Articles: Industry News

Impro Group held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Impro Mexico SLP Campus in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

The campus will cover almost 2.5 million sq. ft. and have five plants, including precision machining, sand casting, investment casting, aerospace components and surface treatment.

Impro plans to invest over $100 million into the campus over the next 3-5 years, which will generate up to 1,500 new jobs locally.  

The Board of Directors of AFS Corporate Member Deere & Company has elected John C. May as a member of the board, and to the position of CEO, effective November 4.

May has served as Deere’s president and COO since April 2019.

Aalberts N.V. (Utrecht, Netherlands) has reached an agreement to acquire AFS Corporate Member Applied Process, which has U.S. locations in Livonia, Michigan; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Applied is active in the austempering process, a heat treatment technology to solve engineering problems.

“Most of the business is derived from engineering conversions, providing conceptual design and engineering assistance,” the company said in a release. “A dedicated R&D center is supporting the customers with this conversion and developing new technologies.”

AFS Corporate Member American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings (Detroit) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Grede, its U.S. iron casting operations, to funds managed by Gamut Capital Management for $245 million.

The sale is the latest change for Grede, which was acquired by AAM in 2017 when it purchased Metaldyne Performance Group for $3.3 billion.

Allison Transmission (Indianapolis), the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, made a strong move into metalcasting with its purchase of Walker Die Casting (Lewisburg, Tennessee) and C&R Tool and Engineering (Muscle Shoals, Alabama).

Allison, which purchases thousands of tons of castings per year, paid approximately $103 million in cash for Walker Die Casting and C&R Tool and Engineering.

Tesla filed a patent for a casting machine that could help streamline production for future vehicle projects. The diecasting machine is likely to be part of several manufacturing improvements for its Model Y program.

CEO Elon Musk has said Tesla is shifting to an aluminum casting design instead of stamped steel for the Model Y.

Tesla’s patent is for a “Multi-Directional Unibody Casting Machine for a Vehicle Frame and Associated Methods.”

AFS Corporate Member AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company (Birmingham, Alabama) and Oregon’s Joint Water Commission (JWC)—owned in partnership by the cities of Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Beaverton, and the Tualatin Valley Water District —worked together to design a water-delivery pipeline for an area that has averaged nearly one earthquake per week during the past year.

The JWC treats, transmits and stores drinking water for more than 365,000 customers and operates the largest conventional water treatment plant in Oregon.

For the first time in its 123-year history, AFS Corporate Member Lodge Cast Iron (South Pittsburg, Tennessee) has made an acquisition.

Lodge announced it is purchasing FINEX Cast Iron, a producer of skillets, pans and ovens. Lodge is shifting FINEX production to South Pittsburg, though FINEX will keep its sales and marketing base in Portland, Oregon. The FINEX brand will remain.

AFS Corporate Member Mueller Water Products Inc. is planning to build a new, state-of-the-art foundry in Decatur, Illinois, according to a news release.

Skuld LLC (Columbus, Ohio) received a Small Business Innovative Research grant from the Department of Energy (DOE). The grant will be used to show going to 0.060-in. thick ductile iron can be done without negatively impacting automobile properties.

Skuld’s most recent trials reduced the weight of designs by 70% and material costs by 40%.  This is of interest to the DOE due to increasing fuel efficiency standards. 

By 2025, the corporate average fuel efficiency standards are supposed to rise to 54.5 mpg, up from 35.