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A host of dignitaries participated in the official ribbon cutting for Hyundai Power Transformers USA.


Hyundai Power Transformers USA calls Montgomery home

January 2012

By David Zaslawsky

Ontario, Canada-based Hydro One ordered its first power transformer from Hyundai Heavy Industries nine years ago.

In 2009, Hydro One, which is the largest electricity transmission and distribution in Ontario, was looking for a long-term partner, according to Peter Greg, the firm’s executive vice president. After a competitive bidding process, Hydro One ordered 47 power transformer units from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and about half of the total has been delivered.

“It’s a great company; very, very high-quality products; great customer service,” Greg said about HHI during a grand-opening ceremony for Hyundai Power Transformers USA (HYPO) at its facility at Interstate Industrial Park in Montgomery. About 400 people attended the ceremony for Hyundai Power Transformers USA, whose parent company is HHI.

The guests, who included members of the state’s legislative delegation, Montgomery City Council and Montgomery County Commission, received a red-carpet welcome along with a string quartet and saw massive banners that read: “Committed to the customer needs” and “Quality is customer delight.”

“We’ve been looking forward to this plant,” Greg said. “It’s certainly nice to have an onshore facility. It reduces the delivery time it takes and takes away the risk of getting it across the ocean.”

Daniel Recker, managing director of American Electric Power, which serves 5.3 million customers in 11 states, talked about his company’s long relationship with HHI – a relationship based on mutual trust.

While the grand-opening ceremony was being conducted in HYPO’s final assembly area and next to the testing area, employees were busy producing the company’s first two power transformers. HYPO Production Manager Mukund Bhagwat said those transformers are expected to be completed in January. The power transformers, which can weigh 500 tons when fully loaded with oil, cost between $500,000 and several million dollars, according to Bhagwat.

The smaller unit, which weighs about 80 tons, can be transported by truck or rail and the 110-ton unit will be moved by rail. A train shuttle will transport the units from inside the final assembly area to outside the building.

The 260,000-plus square-foot facility has a capacity of 200 units a year and when fully staffed will have 500 employees. That means 400 more will be added to the current staff.

“This is certainly the type of industry and type of jobs we want for this state,” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said at the grand-opening ceremony.

“We’re privileged to have these jobs coming before us,” Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean said. “We recruit you. We tell you all the great things that we are going to do. We give you incentives, but that is not where we stop.

“You’re family and you have a home here and we will always be that family. We will always be there for you. So 10 years, 15 years down the road if there is a need that you have you can always (count on us) and we want you to remember that.”

HHI President and CEO Jai-Seong Lee thanked the State of Alabama, City of Montgomery, Montgomery County and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce “for their support, encouragement and commitment extended to Hyundai Heavy Industries during the entire process of giving birth to Hyundai Power Transformers USA.”

He said he hoped the company’s $108 million investment in the Montgomery facility will stimulate the local economy as well as Korea’s.

“This is an American factory on American soil – an Alabama factory on Alabama soil,” Lee said. “(I) envision a great opportunity to grow together based on mutual trust and respect.

“My strategy is now to strengthen and consolidate Hyundai’s position and competence as a world-class electrical equipment supplier - the cornerstone of which is the opening of this new factory today here in Montgomery. With the combination of Hyundai’s production technology and the State of Alabama’s talented human resources a new cross-cultural dynamic of growth will emerge in making this plant a showcase of collaboration and partnership between the State of Alabama and Hyundai Heavy Industries.”

HYPO Purchasing Manager Andrew Sanders said, “The key to our success is the expertise and dedication of our skilled team members. As our operations grow, we will look forward to welcoming many more to our team members.

“Alabama has extended a warm and gracious welcome to us and we will do our part reciprocating the kindness we have been so privileged to receive. Today marks an important step on our exciting journey to build world-class transformers here in the United States. Ladies and gentlemen, Montgomery, Alabama, is now the home of Hyundai Power Transformers USA and we are glad to be home.”