SGL Carbon to Invest $26M in Ozark Plant

SGL Carbon announced Tuesday that it will invest $26 million in its Ozark manufacturing facility, purchasing equipment for a new workshop it aims to complete by June 2015.

SGL employs more than 90 people in Ozark, where it makes high-power graphite electrodes for the production of steel in electric arc furnaces. The company says graphite electrodes are used to recycle steel scrap. 

"SGL Group's significant investment in Ozark underlines our long-term commitment to this facility as well as our employees,” Scott Carlton, president of SGL Group North America, said in a news release.

"This investment covers new, state-of-the-art technology for the manufacture of graphite electrodes and will substantially reduce energy consumption," he said. "The Ozark facility is an integral component of SGL Group’s global network of graphite electrode production, and we look forward to future growth in the state of Arkansas."

SGL has been operating in Ozark since 1981. It is the only SGL facility that produces the full range of electrode sizes, 14 inch to 32 inch. Feedstock for the plant comes from SGL Group's Hickman, Ky., facility.

In addition to the Ozark plant, SGL operates the Hitco Carbon Composites plant in Arkadelphia, which makes high-performance insulation components for aircraft.

The company said steel production in electric arc furnaces offers advantages including lower investment costs, higher production flexibility and less pollution. It said raw materials and energy can be saved by repeated recycling.

"This investment will yield cleaner technology, reduce energy consumption by approximately 20 percent and have a considerable impact on the competitive position of SGL Group," the company said in a news release. "This [capital expenditure] will also ensure that the Ozark facility continues to be an exceptional corporate citizen in the region while offering the best, most secure jobs in the area."

SGL Group has 47 production sites in Europe, North America and Asia and a service network covering more than 100 countries. The company, headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, claims 6,700 employees worldwide.

"Arkansas' reputation as a manufacturing hub will continue to grow as companies like SGL Carbon invest in new, advanced manufacturing technology," Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said.