More than a year after plans were announced for a major expansion of one of Brownfield’s most unique businesses, construction is all but complete. The skyline of the city’s north side is noticeably different with the addition of an 80-foot tall building that houses equipment worth more than $3 million to facilitate the growth of Guar Resources, LLC, formerly West Texas Guar.
Final modifications and electrical wiring was underway this week inside the impressive structure and the new plant has already been through several short trial runs. “As expected, we discovered a few small glitches, but we were able to fix them quickly,” said plant manager Alex Muraviyov, who has overseen the project from its inception. “Next week we will begin some longer test runs and I expect a few more problems to surface, but that is why we are doing this. To fix these issues before we get underway.”
When complete, the new plant will run in four shifts, 24 hours a day. Muraviyov said that will happen before the end of August. The expansive plant was designed and constructed in its entirety in India, with a final walk-through and approval before arriving in Brownfield over the several weeks in 48 shipping containers. The containers spent about 30 days on the sea before arriving in port at Houston, then brought to Brownfield by truck.
The new plant was designed from the ground-up for the sole purpose of processing guar beans into splits and the final product of powder. Muraviyov said the Brownfield plant is the most advanced guar plant in the world.
“The previous equipment worked, but was pieced together from other equipment that wasn’t intended for guar,” he said. “Our new plant was designed only for this specific purpose and there is not another one like it anywhere. We are the only one in this country that can do what we do.” The new construction won’t replace the current plant entirely, but will be used in tandem with the existing facility. The plant has been assembled by locally hired contractors under the direction of the Indian manufacturers. More than 70 percent of the world’s guar is grown in India, so that’s where the most knowledge of the process and experience with its production is.
“Muraviyov said Guar Resources employees were heavily involved throughout the assembly process.
“If they put it together, they will feel some ownership and that is important,” he said. “Also, putting something together from pieces helps them better understand how it operates and how to solve a problem if something needs repairs.”
The added benefit of using existing employees is that those workers were not laid off during the plant’s downtime during construction. Muravijov said the company’s commodity buyers have already contracted enough guar acreage to supply the plant with beans for the next year of operation. Guar Resources remains the only fully integrated guar processor in the United States. GR’s main processing facilities currently operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Currently, about 25 full time employees work at the plant, but the planned expansion could add 8-10 more. Guar, a drought tolerant legume, is grown extensively in the Southwestern United States. Guar products are used in a variety of industries including food processing, cosmetics and oil and gas production.
Article Courtesy of the Brownfield News