Alabama: Hanwha Cimarron Puts $130 Million Plant In Opelika

The new facility in Northeast Opelika Industrial Park will produce carbon fiber-wrapped, high-pressure storage tanks.

By the BF Staff
From the September/October 2021 Issue

Hanwha Cimarron LLC, a maker of carbon fiber-wrapped, high-pressure storage tanks, recently broke ground on a $130-million project to construct a manufacturing plant at Northeast Opelika Industrial Park that will employ 261 people.

“At Hanwha Cimarron, we’re excited about what the future holds for us,” CEO David Jeon said. “This new facility will continue our company’s growth in the carbon overwrap pressure vessel industry, catering to the needs of aerospace, drone, defense, marine, rail, on-vehicle, gas transport and ground storage solutions,” he added.

Hanwha Cimarron, Opelika, AL
Hanwha Cimarron will produce carbon fiber-wrapped, high-pressure storage tanks at a new plant in Opelika, AL. (Photo: Hanwha Cimarron)

Hanwha Cimarron is working with AIDT, Alabama’s primary workforce development agency, to fill leadership positions for the facility. General hiring is expected to begin in spring 2022, with an emphasis on job candidates with strong backgrounds in production/manufacturing, and experience in machine operations.

“I am thrilled to see Hanwha Cimarron bring this exciting new venture to Alabama and create good-paying jobs for the hard-working citizens of Opelika,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Our partnership with Hanwha Cimarron starts symbolically today with a groundbreaking ceremony, but I know that this relationship will grow and thrive in the future as the company puts down roots in Sweet Home Alabama.”

Mayor Gary Fuller applauded the company’s decision to invest in the east Alabama city. “We’re honored to welcome yet another world-class company to Opelika,” he said.

In December 2020, South Korea-based Hanwha Solutions Corp. acquired Huntsville’s Cimarron Composites as part of a strategic expansion into the hydrogen energy business.

Cimarron, founded in 2008 by a former NASA researcher, produced tanks for rockets. Its products also have potential implications for hydrogen-powered automobiles and charging stations.

In August, Hanwha Cimarron signed a $260 million, 10-year contract from Texas-based Sunbelt Services for storage tanks for compressed natural gas.

“Hanwha Cimarron will find the skilled workforce and the support it needs to build a high-performance operation in Opelika,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Working together, I know that we will be able to find all the ingredients that will allow the company’s new manufacturing facility to thrive and grow in the future,” he added.

Humminbird, a leading maker of marine electronics products, recently announced that it is creating 77 jobs at its plant in Barbour County through an expansion project that will help the company meet strong consumer demand for its depth finders.

“Humminbird has grown significantly over the last six years and we expect it to continue to grow,” said Craig Packard, general manager of the company’s Alabama facility. “To increase our capacity to meet future demand, we are investing in growing our workforce and continuing to expand our facilities.”

“It’s always significant when a company that makes first-class products like Humminbird chooses to expand its Alabama operations because that shows real confidence in the workforce and in the operation’s future success,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

The company is investing in the multimillion-dollar expansion of its Eufaula facility to include a 27,400-square-foot growth project slated to start this fall. The expansion will increase the facility’s production and assembly areas by more than 25 percent.

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