U.S. Pipe & Foundry has chosen Birmingham-based Electric Controls & Systems to design and install the $40- to $45-million iron foundry it announced earlier this year. In a release, EC&S Inc. reported it is the "new prime contractor to build a state-of-the-art ductile-iron pipe plant for U.S. Pipe in Bessemer, AL." The new plant will be built next to U.S. Pipe's existing plant in Bessemer, and the contractor indicates it will be "the first of its kind in the nation. "It is the first new ductile iron pipe plant built in the U.S. in more than 55 years," EC&S added, "and will bolster U.S. Pipe’s competitive manufacturing position." In its own announcement last spring, U.S. Pipe promised the new plant would be "an efficiency-based, streamlined, flow- through process facility," in which manual pipemaking will be replaced with computer-controlled forming processes. EC&S is a full-spectrum engineering group with comprehensive capabilities in metalcasting technology, including design, installation, programming, maintenance, start-up, and personal training. Among its past clients are AB&I Foundry, Griffin Pipe, Tyler Pipe, and U.S. Pipe., at its plants in Bessemer and North Birmingham. In recent years the group has been very active building cupola systems for Chinese foundries. The new U.S. Pipe plant in Bessemer is schedule to start up late next year.