The Grand Opening of Rinnai’s RAM Lakes Facility in Griffin, Ga., featured the first non-condensing tankless—the first of many salable units— manufactured here in the states.
At approximately 6:15 am on a crisp Tuesday morning, Rinnai America Corporation made history in the United States, and all of North America. At its new 300,000-sq.-ft RAM (Rinnai America Manufacturing) Lakes facility in Griffin, Ga., the first—of many non-condensing tankless water heaters—rolled off the line. On April 21, 2022, the Griffin facility completed the production of its first tankless water heater, a unit of the highly anticipated RE Series, the first and only non-condensing unit with a built-in pump and SmartCirc intelligent recirculation technology.
“This is a significant milestone for our company and corporation. We are here to celebrate not only becoming the first major tankless manufacturer in the North American market to invest in domestic manufacturing,” said Frank Windsor, President, Rinnai America Corporation. “But we are also launching a brand-new product here today, which will become a really compelling product we bring to market.”
“This morning, the first RE Series tankless water heater came off the end of the line,” said Shelley Kiley, Vice President of Operations. “The day has arrived that we are going to produce our first salable RE Series tankless hot water heater and we are so excited. Over the last two years, it’s been a challenge for the entire team. They worked tirelessly through a lot of challenges, obviously covid, global supply chain issues, escalation of pricing of materials for the construction of this and I would say that the whole team is really proud that they came within 4% of budget and only six weeks of delay on the entire project from start to finish,” said Kiley.
In 2017, the global organization recognized the significant potential for this market and made the decision to invest in Rinnai America to become a growth vehicle for the corporation. According to Windsor, this has been a substantial investment over the last three or four years—a new corporate headquarters in Peachtree City, which was an $18 million dollar investment, a $10 million investment in our new world class innovation center attached to our headquarters in Peachtree City, along with this manufacturing and distribution center, which was a $70 million investment.
Over the last four years, the company has invested $100 million to show its commitment to the North American market. “In 2020, amidst all of the chaos associated with the pandemic, our company chose to move forward and invest, break ground on the facility we are standing in today. I’m very proud of the hard work and dedication our team has put forth in this initiative, which is critical for our organization’s future growth and success,” said Windsor.
With a goal of 400 units manufactured per line, at the time of the Grand Opening celebration, one line was up and running with a projected three lines running by summer. In addition, the RAM Lakes facility has already employed more than a hundred of the new local top talent with a projected few hundred additional jobs to be added by the end of the year.
Exporting tankless. What a concept. How cool is that? “It is cool. We will be shipping them to Mexico and shipping them throughout Latin America. We have a fast-growing Latin American business. It’s fun to be able to make product here in the U.S. and ship to other parts of the world,” said Windsor.
Moreover, with all of the supply chain issues and complexities, having manufacturing here in the states alleviated some of the hassle. “This will have a huge impact on our supply chain. No. 1, we will be making the product right here in closer to our customer, and No. 2, we don’t have to rely on containers and supplies coming out of China. We are purchasing many of the parts right here in the U.S. or we’re purchasing it from our company in Japan. That really simplifies the process; it gets the product much closer to us. It’s also building the competency for our team to be able to innovate going forward.”
** Rinnai is a $3.2 billion company that is seen as one of the leading gas appliance manufacturers in the world. Rinnai is a market leader in Japan, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, with businesses also in Italy and the UK. For more than 100 years, Rinnai has developed high-quality products to heat water and homes. However, within the last few years, the company has looked towards new expansion opportunities, including investing in new markets to sustain innovation as well as operationalizing manufacturing and production to meet need. The North American market was quickly identified as one of the greatest growth vehicles for the company. Rinnai entered North America in 1974 in Southern California, moved to LaGrange, Ga., and recently its headquarters in Peachtree City, Ga.