US refractory producer HarbisonWalker International (HWI)
has been overhauling its entire structure and branding position
as it seeks to take the company to the next stage of
development and ensure future growth.
Active in the industry for over 150 years, HWI supplies
refractory products to a variety of sectors including
metallurgy, glass, power generation, chemicals, refineries and
petrochemicals, construction, pulp and paper and several
HWI is today the largest manufacturer of refractory products
and services in the US.
At the AISTech 2016 Iron & Steel Technology Conference
and Exposition, recently held in Pittsburgh, HarbisonWalker
International chairman and CEO Steve Delo said: "While
transformation of this company is ongoing, the launch of our
new external branding is a milestone that marks the right time
to tell the story of our progress and plans."
For the past two years, the company has been through a
process of transformation of its commercial operations that has
affected all its divisions and locations.
Increasing efficiency and improving service availability for
clients was its primary objective. To this end, value-added
service teams have been set up to offer on-site management,
installation, equipment, inventory management, heating
solutions and testing for customers across all industries. A
second team, the Global Projects and Engineering Team, is now
operational in greenfield construction, manufacturing, plant
modernisation, servicing and engineering needs of existing
Two research facilities were established with focus on
R&D, one of which is the largest of its kind in North
America. All the distribution centres were restructured to
improve delivery services.
In production processes, the company is increasing
investments in manufacturing and stated it has achieved
improvements in raw material and monolithic process
Unifying under one brand
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, HWI is active in
North America, Europe and Asia with 19 manufacturing plants, 30
sourcing centres and two research facilities in the US and
China. The company operates 17 plants in North America, one in
the UK and another in Indonesia. The group as a whole employs
some 2,000 people.
In 2015, it shipped over 130m lbs (58,967 tonnes) of
materials to customers worldwide.
Prior to renaming in 2015, HWI was known as ANH Refractories
Co., a cluster that included AP Green Refractories Co., North
American Refractories Co. and Harbison-Walker Refractories Co.
Today, the group operates under the single HWI trademark.
Branding has played a major role in the group’s
external strategy. With the collating of its various operations
under the HWI name, the company is seeking to capitalise on one
main brand image across the industry.
Carol Jackson, senior vice-president and general manager,
said: "Beyond naming, we utilised the market research to
understand what traits about us needed to be reflected in our
brand. Above all, the brand needs to communicate the promise we
are prepared to deliver every day to our stakeholders,
internally and externally."
To lead the process, the company has nominated Martha
Collins as chief technology officer. As part of the rebranding,
HWI has also launched a new website, intranet, print and
digital trade advertising campaigns.
After the first creation of its mobile app in 2014
– when the company was still AHN Refractories
– HWI has now launched an updated version of the app,
to HWI’s Water Mix Calculator and other resources
for customers using HWI’s