South Point Grand Opening Combines Families, Customers, Community and Technology
On August 21, 2018, several hundred well-wishers gathered at HWI’s new plant in South Point, Ohio to commemorate a new era in manufacturing and customer service. In attendance were employees of the plant and their families, HWI leadership and project teams, HWI customers, community development stakeholders, and public officials.
The new South Point Plant is a $30 million investment and produces monolithic refractory products – one of the fastest growing industry segments. These are products that can be formed to fit the needs of a wide range of customers across numerous industries.
The program was kicked-off by a performance by the South Point High School Marching Band and a flag ceremony led by Ironton Boy Scout Troop #106.
HWI President and CEO Carol Jackson extended a warm welcome to everyone and noted that the new plant is “the kind of achievement that requires extraordinary people who are engaged in the process. People who exceed objectives. People who innovate solutions and want to succeed together – for each other, our company, and our customers.”
She recognized the interdisciplinary teams that worked collaboratively, and successfully, to make the new plant a reality and the employees and team members in South Point for their accomplishment in having the plant become operatorial in barely over a year from the ground breaking.
She also thanked the local community and elected officials for their strong support of the project. Ohio Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Ryan Smith, Lawrence County Commissioners Bill Pratt, DaAnna Holiday and Freddie Hayes, Jr., and South Point Village Mayor Jeff Gaskin offered official proclamations. They were joined by representatives for Ohio Governor John Kasich, US Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and Congressman Bill Johnson in wishing HWI and its employees great success.
Gildas Dupouy, HWI senior director of operations, provided additional perspective on the revolutionary design of the new facility. “This plant features advanced processes and new equipment technology that enables us to further elevate product quality and consistency. We designed the site using lean techniques throughout our operations to maximize material flow and increase operating efficiencies.”
The South Point plant will operate as ahigh-volume facility, focusing on replentishing stocks of products that are most critical to HWI’s customers. This will enable satisfying most products from inventory, droping lead times considerably.
Tom Roberts, South Point plant manager, received applause upon introduction by Kevin Ballard, HWI senior director, engineering and process improvement, who also recognized all of the construction partners for the project. “After being with HWI for more than 20 years, I can tell you that creating a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has been on our radar for a long time. What you see before you here in South Point is the result of a long-term vision, backed by a team of people who live our slogan, ‘intensity at work.’ But it is also the result of a leadership team who believed in the vision and knew this was the time to make it all happen.”
Mike Werner, HWI senior vice president of commercial, told attendees, “This investment in new technology and capacity defines our commitment to our industry and our customers. The combination of equipment technology and process will lead to improved quality and product consistency.”
The new form, fill, and seal packaging line has been engineered for safety, convenience and performance. The product bags are cleaner, stack better and are easier to handle – a nice value for HWI employees and customers.
After the formal program, attendees were treated to a picnic-style lunch, complete with local food vendors. Employees, their families, HWI customers, and invited guests were also invited to tour the facility.
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About HarbisonWalker International
With more than 150 years of industry leadership, HarbisonWalker International (HWI) 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 19 manufacturing plants, 30 global sourcing centers, and technology facilities in both the United States and China. 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.