The Manufacturing Center of Excellence for water heaters will be the company’s first plant dedicated to its growing Air & Water Solutions channel
May 11, 2022
CAMDEN, S.C.—GE Appliances (GEA) has opened a $70 million water heating manufacturing plant in Camden, South Carolina, that will serve as the company’s Center of Excellence for water heater manufacturing, the company said in a press release.
The plant is vertically integrated and will produce, from coils of steel, high-quality water heaters for homes across the United States. According to GE Appliances, the water heating manufacturing plant was built for future expansion.
“Investing in U.S. manufacturing is a winning strategy for GE Appliances, bringing us even closer to our customers and enabling us to serve them better,” said Kevin Nolan, president and CEO for GE Appliances, in the release. “We’re doubling down on innovation in high-tech products, cutting-edge, advanced manufacturing, and creating American jobs.”
The new plant includes advanced systems for metal fabrication and welding, robotics for material handling and processing, and enameling of steel. During the construction and in preparation for launch, more than 50 team leaders and maintenance employees completed more than 5,700 hours of training in robotics, welding, and mechatronics at nearby Central Carolina Technical College (CCTC). The plant will initially employ 140 people, the company said in the release.
“With every water heater model we carry, we’re committed to delivering maximum performance for the professional channel and distributors,” said Tom Zimmer, executive director, water heating for GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions, in the release. “South Carolina local manufacturing, coupled with GE Appliances’ broad distribution system, assures product delivery within days, offering quick access when our customers need it the most.”
GE Appliances launched its Air & Water Solutions channel in 2020 to serve the unique needs of professional contractors and wholesale distributors in the plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. The Air & Water Solutions channel offers a product portfolio of water heaters, water filtration, water softening, disposals, HVAC, and ductless heating and cooling for light commercial and residential use. It combines this with a dedicated team of sales professionals, training centers, and support resources for professional contractors.
“Our entrance into the plumbing and HVAC channel is focused on professional contractors who are on the front lines and never stop creating solutions for their customers,” said Jim Skaggs, vice president of sales for GE Appliances Air & Water Solutions, in the release. “We are committed to matching their passion with a broad product portfolio, winning innovation, an iconic brand, and on-demand technical support. Our pros never stop, so neither will we—and that includes our Camden manufacturing team.”
GE Appliances, a Haier company, manufactures refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, and water filtration systems. The company said it has invested $2 billion in its U.S. manufacturing and distribution operations since 2016, adding more than 3,000 new employees and creating an additional 88,000 jobs in the nation’s economy.
“We are proud that Kershaw County is home to GE Appliances’ new Manufacturing Center of Excellence for water heaters,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, in the release. “The fact that they chose South Carolina for this state-of-the-art facility is a testament to our state’s infrastructure and skilled workforce that allows companies to find success. We thank GE Appliances for their commitment to South Carolina, and we look forward to continuing our longstanding business partnership for many more years to come.”