McWane Ductile Focuses on Capital Investments, Operational Efficiencies to Meet Demand Amid Supply-Constrained Market
COSHOCTON, Ohio – Feb. 16, 2022 – The ductile iron pipe market demands an ever-increasing percentage of specialty products. Gone are the days when trucks were loaded with one size and one class. Today, jobs have a wide mixture of joints, classes, linings, and coatings, and this complexity underscores the significant investments McWane Ductile is making in its plants. Among these investments, more than $18 million of downstream finishing equipment will be operational later this month at the McWane Ductile Ohio facility.
According to McWane Ductile Senior Vice President, Jeff Otterstedt, “The new line will have the capability to weld TR Flex-restrained joint pipe inline at the same rates as our casting department and features a new zinc coating machine that will also keep pace with casting and annealing rates. These high-production rates benefit our customers by improving our lead times, which are currently among the industry’s best.”
Otterstedt added that a little friendly competition among sister facilities goes a long way. “Not wanting to be outdone, our McWane Ductile Utah facility recently added new welders and zinc guns to increase their production rates on specialty items.”
Tim Hallmark, National Sales Manager at Consolidated Pipe and Supply, a longtime customer of McWane Ductile, is impressed by what he hears. “We’re proud to partner with McWane Ductile. The company’s investment in the most advanced equipment and innovative processes speaks to its commitment to delivering the highest quality products and services, and taking additional measures to continue to deliver pipe in a timely manner, despite current supply chain issues, reflects their priority in meeting customer expectations.”
Additional capital investments on the horizon include a new small-diameter, high-speed casting machine at the McWane Ductile New Jersey plant. This replacement of an older casting machine will equip the facility with the same proven technology previously implemented in 2016 following initial success using the small-diameter, high-speed casting machine at the Utah plant two years prior.
Moreover, McWane Ductile Utah is adding significant material handling equipment, which will allow the facility to increase casting capacity by 20 percent. That equipment will be operational in April.
“As exciting as these investments are, we also continue to prioritize capital projects long term,” stated Otterstedt. “In the coming weeks, McWane Ductile Ohio will break ground on a second annealing oven, increasing production of pipe and poles by more than 20 percent. Until the oven is fully operational, which is expected in summer 2023, we will increase our hours and our staffing levels to improve output and meet customer demand.”