Celebrating community, technology and partnerships, GE Appliances, a Haier company, officially opened a $70 million, state-of-the-art water heating manufacturing plant in Camden, S.C., on May 11.
The company renovated and retooled an existing refrigerator plant into its new high-volume water heater facility, which will serve as its Center of Excellence for water heater manufacturing. And, with its 259,000-square-foot production facility, has room and capacity for future growth.
Alfred Mae Drakeford, mayor of Camden, thanked GE Appliances for its investment in community and people: “Lee Iacocca, president and CEO of Chrysler. once said, ‘In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you have a good team, you can’t do the other two.’ It is obvious that GE has placed a first-class team here in Camden.”
The plant currently employs 140 people. More than 50 team leaders and maintenance employees completed more than 5,700 combined hours of training in robotics, welding and mechatronics at nearby Central Carolina Technical College.
The retooled plant is vertically integrated and will produce units starting from coils of steel into high-quality water heaters for U.S. homes. It includes advanced systems for metal fabrication and welding, robotics for material handling and processing, and enameling of the steel.
The plant will manufacture the GE-branded RealMax series gas water heaters. Features include holding a true 30, 40 and 50 gallons of water; delivering 82 gallons of hot water in the first hour; and an integrated electronic mixing valve that delivers up to 60 percent more hot water when needed. As stored water leaves the tank, the valve mixes in cold water to precisely control the selected water temperature, making more usable hot water available.