Charleroi, PA, Oct. 22, 2003 — Ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place here Tuesday marking the completion of a major expansion to ALSTOM’s high voltage switchgear manufacturing facility in the Charleroi Industrial Park, located in the Borough of Speers, Pa.
The capital project, representing an investment approaching $5 million, more than doubled the size of the existing plant and added state-of-the-art testing facilities for high voltage circuit breakers.
With the new 10,400 square-foot high voltage test laboratory, the factory is now equipped with the most advanced resources available for standard production testing as well as new product development and design type testing.
New test capabilities include a 1.4 million-volt resonant test set, 2.6 million-volt impulse test set, 5,000 amperes continuous current test set, and a cold cell for cold-temperature testing down to -65 degrees Centigrade. These significant improvements to testing resources have enabled the company to extend its product line of high voltage dead tank circuit breakers beyond its traditional range of 72,000 to 245,000 volts up to 550,000 volts.
Additional enhancements to the Charleroi facility include a substantial expansion of the production floor, creation of an indoor storage area, enlargement of the shipping bay, and doubling of office space.
“Our investment in the nearly 65,000 square-foot expansion of our high voltage switchgear facility in Washington County is the most recent example of ALSTOM’s commitment to the U.S. market and the escalating demands of the energy industry,” said Philippe Joubert, worldwide president of ALSTOM Transmission and Distribution.
“As a major utility supplier, we are prepared to assist our customers in modernizing the transmission grid,” he continued, noting that the need for modernization had been dramatically underscored by the power outage and blackout event of last August. “Our investments in product development and advanced technologies are driven by U.S. requirements,” he said, “and we remain fully committed to fast response and extraordinary service for every customer.”
The company’s high voltage switchgear facility in Charleroi opened in 1994. Sales have increased from $2 million in its first year to $60 million in 2002. In addition to dead tank circuit breakers, the plant also supplies high voltage disconnect switches, circuit switchers, generator circuit breakers, live tank circuit breakers, and surge arresters. Since the opening of the factory, more than 6,000 circuit breakers have been shipped to more than 700 customers in 43 countries. In the US, equipment manufactured in Charleroi is in service in 48 states. Employment has grown to 115 people, and as many as 50 new jobs may be created by this expansion.
Mr. Bob O’Connor, Director of the Governor’s Southwest Pennsylvania Regional Office, participated in the event as an honored guest speaker. “At the Pennsylvania State level we have been working closely with ALSTOM for the past few years to help them cultivate positive commercial growth in the State,” said O’Connor. “On behalf of the Governor’s Office, I am very pleased to be here today to take part personally in the formal opening ceremony for this factory expansion as it signifies another important milestone for ALSTOM and Pennsylvania.” ALSTOM currently has three other offices in Pennsylvania that are located in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Bethlehem.
Mr. Jeff Kotula, Director of Economic Development for the County of Washington in Pennsylvania, was present at the event and commented, “We are extremely fortunate for the additional investment ALSTOM Transmission & Distribution has made at their Speers Industrial Park location. Having an industry leader such as ALSTOM making this substantial commitment to our Washington County community will have a positive impact on the Mon Valley and on our county. The new $4.5+ million expansion, along with the new products they are currently developing, will also further add to the long-term strength of the company and to our economy.”
ALSTOM’s Transmission & Distribution (T&D) sector is a total solution provider in power transmission and distribution. ALSTOM (T&D) is present at all stages in the supply chain of electricity. From the power plant to the end-user, ALSTOM (T&D) offers the widest and most reliable range of products and services on the market.