GIW Expansion: Keeping Up with the Pace of Progress
There is an insatiable appetite worldwide for raw materials. Steady population growth and globalization have combined to create a constant need for the basics. Mining companies that deal in raw materials are always looking for partners that can meet the demand for bigger, better, faster production lines.
At our Grovetown, Georgia plant, GIW Industries, Inc. is expanding to answer that call. Our parent company, KSB, has invested in a major expansion of our foundry and distribution center. The new facilities are designed with growth in mind, enabling us to handle the pace of our customers’ orders today and to accommodate future growth.
The new foundry and distribution center will make it easier for GIW to keep up our commitments to our customers. When completed, the Grovetown foundry will be the No. 1 white-iron foundry in the world, boasting state-of-the-art equipment, highly efficient workflows, top safety features, and significantly greater capacity for both output and storage of very large slurry pumping equipment.
The expansion will accommodate not only GIW’s growth, but also the growth of our customers. As the world’s population grows, mining companies must increase production to meet the demand for raw materials. They are employing larger and larger equipment, including the new generation of “super pumps.” GIW has crafted pumps with impellers as large as 2.2 meters in diameter, weighing 52 tons!
To accommodate the large-scale equipment we produce, the new plant is 72 feet tall and has six cranes. The building is so high, we are installing aircraft warning lights on the roof.
A significant investment, but a sound decision
Why did KSB choose to invest in such a large expansion? GIW has been growing steadily; our company size and revenue have increased by nearly 3.5 times over the past 12 years. We’ve met this growing demand by increasing the efficiency of our internal processes and by outsourcing some of our production.
However, outsourcing isn’t a good long-term solution. In the entire world, there are only a handful of white iron producers, and they cannot produce parts as cost-effectively as we can at our North American foundry.
At GIW, white-iron production is our specialty; our proprietary alloys are the result of decades of fine-tuning and expert engineering. When we produce our parts locally, we have the advantage of being able to do so very efficiently, while ensuring the quality meets our high standards.
In addition, our Grovetown foundry uses 60% recycled materials, most of which come from our own North American customers. Thus, our strategic location keeps our material costs low.
KSB recognizes that the ability to combine efficiency with cost-effective production is the best long-term strategy for both GIW and our customers.
As we come to the end of 2014, the foundry building is complete, and the cranes are being installed. Next up is the installation of equipment; we’ll be putting in new heat treatment furnaces, melting furnaces, and sand silos. We’ll also be taking bids for the next stage of our project — the expansion of our Distribution Center, scheduled for completion in mid-2016.
One of the most exciting parts of the expansion right now is the way our maintenance team is taking advantage of the contractors’ experience while they’re on the job, installing all of the equipment. A new crop of maintenance workers has been hired, and our most experienced technicians shadow the equipment installers, taking pictures and videos to add to the maintenance database, so our maintenance crew is ready when we start production.
This process will help the foundry to stay as efficient as possible, for a long time. We have the best maintenance team we’ve ever had, and they will be ensuring proactive maintenance for our facilities and equipment.
A bright future for KSB and GIW
When KSB first acquired GIW, it was a small part of KSB’s global operations. Today, GIW is the third-largest company in KSB.
Mining will play an ever-larger role in KSB, and together, we look forward to expanding globally to serve our worldwide customers.
Thomas Mueller, P.E.
Vice President of Operations