based on our experiences with previous factories and our continued investment in innovation, we do not expect noise levels at our Ranson, West Virginia factory to exceed 50 dB – equivalent to a quiet suburb or conversation at home – at our property line. 

Noise levels at the new facility will not exceed permitted limits of 65dB, as noise abating technologies will be applied to areas including chimneys, exhaust vents, air intakes and open windows to reduce the impact.

ROCKWOOL ensuring minimal noise around RAN5 factory for ranson, jefferson county, wv community

ROCKWOOL is taking precautions to ensure minimal noise around the factory in the Ranson community.

Historical development in number of complaints by North American factory - updated October of 2018

Historical development in number of complaints by North American factory - updated October of 2018.

Will the ROCKWOOL factory affect visibility in the area?

We take being a neighbor seriously. A thorough assessment has been performed of the potential visibility impacts on nearby areas.

Both the Antietam National Battlefield (Antietam) and Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park (Harper’s Ferry) were prioritized as areas near the proposed project that are considered sensitive with respect to potential visibility impacts.

A Visibility Modelling Analysis completed by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History confirmed that limits were met for both locations as well as for properties identified by the National Register (Farms: Hazelfield, Tackley, and Rellim Orchard) and that the facility will not have any adverse visual effects on the properties.

The vent from the two main stacks will be minimally visible and will consist mostly of evaporated water. The factory has stringent requirements regarding opacity that we fulfill with the support of high efficient abatement (using bag filter, wet electrostatic, and precipitator technology).

The two primary stacks are permitted for their heights of 213 feet each. Additional, smaller stacks are allowed within the existing permit. Our stack heights are determined by the WV DEP requirements and regulations for aviation safety and will be installed with lights.

Stack heights are designed to meet dispersion requirements to pass air modeling requirements. ROCKWOOL is using state-of-the-art equipment to ensure emissions meet all applicable regulations at the Ranson facility.  

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wesp-plume-opacity-technology-at-factory

Plume opacity with WESP on and off, showing near invisibility with this abatement technology.

WESP plume opacity against map of Jefferson County, WV showing the distance from the factory to Antietam and Harper's Ferry.

WESP plume opacity against map of Jefferson County, WV showing the distance from the factory to Antietam and Harper's Ferry.

Assessment from the West Virginia Division of Air Quality

As part of completing our due diligence, the potential visibility degradation from the vent in the area has also been assessed by the West Virginia Division of Air Quality (WVDAQ).

The purpose was to investigate the appropriateness of applying the EPA VISCREEN (Version 1.01, dated 13190) visibility model to sensitive viewsheds within these areas to assess the project’s impact on visual impairment. 

The WVDAQ concluded that no plume visual impact screening and analysis was necessary. If it becomes necessary in the future, VISCREEN will be executed following the procedures described in EPA’s Workbook for Plume Visual Impact Screening and Analysis for Level-1 visibility assessments.1

Will the facility result in an increase in truck traffic in Ranson?

ROCKWOOL relies on transportation from trucks to both deliver raw materials to the factory and for delivery of final products to distributors and retailers.

Factory traffic will primarily occur Monday through Friday and we do not expect our truck traffic for the factory in Jefferson County to be a nuisance to our neighbors or the community. The total traffic, including employee vehicles, is expected to result in a two percent increase from existing traffic on WV-9.

Our goal is to ensure the most direct access between the highway and the factory to reduce the impact on local traffic, particularly in relation to schools. From the Ranson site, trucks will leave Northport Avenue, turn left on old Route 9, going the opposite direction of North Jefferson Elementary School, and access the highway at Wiltshire (shown in the second visual below).

We will keep the public informed if there are any changes to this estimate as the project moves forward.

For more information, download our truck traffic fact sheet.

ROCKWOOL truck traffic map statistics ranson, jefferson county, west virginia

Traffic information based on current and projected change with ROCKWOOL Ranson facility.

ROCKWOOL_Truck Traffic Route_Part 3_Ranson_Jefferson County_WV

From the Ranson site, trucks will leave Northport Avenue, turn left on old Route 9, going the opposite direction of North Jefferson Elementary School, and access the highway at Wiltshire.

Water usage in the production of stone wool

At our Ranson facility, we are implementing a closed-loop system where rainwater will be collected in two secure on-site ponds and used as the primary source of water in the ROCKWOOL production process. There is no production water discharged into the municipal sewer system or released into the environment.

In cases when rainwater is not sufficient for the production process, water supply will be supplemented by Jefferson Utilities, Inc. (JUI). Our water demand from JUI will not exceed 125,000 gallons per day. Based on a county-wide estimate of the annual available groundwater, our consumption will be less than one percent of the total available water supply.

The only water that will be discharged from the Ranson site into the sewer system is from sinks and toilets as well as water from the purification process. Any drinking water we take in from the water utility is purified for use in the industrial process by removing lime and other minerals, and then the residual is discharged into the sewer system. The discharged wastewater contains a similar mineral makeup to what’s in the utility-provided supply albeit in greater concentrations (ca. 4x).

The maximum volume of residual water from the purification process that will go to the Charles Town Waste Water Treatment Plant (CTWWTP) per our NPDES permit is 14,900 gallons per day (GPD). For more information on water inflow, usage and outflow visit our environment page.

