HarbisonWalker Addresses Expanding Steel Demand with Facility Upgrades and Capacity Increases
Mirroring its steel customers’ investments to boost production capabilities and upgrade facilities, HarbisonWalker is investing to increase capacity by 25% in 2019 at key steel refractory facilities.
HarbisonWalker International (HWI) recently announced that it is responding to domestic steelmakers’ increased capacity through several new initiatives. At the recent AISTech, HWI detailed capital investments, product developments, and refractory digital transformation programs. In addition, Carol R. Jackson, chairman and CEO, joined steel leaders to provide industry perspectives as a featured panelist at AISTech’s 2019 Town Hall Forum.
“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.”
Mirroring its steel customers’ investments to boost production capabilities and upgrade facilities, HWI is investing to increase capacity by 25% in 2019 at key steel refractory facilities. Much of the investment will be at the company’s White Cloud, Mich., facility, which manufactures refractory products primarily for steelmakers. This is the latest in a series of capital investments that HWI has made at White Cloud over the past three years. In 2018, the company integrated new equipment and technologies to modernize the facility.
The 2019 investment includes expansion to accommodate new warehouse and shipping space. 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.”
In addition to physical expansion and technology integration in its plants, HWI reports that it is taking a holistic approach to advancing its use of data. HWI is initiating programs to help customers transition numerous decision-making processes from experienced-based to data-based, through the use of various sensor and data acquisition systems, for instance.
Through the expertise of its team and strategic partnerships with industry leaders, HWI is reportedly 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.
“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,” said 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.”
For more information, visit http://thinkhwi.com.