CONYERS - Two companies, whose U.S. operations are based in Conyers, have recently announced expansion and upgrade plans for their local facilities this year.
Haver Filling Systems broke ground last month on an expansion that will double the size of its current office and warehouse on Gees Mill Business Court. Also, Pratt Industries is nearing completion of a $50 million alternative fuel gasifier that will provide about half of its electricity needs at the Visy Paper mill.
German-based Haver is a manufacturer of industrial packing machines. The company moved to Conyers in 1989. The company already has a 10,000-square-foot building that houses corporate offices and a warehouse.
Gudrun Wulfheide, marketing coordinator for Haver, said the expansion will be built on property adjacent to the existing Conyers facility. When construction is completed in November, the expansion will add 8,000 square feet in office space and
another 8,000 square feet in warehouse space.
Wulfheide said the company's decision to expand was partly to show its commitment to its current U.S. customers and partly to attract new customers.
Haver's expansion is part of a long-term plan by company officials to assemble machines in Conyers for delivery. Currently, filling machines are shipped directly from plants in Germany. Haver's Conyers warehouse holds spare parts and is home to service technicians and support staff.
"The dollar value is a factor for us in expanding, and by moving toward having an assembly operation here would be a big advantage for us," Wulfheide said. "Delivery times will be significantly shorter, and in turn, make us more competitive."
Pratt's paper recycling and corrugating facility, whose plumes of white steam are a common sight while driving on Ga. Highway 138 near Conyers, plans to replace its boilers with an alternative fuel gasifier.
The company will begin operating its first waste-to-energy power plant in the U.S. at the end of June. Once online, the plant will convert wood and other waste material to generate 9 megawatts of electricity to supplement power needs, according to Pratt spokesman Michael O'Regan.
The power plant will consume residues from the Visy mill's paper-making process, wood and carpet waste, which previously would have been hauled off to a landfill.
"We're always looking at options to reduce costs," O'Regan said in an e-mail response to questions. "The clean energy plant will help lower energy costs to power the Conyers paper mill by replacing natural gas while also lowering the site's overall carbon footprint."
O'Regan added the company has plans to build three additional clean energy plants at its other facilities over the next 10 years as part of the company's pledge made at a meeting of former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative in 2007 to invest $1 billion in recycling and clean energy infrastructure.
The power plant's construction was financed through tax-free, industrial revenue bonds issued by the Development Authority of Rockdale County in 2007.
Jay Jones can be reached at jay.jones