Our efficient emissions control system

We use 'Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP)' technology for emissions control. This is highly efficient and considered a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for PM 2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 microns) abatement. We chose this method over a scrubber approach, which would have created a stream of wastewater.

Water treatment

We will be installing a reverse osmosis (RO) system at the factory as standard water treatment equipment. The RO is used to ensure the needed water quality for our production process, by limiting deposits and corrosion. Any water that is rejected through this process due to high concentration levels of total dissolved solids and salts is generated during the production of RO water and when back-flushing filters.

Water softening plant

The Ranson factory will also install a water softening plant to remove calcium and magnesium from the water, among other common minerals. This is done to ensure the longevity of the production equipment by limiting deposits (scaling) and corrosion. As with RO reject water, wastewater from the softening plant has concentrated levels of total dissolved solids and salts.

Monthly Newsletter

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Keep updated with the latest news and information on the ROCKWOOL development in Ranson, Jefferson County by subscribing to our eNewsletter.

Microsite Sizing: Ranson, West Virginia factory waterline and sewer line system diagram including all inflow and outflow of water from the facility. Includes details about the water in the closed-loop production process - water supply, stormwater collection pond. production water reuse pond.

ROCKWOOL Ranson, WV factory water system diagram shows an overview of the water and sewer line infrastructure supporting the closed-loop production process.

See for yourself how stone wool insulation is made

People working together, doing their jobs, teamwork, plant operations at the production manufacturing factory facility in Milton, ON

ROCKWOOL partnered with the Discovery and Science Channel for an episode of 'How it's made' to show the making of stone wool insulation at a North American factory.

Production Process Fact Sheet

Sources

1EPA, Workbook for Plume Visual Impact Screening and Analysis (Revised), EPA-454/R-92-023, 1992.

2Reference: County-Wide Groundwater Assessment, Jefferson County, West Virginia, Analytical Sciences Inc for Jefferson County Commission, April 2012

Sustainability

Looking for more information on the sustainable products and production process at ROCKWOOL? Check out our 'Sustainability' page for the Ranson facility.

Find additional information about the ROCKWOOL project

01

About ROCKWOOL

Who is ROCKWOOL and what is stone wool insulation?

Find out answers to these questions and more with information about our organization, its history and values, and an overview on the materials we use in manufacturing.

Learn more

02

Community and Economic Impact

We seek to make a positive impact in the City of Ranson and more broadly Jefferson County.

Through economic development that brings jobs for residents, opportunities for local businesses and support for local community organizations, we are focused on furthering the well-being of the community where we live and work.

Learn more

03

Jobs and Vendor Opportunities

150 jobs coming to Ranson, WV. Hiring starts in 2019.

ROCKWOOL is providing new manufacturing jobs in Jefferson County with an exceptional culture, wellness programs, investments in learning and development, and dedicated corporate social responsibility. We will also provide new vendor partner contract opportunities once the factory is in operation.

Learn more

04

Sustainability

At ROCKWOOL, sustainability is always top of mind.

Responsible business practices underpin everything we do. Sustainability is not only important for our products and brand, but also for our production process. We have ambitious targets for 2022 and 2030 to further reduce our environmental footprint in compliance with United Nations sustainability goals.

Learn more

05

Environment

Protecting against factory emissions to minimize the impact on air and water quality.

The state-of-the-art technology we use meets and exceeds regulatory requirements. We've also made a commitment to ongoing third-party air monitoring that will allow you to track air quality in the area.

Learn more

06

Construction and Permitting

An overview of the air, construction and environmental permits required.

Access detailed information regarding site selection for the factory, development and environmental management of the project.

Learn more

Documents and resources

 

 

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ROCKWOOL Byhalia Silo Construction Correspondence 10.13.16
ROCKWOOL Byhalia Silo Construction Correspondence 10.13.16
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ROCKWOOL WV DEP Notice Regarding Permit WVR108876
ROCKWOOL WV DEP Notice Regarding Permit WVR108876
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ROCKWOOL Passive House Solutions Guide
ROCKWOOL Passive House Solutions Guide
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ROCKWOOL LEED v4 Solutions Guide
ROCKWOOL LEED v4 Solutions Guide
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ROCKWOOL Group Code of Conduct for Suppliers
ROCKWOOL Group Code of Conduct for Suppliers
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ROCKWOOL Product Transparency Inventory - Technical Bulletin
ROCKWOOL Product Transparency Inventory - Technical Bulletin
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USGBC Building and Climate Change Report
USGBC Building and Climate Change Report
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9/18/2018 WVDEP - ROCKWOOL Air Permit Statement
9/18/2018 WVDEP - ROCKWOOL Air Permit Statement
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Water Usage and Recycling: Open House Materials
Water Usage and Recycling: Open House Materials
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Air Quality: Open House Materials
Air Quality: Open House Materials
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About ROCKWOOL: Open House Materials
About ROCKWOOL: Open House Materials
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Construction and Permitting: Open House Materials
Construction and Permitting: Open House Materials
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Community and Economic Impact: Open House Materials
Community and Economic Impact: Open House Materials
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ROCKWOOL Ranson (Jefferson County) Outreach Communications
ROCKWOOL Ranson (Jefferson County) Outreach Communications