HWI Invests in Converting Closed Fairfield, Alabama Plant into Advanced Refractories Manufacturing Hub
Thursday, February 24, 2022
HarbisonWalker International (HWI/US), the largest supplier of refractory products and services in North America, announced in January 2022 that it intends to invest approximately USD 25 million to convert its closed property in Fairfield, Alabama, into Alabama One (AL1) – a manufacturing, service, and distribution hub for steel customers in the southern of USA. Construction will begin during the first quarter of 2022, and the 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 of USA," said Carol Jackson, Chairman and CEO of HWI.
The company anticipates hiring 50 highly trained technicians and staff in a team-based environment at the plant. HWI will begin recruiting qualified employees for anticipated positions in early 2022 and provide training as needed. HWI’s proposed new plant will produce world-class magnesia-carbon brick refractories specifically engineered to maximize efficiency and performance in critical steelmaking applications like steel ladles and low-emission electric arc furnaces (EAFs). Initially, production will add approximately 15 000 t annually and ultimately up to 30 000 t as additional equipment is added by 2023. AL1 will become one of HWI's most technologically advanced and modernized facilities and contribute to HWI's 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. HWI is committed to environmental sustainability and working toward carbon-neutral operations. The proposed new AL1 facility reflects HWI's continued commitment to support its steel customers' investments by boosting production capabilities, enhancing product quality and innovations, and upgrading facilities. During the past several years, the company has invested in its Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, and Ontario facilities, which also produce products used in steelmaking.
In 2019, HWI's closure of its Fairfield plant was in direct response to the company's entrepreneurial business decision to exit its 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.