HarbisonWalker International (HWI) officially marked a new chapter in the company’s more than 150 years of industry leadership with the grand opening of a 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. 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 U.S. refractories manufacturing,” said Carol Jackson, chairman and CEO, HarbisonWalker International.

The plant features state-of-the-art processes and technology and utilizes lean manufacturing techniques throughout its operations to maximize material flow efficiency and production. Led by Plant Manager Tom Roberts, the South Point team of 40 highly trained and skilled technicians and staff operate 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. 

Carol Jackson, chairman and CEO, and Doug Hall, SVP Integrated Supply Chain, cut the ribbon for HarbisonWalker International's South Point plant with the HWI leadership team. Photo by Elliott Cramer.

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