CHICAGO — Zekelman Industries announced Tuesday that construction would begin in December on its new state-of-the-art inline steel tube galvanizing factory in Blytheville, Arkansas.
Similar to the company's most recent expansion in Rochelle, Illinois, the factory will utilize best-in-class manufacturing technology and a fully automated Matter warehouse system. The facility is designed to set industry-leading benchmarks for safety, product quality and service.
When completed, the production lines will have an annual operating capacity exceeding 200,000 tons. The facility will produce tubes featuring Wheatland's leading ThunderCoat inline galvanized coating. The factory will also support the fence, solar and mechanical markets.
Commissioning of the mills is expected to begin in late 2023.
"Beyond expanding our current capacity, this new factory enables our Wheatland Tube brand to bring new products and services to the market," said Chairman and CEO Barry Zekelman. "Our goal is to lead the industry with continued investments in our factories, teammates and communities. Together, these investments improve on the leading service levels our customers already experience and the flexibility that will benefit high-growth industries such as utility scale solar."
The project is Zekelman Industries' third major investment in Arkansas; the company commissioned its Jumbo HSS mill in early 2022. The new Wheatland facility will share a campus with Zekelman's existing Atlas Tube operations in Blytheville, a growing industrial sector in northeast Arkansas that also offers excellent access to domestic steel production and multiple transportation options.
"We've been working with the state of Arkansas and Mississippi County since 2007. Our collective vision is delivering real economic opportunity in Arkansas," said Executive Vice President and COO Tom Muth. "We are excited to see the local community grow and look forward to our continued partnership."
The company expects to begin recruiting activities ahead of commissioning and to hire 80 employees to support initial operations.