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HarbisonWalker International celebrates grand opening of new monolithics refractory plant in South Point, Ohio

Sep 06, 2018 / Press Releases
South Point Grand Opening

State-of-the-art processes and technology, new to North America, are designed to deliver unparalleled quality, safety, and service to customers 

South Point, Ohio — August 21, 2018 — HarbisonWalker International (HWI), the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the U.S., officially marked a new chapter in the company’s 150+ years of industry leadership by celebrating the grand opening of its newly constructed, state-of-the-art monolithic refractories manufacturing plant in South Point, Ohio.

HWI announced in February 2017 that it was investing $30 million to build a technologically advanced refractories plant as the next step in its strategy to continuously improve performance and respond to customers’ needs. Ground was broken for the new plant on June 8, 2017. The plant began shipping products in spring 2018, opening in just one year and within its planned schedule and budget.

“Our new plant at South Point is a game-changer. It is the most advanced refractory facility in North America and, likely, in the world. It reinvents how we’re producing and delivering quality monolithic products. It represents the future of our company and, in many ways, the future of US refractories manufacturing,” said Carol Jackson, chairman and CEO, HarbisonWalker International.

The plant features new state-of-the-art processes and technology and utilizes lean manufacturing techniques throughout its operations to maximize material flow efficiency and production. Led by Tom Roberts, plant manager, the South Point team of 40 highly-trained and highly-skilled technicians and staff operates in a team-based environment.

The facility also employs form, fill, and seal advanced packaging technologies that are new to the North American refractory market. The new packaging offers improved product consistency, shelf life, and storage, along with easier and safer handling.

“While some of the advanced technologies, processes, and equipment at South Point may be similar elsewhere – what makes this plant so outstanding is the ingenious design, engineering, and configuration of these elements. This configuration – combined with our overall approach – is completely revolutionary,” said Douglas Hall, senior vice president, Integrated Supply Chain at HarbisonWalker International.

The new plant, along with several other capital investments at other HWI manufacturing facilities, is already further elevating product quality and consistency and having a positive impact on product availability, ordering, packaging, and support for customers.

“We went from an ideal commercial site to a state-of-the-art monolithic plant in one year’s time in South Point. At the same time, we’ve been hard at work, literally transforming our supply chain and business processes. It’s all been possible because every day our intensely dedicated team demonstrates extraordinary collaboration, without compromising quality, safety, or ever losing sight of customers’ needs,” noted Jackson.

The new South Point plant is one significant example of HWI’s forward-thinking strategy to harness technology, innovate, and invest for future growth. In addition to facilities investments, during the past year, the company has also launched an Intellectual Asset Council, a Business Technology Council, and enhanced its Rapid Technology Advancement process. Cross-functional teams are identifying new ways to use data and analytics and apply open innovation concepts to create solutions. HWI will also launch a new ERP system in the fall, which will support every aspect of the company.

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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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