CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Wheeling-Nisshin's $28 million expansion project will introduce a new product line available only at the Brooke County steel coating company, company and state officials announced Friday.
Wheeling-Nisshin announced its launch of ZAM, a new, coated steel product line that is a combination of zinc, aluminum and magnesium, on Friday.
Nisshin Steel Co., the Japanese parent company of Wheeling-Nisshin, trademarked and developed ZAM, making the Follansbee-based facility the only business in the country that will operate the uniquely combined hot-dipping line.
The company said Friday that Nisshin Steel Co. and Wheeling-Nisshin have worked on the design, upgrade and modification of the plant's aluminizing and galvanizing line.
The new line is a highly corrosion-resistant, environment-friendly steel sheet, according to the company's president and chief executive officer, Noboru "Ricky" Onishi.
Wheeling-Nisshin will expand its building space, purchase new equipment and will add an electrical substation, said Jeffrey McLaughlin, general manager of accounting and finance at Wheeling-Nisshin.
This is the company's third largest expansion since it opened 25 years ago.
Construction for the ZAM project is expected to begin by October and be completed by next fall.
On Thursday, members of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority approved a $10 million loan for Wheeling-Nisshin. The loan will help Wheeling-Nisshin buy new equipment so that it can produce ZAM steel products.
The EDA will hold the title for up to $28 million worth of equipment that Wheeling-Nisshin would use at the plant. The $10 million will be paid back through the lease of that equipment.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who visited the Wheeling-Nisshin facility for Friday's announcement, said in a prepared statement, "Today is a terrific day for West Virginia. When I met with the Nisshin executives in Japan a couple months ago, they noted time and time again how impressed they were with their West Virginia employees -- we truly have a world-class workforce."
Tomblin continued, "We have done a tremendous job of creating a business climate that recruits companies to the Mountain State, and our hard work is paying off."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller said in a prepared statement, "Today, it's great to see [Wheeling-Nisshin] advancing their efforts and continuing their commitment to the state by announcing their new product line, ZAM. This is the company's largest investment to the Aluminum and Galvanizing line since it was commissioned. With this diversification, the company continues to meet the needs of the industry with the next generation of building materials."
Sen. Joe Manchin said in a news release, "Today's announcement is a testament of this company's confidence in our talented workforce and our state's strong business climate. I look forward to seeing this new product line, ZAM, in production."Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.