Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, a domestic manufacturer of cast iron and plastic pipe and fittings for plumbing applications, held the grand opening of a new $460 million state-of-the-art foundry in Oakboro, N.C. on October 26, 2023. The impressive investment replaces the original foundry in Charlotte, with the state-of-the-art foundry ready to take on the future of manufacturing. The decision ensures that Charlotte Pipe, a legacy company operating for more than 122 years, will remain deeply rooted in the Charlotte region and continuously operate in North Carolina.
This remarkable achievement marks a significant milestone in the company’s long legacy, solidifying its commitment to innovation, sustainability, and manufacturing in the United States. In conjunction, all construction materials and supplies for the new foundry are made in the USA, as are all Charlotte Pipe products. A manufacturer of plumbing systems since 1901, Charlotte Pipe has seven plant locations across the United States that manufacture products distributed around the world.
Vice Chairman of the Board Roddy Dowd Jr. addressed the large group of dignitaries and guests at the grand opening. “This is a generational project, and the relocation expansion of our legacy factory is a strategic move to improve our processes and offerings to allow the company to continue to serve the plumbing industry, our associates, and this community for the next 100 years.” The investment in research and technology, and its move to a more significant footprint, allow the company to continue its commitment to its community and customers and to the flexibility to expand in the future.
The new foundry’s location continues the company’s commitment to the community; it sits on a sprawling 700-acre site in Stanly County, Oakboro, North Carolina - strategically located approximately 35 miles east of its Charlotte facility, which has operated for over a century. The new foundry is operated by more than 530 associates, many of whom reside in Stanly County.
“The connections we forge with each other become as strong as the iron we produce,” said Hooper Hardison, CEO of Charlotte Pipe. “These connections extend to our customers, our vendors, our associates, and the communities in which we live and work, and our respect for all and our pride in being an American company are deeply embedded in our culture.”
The company leveraged its associates’ extensive experience, with many having over 40 years in the original foundry, to assist in designing the new layout. The new foundry facilitates a seamless flow, with raw materials entering at the front and finished products exiting at the back, optimizing production efficiency.
With an eye on efficiency and safety, the foundry is packed with new technology to accommodate both. For example, the foundry has exceptionally high ceilings, allowing an overhead track to carry melted iron from station to station. Implementing the overhead moving process eliminates the need for forklifts to move the hot iron. Charlotte Pipe is also a significant recycler, melting more than 150,000 tons of scrap iron and steel annually.
During the three-year construction period, more than 500 construction workers were onsite daily, contributing more than 1.2 million work hours to bring the new plant to life. Charlotte Pipe invested $58 million in the plant’s environmental systems and controls, including an onsite 70,000-megawatt substation that generates electricity equivalent to powering 70,000 single-family homes. The company also added a 520,000-gallon water treatment plant onsite, as well as a rail spur, connecting the foundry to the Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway, facilitating efficient transportation of recycled materials to and from the Eastern Seaboard and the Midwest via the Norfolk Southern Railway.
Hardison added, “We’re always going to reinvest in our local communities. Whether it’s being a good local partner and steward in the communities we call home or using only the highest-quality raw materials to manufacture our products, you can count on Charlotte Pipe to invest in a manner that allows us to stay competitive over the long term and remain focused on the customers we serve.”