GE Appliances Corp. to repair or replace 5,000 of its 1.1 million units at factory site in Ohio
GE Appliance Corp. is preparing to repair, or replace about 5,500 of its 500,000-unit production lines at its Ohio factory, a move that could be the largest single-site project of its kind in the country.
The decision follows a series of setbacks at the plant, which GE has blamed on poor maintenance.
GE has been trying to fix the problems at its plants since 2013.
The company said the problems were “unrelated to the safety and well-being of workers and their families.”
GE will continue to provide assistance to workers and families in the affected areas, said John D. Miller, GE’s vice president of product operations.
The plant has been shuttered since April because of the deteriorating condition of its cooling towers, said Dan C. Lebron, an engineer who leads the company’s product safety and sustainability programs.
The problems began when the building was built in 2011, said Kevin C. Wirth, an environmental engineer at GE who has worked at the company for more than 20 years.
The tower was built on top of a building that had been abandoned since it was demolished in the 1970s, Wirth said.
GE also installed faulty insulation around the tower’s cooling tower in 2012 and installed an air-conditioning system in 2017, Wirt said.
A new cooling tower, which will be installed in 2021, will be a critical component of the plant’s future operations, Wire said.
“The problems we’re seeing at the GE plant, we’re in a position to do something about,” Wire told reporters.
“We know the issues we have, we know the challenges we have.”
Wire added that GE will be able to “do something about the problems we have with our facilities if we have to.”
GE said it is moving to the second-largest industrial plant in the world to address the deteriorating conditions in the building, which is located in Cleveland, about 30 miles west of Cleveland.
“It is a huge setback, but not a big deal,” said Bill A. Jorgensen, GE product manager for power and control systems.
“There are a number of things that we can do to help repair the building and restore the power supply.”
The company is working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to repair the cooling towers and the cooling tower cooling tower assembly, which has been leaking water, Jorgenson said.
He said GE will “make sure to work with the department and get as much as we can done to fix these issues.”
GE is the world’s largest appliance manufacturer.
GE said the plant has more than 2,000 employees.
The announcement comes as the company is under pressure to improve its performance amid a global economic slowdown and the emergence of a resurgent China.
GE’s shares are down about 6% in morning trading.
The Wall St. Journal article: GE Appl.
to Repair or Replace 5,400 of its 4,000 Unit at Plant in Ohio by 2021 GE will repair or restore more than 5,600 of its units at its manufacturing site in Columbus, Ohio, the company said Monday.
The project will involve “rebuilding, replacing and extending” the cooling systems on the cooling Tower, the building’s main assembly, GE said.
The project is a key part of GE’s efforts to meet global demand for the latest products in energy efficiency and environmental performance.
The building is about 10 miles south of Cleveland, and GE has not said how many of its workers will be affected.
GE said the facility’s “main assembly, cooling tower and all other units” will be rebuilt and will have a new cooling system.
“GE is currently focused on the building site, which includes the building roof and cooling tower assemblies, to provide a safe and secure work environment and to maintain the highest standards of safety,” said Mark H. Tauscher, GE vice president and general manager of power and energy systems.
GE is building the facility on a new site, where it will be in operation for “several years,” he said.
The new site is located at the corner of Main and Washington streets in Columbus.
GE and the state of Ohio have been working to upgrade the cooling system, which requires a $8 billion expansion of the existing building, and are upgrading the electrical grid in the area.
Jorgensen said GE is looking at other possible upgrades in the coming months, including installing a new electric heating system and installing a gas turbine to provide additional power.
Earlier this month, GE announced it would begin to retire the oldest of its oldest plants, the Columbus plant that has been closed since the mid-1990s.
In an effort to help meet the increasing demand for energy efficiency, GE is partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop and test an energy-saving system to help it meet energy demand