CHICAGO Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor Corp. (MCO), owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., has begun building a 26-acre production facility in Pearland outside of Houston, Texas that is slated to start up in fall 2014.
The newly formed subsidiary MHI Compressor Manufacturing LLC will manufacture and service turbine-driven compressors in the U.S. market to accommodate demand generated by rapid growth in shale gas and oil development.
The production and servicing base will conduct knock-down production of compressors using components manufactured and tested in Japan, but future plans call for the Pearland plant to procure and process raw materials through U.S. vendors, and to ultimately become a full-scale production and testing center on a par with comparable facilities in Japan.
In the fiscal year ended March 30, Tokyo-based MCO received a record number of orders for equipment to be used at U.S. ethylene, fertilizer and propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plants. Further growth is forecast for fiscal 2014, and the company has already received a package order for compressors at a 1.5-million-ton-per-year ethylene production plant.
Compressors use a wide variety of materials, including Grade 7050 aluminum, rolled steel plate, cast and fabricated carbon and stainless steels, metal bolts and bearings, chrome and copper. The casings alone for ethylene plant compressors can weigh up to 345 tons.