Josh Blanton

Josh Blanton, operations manager at Vesuvius USA in Wurtland gives a tour and talks about the raw material magnesium oxide stockpiled behind him. KEVIN GOLDY | THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

WURTLAND – A global company with a facility in Wurtland has acquired one of its largest competitors, translating into an expansion of both production and its workforce in the area.

Joshua Blanton, plant manager for Wurtland facility Vesuvius, said Vesuvius recently purchased one of their largest competitors in the United States, CPPI. Vesuvius is a large metal flow engineering company. The acquisition of Comat by Vesuvius will have a direct impact on Vesuvius’s Wurtland facility, said Blanton.

“Basically Comat is one of our biggest competitors in the U.S. Market for the products that are made in this plant and our Chicago plant,” Blanton said. “We make about 60,000 tons per year of product, shipped all over North America and some to South America. We ship basically to every steel-maker all over North America. Comat in Blanchester, Ohio, ships to the same customers. We're closing that plant down and taking all of their volume, a little over 20,000 tons, into us. Going from 60,000 to 80,000 tons.”

Blanton said that initially the increased volume will lead to the new hiring of four positions, one of which is an engineer position and the rest are hourly positions. Vesuvius currently employees approximately 40 people at the Wurtland location and over 11,000 world wide.

“That's just the initial impact,” Blanton said. “This week we are just starting to make the products they make. Their plant will only run about another month, so we have time to absorb their volume and then we will shut it down.”

Blanton said the increased volume will have Vesuvius operating almost at capacity. However, Blanton said that Vesuvius will continue to grow and there is future potential on the horizon.

“Our plan is to grow the business,” Blanton said. “We do have some acreage here that is unused, cleared. So there is possibly opportunity for that in the future. The goal is to grow our market share.”


One of the final products produced at Vesuvius USA in Wurtland for the steel making industry. KEVIN GOLDY | THE DAILY INDEPENDENT

The Wurtland facility is very unique in it's operations, said Blanton. The Vesuvius plant, located along the Ohio River at the Boyd/Greenup Riverport, was constructed in 2001 and is one of the company’s 66 production sites, specializing in creating a fine material that’s used inside the steel making process.

“It's basically fire-proof, it's used as lining in vessels in steel mills,” Blanton said. “Every way that liquid metal is handled in steel mills or aluminum facilities around the world, our business is to facilitate the flow of metal through plants. Our solutions are mostly ceramics, ceramic-based refractories.”

Vesuvius is headquartered in London and specializes in the blast furnace, basic oxygen and caster function, creating products to protect and improve metal flow. For more information on Vesuvius, visit

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