For more than four decades, Richwood Industries of Huntington has been manufacturing conveyor systems used in mining and bulk materials handling industries across the nation and around the world.
The company operates three manufacturing facilities in Huntington. Post-pandemic, business has been booming. But an April 21 fire destroyed Richwood’s casting facility located off 5th Street. Critical parts for the conveyor systems Richwood makes were produced there.
“Because of the catastrophic fire at our casting facility, we’ve had to start manufacturing some of the parts that we cast using other methods,” said Mick Sansom, Richwood’s machine shop supervisor.
Richwood’s own machine shop is running at capacity and cannot handle the additional workload, so Sansom turned to the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center for assistance.
[continue reading here]
“If it wasn’t for [the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center], I’d be struggling, looking for outside vendors to make this happen. I do not have the capacity right now with the workload we’re putting through our shop.”
Sansom and his team are leasing time on one of the center’s Haas computer-controlled mills and an Okuma lathe to produce the conveyor assemblies. “When it’s all said and done, the number of different parts we’ll be making here will be in the thousands.”
Richwood also is using the services of other area machine shops, but the opportunity to utilize the Advanced Manufacturing Center’s technology provides Richwood with greater flexibility.
“[The Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center] makes it a lot easier because we have more control,” Sansom said. “We’re here at the center running the parts ourselves, and we can do it in a timely fashion.”
Derek Scarbro, interim director of the Advanced Manufacturing Center, said his staff is proud to assist one of the region’s top manufacturers during its time of need.
“Richwood Industries not only produces world-class products important to our energy industries here in West Virginia but around the globe,” Scarbro said. “All the while, they’re creating good-paying manufacturing jobs and boosting the local economy. We are committed to helping them grow and prosper.”
In addition to providing manufacturing assistance, the center is working with Richwood on workforce initiatives to ensure the company has the skilled talent it needs to keep operations humming.
“Our relationship with Richwood – and with many other manufacturers – is symbiotic,” Scarbro explained. “While we deliver manufacturing and workforce assistance for them, they hire our students. For example, Richwood employs graduates of our Machinist Technology/CNC Program and it just hired a recent graduate of our Welding Technology Program. That’s a win-win situation.”
To learn more about Richwood Industries, visit its website at www.richwood.com.