GE Appliances Swaps Fridges for Water Heaters at Camden Plant

GE Appliances’ Camden, S.C., manufacturing facility is in for a change.

By Alan Wolf

GE Appliances is investing $60 million to convert its Camden, S.C., refrigeration plant over to water heater production.

Spokeswoman Julie Wood told the local Post and Courier newspaper that the water heater market is heating up, with 8 million units sold annually. GE hopes to tap into that business with its first tank-style units, the category’s predominant configuration, which will replace the manufacturer’s smaller, high-efficiency models, she said.

GE will discontinue the refrigerator line that had been made in Camden, the newspaper reported, with its three other U.S. refrigeration facilities picking up any production slack – particularly the Decatur, Ala., plant, which is benefitting from a $115 million update.

The Camden conversion is part of a $600 million investment in new products, manufacturing and an expanded smart distribution network, the Haier-owned company said.

“GE Appliances is taking the latest step on our journey to become the leading major appliance business in the U.S.,” said GE Appliances CEO Kevin Nolan. “Using the latest, innovative manufacturing technology and processes, our new Water Heater Manufacturing Center of Excellence will enhance our U.S. production footprint and enable us to continue expanding our portfolio of Made in America products.”

The Camden plant will retain its current workforce and is expected to begin churning out its first water heaters in the fourth quarter of 2020, the company noted.

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