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Enersteel expansion brings 65 new jobs

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Enerfab, Enersteel and Brighton officials discuss Wednesday afternoon expansion updates and the area where a new paint house will be completed. Enersteel-Enerfab recently completed  a $10 million expansion of its Natchez-Adams County Port facilities. At top, officials tour inside the facilities. Inset below, a piece of automated welding equipment purchased during the latest expansion is positioned and ready for production.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Enerfab, Enersteel and Brighton officials discuss Wednesday afternoon expansion updates and the area where a new paint house will be completed. Enersteel-Enerfab recently completed a $10 million expansion of its Natchez-Adams County Port facilities. 

NATCHEZ — Enersteel’s expansion in the Natchez-Adams County Port is nearly complete, and hiring has started.

The company announced two separate plans for expansion earlier this year totaling a $21 million investment and the expected creation of 65 jobs.

The expansion projects have increased the facility’s production space from 78,000-square feet to 120,000-square feet and encompasses the work of a sister company, Brighton Tru-Edge Heads, which is owned by Enersteel’s parent company, Enerfab.

Enersteel specializes in fabricated steel plate products, including storage tanks and pressure vessels for industrial process markets, and the first of 2013’s expansions was to accommodate an increase in tank head production.

The Natchez facility also produces ductwork and other air quality control components for the power generation industry.

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — A piece of automated welding equipment purchased during the latest expansion is positioned and ready for production.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — A piece of automated welding equipment purchased during the latest expansion is positioned and ready for production.

Brighton Tru-Edge Heads Vice President of Sales Stephen C. Hammoor said the company has brought in two head presses for the work, a 300-ton and a 400-ton press and flangers, and he expects some head work to start the first week of December and all of the machine to be in production by 2014.

The first Brighton hire was made Monday, Hammoor said.

Enersteel’s General Manager Mack Van Eaton said in addition to expanding the production floor space, the company has also added a 10,000-square foot concrete pad outside to accommodate work that was previously done inside the building.

The expansion has also allowed the company to bring in new fabricating equipment, such as a telegraphing welding machine that can stretch an arm inside a tank being fabricated.

“With the telegraphing welder, the (worker) would strech that arm into the tank and make the weld on the video screen rather than getting inside it to work,” Enersteel Operations Manager Aaron Shermer said.

“We have test driven this before, but never had it in production, and we will be moving to do that soon.”

The expansion also includes the construction of a new 6,000-square foot fabric building, which Van Eaton said would allow Enersteel to do all of its paint jobs in-house rather than having to sub-contract some jobs.

The building has humidity, dust and climate control.

“When this is finished, everyone is going to want to be a painter in July in Mississippi,” Shermer said.

Enersteel’s initial 2011 purchase and conversion of the Dynasteel facility and subsequent expansions have been supported by the Mississippi Development Authority with infrastructure incentives and help relocating equipment to Natchez.

“The test, when you look at a public-private partnership like this, is do you think your partnership has worked?” Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said.

“We think the answer is yes, because in the last two years Enersteel has had two expansions in addition to the original (announcement), and Natchez-Adams County couldn’t be more excited to have Enersteel in their Community. If they tell you something, it is bankable.”

Hiring for the Enersteel and Brighton projects is being done through the WIN Job Center, Shermer said.

WIN Job Center is located at 1076 Col. John Pitchford Parkway and can be reached by phone at 601-442-0243.

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