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At AISTech 2019, HarbisonWalker International Announces Investments to Scale Up and Step Up for U.S. Steel Industry Customers

May 06, 2019 / Press Releases

HWI Announces Investments and Digital Refractory Transformation at Booth 1715; Carol Jackson, CEO, will Join Steel Industry Leaders as an AISTech 2019 Town Hall Forum Panelist

Pittsburgh, PA – May 2019 – HarbisonWalker International (HWI), the largest supplier of refractory products and services in North America, is responding to domestic steelmakers’ increased capacity and solving their refractory challenges through several new initiatives. At Booth #1715 at AISTech, May 6-9, 2019, HWI will detail capital investments, product developments, and refractory digital transformation programs designed to deliver exceptional products, services, and value for steel industry customers.

Also at AISTech, Carol R. Jackson, Chairman and CEO, HarbisonWalker International, will join steel leaders to provide industry perspectives as a featured panelist at AISTech’s 2019 Town Hall Forum on Wednesday, May 8.

“We are proud to have helped fuel our U.S. steel industry customers’ success in 2018 by consistently delivering on the tremendous demand for refractory products and services,” said Jackson. “We were able to source critical refractory raw materials when others could not. Our teams stepped up in a big way to maximize our supply chain and production capacity to meet the surge in demand. Looking ahead, we are continuing to make investments in our business to help ensure our steel customers’ sustained growth.”

HWI Investing Proportionately with U.S. Steelmakers

Mirroring its steel customers’ investments to boost production capabilities and upgrade facilities, HWI is investing to increase capacity by 25 percent in 2019 at key steel refractory facilities. In fact, approximately one-half of HWI’s capital investment dollars will have a direct positive impact on its steel industry customers. Much of the investment will be at its White Cloud, Michigan facility, which manufactures refractory products primarily for steelmakers.

This is the latest in a series of capital investments that that HWI has made at White Cloud over the past three years. In 2018, HWI integrated new equipment and technologies to modernize the facility.

The 2019 investment includes expansion to accommodate new warehouse and shipping space, which is being constructed with American-made steel. Additional manufacturing space will house new production technologies, including a new brick press and packaging line, manufacturing technologies that improve production efficiency and worker safety.

“The improvements will further optimize production, product quality, and delivery efficiencies for our steel customers,” said Jackson. “The new press and warehouse increase our capacity to supply our industry-leading products including mag carbon brick for steel ladles, electric arc furnaces (EAF), and basic oxygen furnaces (BOF). The new packaging line allows for increased handling safety and provides quality control benefits associated with our product.”

One year after announcing its plan to significantly invest in monolithic refractories manufacturing, HWI built and opened a new, state-of-the-art facility in South Point, Ohio in 2018. It is North America’s most technologically advanced refractories plant and one of the top globally. Featuring state-of-the-art processes and technology, the South Point plant is now fully operational and supplying steel industry products.

Digital Transformation of Refractories

In addition to physical expansion and technology integration in its plants, HWI is evolving the refractory industry for the 21st century by taking a holistic approach to advancing its use of data. HWI is aggressively initiating programs to help customers transition numerous decision-making processes from experienced-based to data-based, through use of various sensor and data acquisition systems, for instance.

Through the expertise of its team and strategic partnerships with industry leaders, HWI is employing sensor technologies, such as infrared cameras, and also utilizing three-dimensional laser measurement to make digital twins of physical assets. These technologies, along with ‘edge’ software that can access datasets from various plant level sources, are helping HWI develop tools to increase product campaign life and improve worker safety. Performance data will also benefit future generations of HWI products.

The outcomes for steelmakers include closer collaboration for customized products and continuous improvement, optimizing throughput and analytical insights to find even more significant cost savings.

“HWI is working to transform data into process improvements and business intelligence that help steel industry customers work safer and smarter, with even better tools for knowledge sharing,” noted Jackson. “Combining our digital transformation with HWI’s proven products and the industry-leading expertise of our field services team, we’re effectively positioned to deliver for our steel customers today and in the future as our industries evolve together.”

Industry-Leading Products and Services

HWI is the largest domestic manufacturer of refractories for the U.S. iron and steel industry. As the inventors of COMANCHE®, the company revolutionized ladle refractory practices and has created the refractory industry’s widest, deepest line of solutions.

In keeping with its legacy of product leadership, HWI’s new BARRICADE® line of mag carbon refractories are designed to combat the vertical cracking phenomenon seen in steel ladle refractory linings during service. BARRICADE® utilizes special “dual carbon” formulations that enhance the “flexibility” of the material system when faced with thermal shock.

HWI has also recently innovated and patented new functional product solutions that are helping steel customers further reduce downtime and increase performance. These solutions allow for faster, easier installation with improved ergonomics.

In addition to its products, HWI also provides around-the-clock support from the most extensive service team in the U.S. and offers dedicated iron and steel application specialists who provide highly customized solutions.

Learn more about HWI solutions for the iron and steel industry:

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About HWI, A member of Calderys

HWI is the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the United States, with a history that spans more than 150 years. It is part of Calderys and is the brand for the Americas region of the Group. HWI counts 25 manufacturing sites and 20 distribution centers in the Americas, as well as the largest refractory industry research facility in North America. Serving virtually every major industry that requires refractory solutions to enhance production and protect assets, HWI is consistently recognized for its talented experts, industry firsts, and intensely driven excellence.

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