With a multimillion relocation project ahead, Hagler Systems is still conducting business as usual.
The North Augusta company, which is moving its operations to 607 Sand Bar Ferry Road in Augusta, accepted an order in September to build a 450-ton dredge for Suncor Energy Inc., in Canada.
The $10 million vessel, made of myriad modular components, is the first project undertaken by Hagler in the new 60,000-square-foot facility. Once completed in March, several trucks will transport the “Beauty,” as the machine is called, 2,700 miles to northern Alberta, where it will join the “Beast,” a smaller dredge made by Hagler in 2010.
The machines are engineered to reclaim mud that is generated after oil and sand are separated in the oil-mining process and turn it back into dirt. The new dredge can dig 95 feet deep, whereas the “Beast” could just go 35 feet, company President Bob Hagler said.
“We had no place to build this big machine in North Augusta,” Hagler said. “We’d be building it outside. It rains in the winter, no good.”
The company designs, builds and delivers pumping systems to North American companies in the dredging and mining market. The pumps used on Hagler machines are supplied by Grovetown-based GIW Industries.
Hagler employs 62 manufacture workers, 32 engineers, and 23 sales and administrative staff. Hagler said employment could increase by 20 percent by the end of 2013.
Hagler, who runs the company with his brothers David and Ben, said they plan to invest at least $2 million into the first phase of the Sand Bar Ferry Road facility expansion that includes adding a 42,000-square-foot structure. Construction could begin in the next three months.
The second phase, estimated to cost at least $4 million, is designated for 31,000 square feet of new office and warehouse space and could start as early as August, Hagler said.
Hagler Systems was founded in 1993, moved to Augusta in 1996 and opened on Five Notch Road in North Augusta in 2002. The North Augusta plant sits on 7 acres and has about 8,000 square feet of usable space, Hagler said.
The new 14-acre site, next to Bobby Jones Expressway, will give Hagler 10 times the capacity it has now. The company purchased the dilapidated property in summer 2012 for $300,000 and has spent about $1 million on painting, making repairs and meeting safety standards.
“I’ve looked at the building for years,” Hagler said. “It’s a huge facility by an interstate ramp. There’s no barriers to ship for us anymore.”
The new buildings will be energy-efficient and use LED lighting. The company also made sure that 100-year-old pecan trees remained on the property, Hagler said.