Introducing Alabama One (AL1)
HarbisonWalker International intends to invest in converting closed Fairfield, Alabama plant into advanced refractories manufacturing hub for southern U.S. steelmakers
Proposed $25 million investment will increase refractory capacity and efficiency commensurate with steel customers’ production investments
Today, we announced our intentions to invest approximately $25 million to convert our closed property at 2595 Ensley-Pleasant Grove Road in Fairfield, Alabama, into Alabama One (AL1) – a manufacturing, service, and distribution hub for steel customers in the southern United States. Construction will begin during the first quarter of 2022, and the 200,000 sq. ft. facility is expected to open before the end of 2022.
“After considering several location options, we are pleased to become a part of the Fairfield – Birmingham business community in Jefferson County again and bring jobs to the region. The location is ideal for delivering quality refractory products and high-value services to our customers’ growing steel operations in the southern U.S.,” said Carol Jackson, Chairman and CEO.
“Fairfield is excited to welcome HarbisonWalker International to our city as a southern hub for its operations. We look forward to a continued relationship to help this global company grow,” said Mayor Eddie Penny, City of Fairfield.
We anticipate hiring 50 highly trained technicians and staff in a team-based environment at the plant. We will begin recruiting qualified employees for anticipated positions in early 2022 and provide training as needed. We expect that several jobs will have transferrable skills, such as welders, electricians, and mechanics, and will encourage local applicants through job fairs and other recruiting efforts, including working with Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) to hire and train new employees.
“We are excited to work with HarbisonWalker International to bring jobs to the Fairfield area of Jefferson County,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, who chairs the commission’s Economic Development Committee. “Providing more and better opportunities for our citizens is our goal in working with companies and municipalities.”
This proposed new plant will produce world-class magnesia-carbon brick refractories specifically engineered to maximize efficiency and performance in critical steel making applications like steel ladles and low-emission electric arc furnaces (EAFs). Initially, production will add approximately 15,000 metric tons annually and ultimately up to 30,000 metric tons as additional equipment is added by 2023.
AL1 will become one of our most technologically advanced and modernized facilities and contribute to our environmental and sustainability goals through energy-efficient operations. It will feature a high degree of robotics automation and technology and utilize lean techniques throughout its processes. We are committed to environmental sustainability and working toward carbon-neutral operations.
“The fundamentals for manufacturing and distribution success remain solid in the Fairfield area of Birmingham, and that’s evident by HarbisonWalker International returning to build a southern hub for its refractory business,” said Ron Kitchens, CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, which worked with the company on this project. “Our distribution network and workforce are strong and will support future opportunities for this global company to grow.”
The proposed new AL1 facility reflects our company’s continued commitment to support our steel customers’ investments by boosting production capabilities, enhancing product quality and innovations, and upgrading facilities. During the past several years, we have also invested in our Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, and Ontario facilities, which also produce products used in steelmaking.
In 2019, the closure of our Fairfield plant was in direct response to the entrepreneurial business decision to exit our Carbon Bake brick products line of business due to the decline of the aluminum carbon bake market in North America and increasing product production costs.
About HarbisonWalker International
With more than 150 years of industry leadership and global recognition, HarbisonWalker International is the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the United States. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the company’s international network spans North America, Europe, and Asia, with 18 manufacturing plants, 20 global sourcing centers, and 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.