Industrial Equipment for Mosul
In news this week is the city of Mosul, Iraq. Second largest city in Iraq with a pre-ISIS population of 1.2 million residents. Located on the west bank of the Tigris river opposite the ancient city of Nineveh. The city, probably little known outside Iraq, Syria, and Turkey has been the center of trade in the area for thousands of years.
A prosperous business community prior to the ISIS take over in 2014 produced a wide variety of products and industrial goods. Modern industry currently is much different than its early time as manufacturers of Astrological equipment and metal works.
I haven’t heard from any of the men or women I worked with in these northern cities. Like all of us, they had families, relatives, businesses, homes and dreams that have all been put aside by this terrible war that continues to this day. I hope that the conflict will get sorted out and those that have survived can get on with their daily lives.
Short visit to Mosul
I didn’t spend much time in the city. It was difficult for us to travel to Mosul. Normally our organization didn’t have a full-time security team in the city. One had to travel from Erbil when available or travel the 222 miles, 357 km from Baghdad. My only trip to visit the factories was just prior to the withdrawal of all the US troops from the country. We traveled in our normal 4 up-armored vehicle convoy from Baghdad. We checked on projects in Baiji and Yikrit, Sadaam Husseins’ home town along the way.
The ancient city of Ninevah is located on the east bank of the Tigris, opposite the modern city of Mosul. It was the oldest city of the ancient Assyrian empire and its capital until it was destroyed by a coalition of Babylonians and Medes in 612 BC.
We arrived late in the evening, staying at one of the coalition’s military bases in town. The next day I visited both factories to confirm successful delivery and installation of the new equipment.
In Mosul, we assisted two state-owned enterprises, Mosul Textile and Ninewa Dairy. Both viable ongoing businesses supplying products into the State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) system and local population. The businesses, while viable, needed new equipment and process to remain viable and attract additional investments.
Mosul Textile, wanted to diversify. They processed Iraq grown cotton for textiles, but wanted to get into other consumer products. They wanted to focus on band aids, gauze, and diapers. None of the products were produced locally and when they were imported, expensive. Mark worked with the owners to procure band aid and gauze machine for $595,000. A more complex procurement, was a process line for manufacturing of diapers for $1,850,000. Both included 3 months of production supplies.
Iraq’s babies need diapers too!
Early in my career, I worked for Johnson & Johnson Baby Products in Chicago. During that time I was very involved in the design and upgrade of high volume/speed baby diaper process lines. It was quite a surprise to find the process had been perfected such that modularized components could now be assembled to produce the same high quality diapers at far less cost. Also surprising was the 30 some international manufacturers and traders that submitted proposals for the diaper manufacturing process line.
The paraffin gauze machine was already installed and in operation. The diaper modules, much more complex, were awaiting arrival of technicians from its manufacturer in China to arrive and supervise the installation.
The raw materials ordered with the equipment was stacked alongside the new equipment. Mosul textile build a new building to house both process lines and associated laboratories.
Often we didn’t get to see the actual installations due to time & security constraints. It was rewarding to see how the company’s management and workers had taken charge of providing the proper facilities and support equipment for both.
Iraq’s Yogurt and Cheese factory
Ninewa Dairy was an older business. It’s primary process lines for dairy products, yogurt and cheese were in bad need of repair or replacement. Originally purchased in 1976 from Sweden, these processes were in poor repair and operational only 40 percent of the time. The dairy annually processed 10,000 tons of locally supplied milk in to yogurt, cream, and cheese.
Total cost of the refurbishment, including a truck to transport milk, came to $1,200,000 US. The modern Pietribiasi equipment was well received by the plant management and employees. The old equipment had to be removed for the new equipment installation. I arrived right in the middle of the of the transition. As you can see by the pictures there was additional work to be done.
Worry about product expiration dates? Not me!
I met with the factory Director General (DG), in US Plant Manager/General Manager, in his office. I had just visited the manufacturing area where the sanitary conditions didn’t seem quite the same as in the US. He proudly displayed the factories typical cheese and yogurt products, encouraging me to try each one! If nothing else, I am a good sport and definitely didn’t want to insult my host. The labels on the packaging read “consume shortly after leaving the factory” without any production date on the label. There is little or no air conditioning or cold storage in Iraq. I was somewhat reluctant to sample! All the products tasted good and I didn’t become sick or die afterwards.
Baiji, Iraq Plant (Seed) Oil Processing Equipment
In Baiji, I visited the State Company for Oil, Al Mansour Factory. The factory located right next to the Baiji Oil Refinery which has been in the news recently with ISIS issues. It was still a hotbed of bad hombres, as Trump would say. Our visit was short when a couple of these hombres were noticed near the back of the factory property. Before I could wish the DG good-by, I was hustled into one of the vehicles. We then raced across the less than improved roads at 130 km per hour. Never did see the hombres but now understood why the security people kept the vehicles nearby. They were always nervous about me strolling around the factory grounds.
This process line was very complicated, composed of a wide variety of separate components that all needed to be assembled on site. The equipment is designed to process cooking oils from seeds such as cotton and sunflowers. The $2,500,000 process designed and assembled by the Turkish company revitalized the aging plant and processes. Our goals were to insure stable employment providing an alternative to local citizens working for the bad hombres in the area.
SOE raw materials
In order to start production of the new equipment we had to negotiate with the central planning office at the Ministry of Industry & Materials in Baghdad. The factory needed a supply of 100 tons of cotton seeds from one of the cotton facilities in the Northern part of the country. The government employees in Baghdad felt it was too dangerous to travel the Baiji, it was up to us to convince them that the equipment was being installed successfully. No one from Baghdad had visited the factory for several years!
Hopefully, with the equipment and materials we provided the factory in Baiji is still in operation. From experience I know most of the factories tend to continue operations regardless of who holds the territory. In places like Mosul it has to be very difficult for them to get supplies and raw materials necessary for operations. I hope that those in Mosul survive and carry on their rich tradition of business and trade.
Links to equipment and information on Mosul
Ancient city of Nineveh
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