The increase in both the shale gas and oil sectors in the U.S. is the reason Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor International Corp. (MCO-I) decided it was necessary to bring a manufacturing facility to the Houston area.
The company, which was established in the U.S. in 2012 as a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., currently houses all manufacturing capabilities in Hiroshima, Japan.
The new facility in Pearland, Texas, outside Houston opens this week, and is the first U.S. manufacturing facility for MCO-I.
“We are thrilled to have delivered on our commitment to bring a manufacturing and service facility to the Houston area, closer to our customers,” said Gampa Bhat, president of MCO-I. “With operations beginning in Pearland, we have positioned ourselves to be able to better serve our customers’ needs in ways that will save time and cut costs.”
To date, MCO-I has invested more than $75 million into the state-of-the-art Pearland Works facility. It features 180,000 square feet of space, housing a variety of capabilities including packaging and assembly, vertical and horizontal rotor storage, repair and maintenance services, administrative offices, and a training center.
Additionally, $26 million of new manufacturing equipment has been purchased along with a 300-ton overhead crane, allowing for accommodation of various-sized machines.
“Our Pearland facility was set up to be a one-stop shop," added Bhat. "We have capabilities that range from packaging and parts manufacturing to storage and training services.
The facility is phase one of the two part plan for the Houston-area site. During the second phase, the company will expand its facility to offer testing and full manufacturing capabilities. Once both stages are complete, MCO-I estimates that Pearland Works will employ more than 200 people, with a focus on engineering and machining positions.
“Part of the reason we chose the Houston area for our manufacturing and service facility was due to the wealth of talented people in the state,” says Bhat. “ With Houston being an oil & gas and petrochemical hub, we have been fortunate to quickly impact our business model by recruiting and hiring talented individuals with anywhere from 5 to 20 years of similar industry experience. Additionally, we have a number of members from our Hiroshima manufacturing facility, who have moved to Houston to assist in building up our operation and transferring skills to the local workforce.
"As we grow into the future, recruitment at major Texas universities, such at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and the University of Houston, will be imperative to the growth of MCO-I," Bhat added. "These universities develop some of the top engineers in the country, who will be vital to the growth of our operation.
The company is currently working with Houston Community College and the University of Houston in Pearland to set up a co-op and apprentice program. They also plan on using the training center, housed at the Pearland facility, as a tool to help develop future employees.