Accuride Corp. will close its Gunite plant in Elkhart, IN, where it machines cast iron brake drums and wheel hubs, manufactures spoke wheels, and assembles drum hubs. Also, Accuride will phase out machining operations at its Brillon Iron Works foundry in Brillon, WI, all as part of its plan to consolidate the Gunite subsidiary’s North American operations at Rockford, IL.
“Consolidating Gunite’s operations into a single site in Rockford will greatly improve production efficiency, strengthen quality, and delivery performance, reduce operating costs and make the business more profitable,” stated Accuride president and CEO Rick Dauch. “We will treat our associates affected by this decision with dignity and respect, while working closely with our customers and suppliers to ensure uninterrupted supply throughout the transition.”
Accuride Corp. explained the consolidation as part of its 'Fix and Grow' strategy to improve profitability and competitiveness through capital investment and restructuring. No new investments for the Rockford site have been detailed.
Over the past two years the corporation has invested in new production capacity and finishing capability for its Accuride Wheels aluminum wheels product line. Earlier this year it described a $75-million capital investment plan to continue increasing production capacity and improve manufacturing processes, and said its Gunite would constitute the second phase of that plan. It indicated it would address production issues and capacity restraints, while increasing capacity, throughput, and product quality.
The Gunite foundry in Rockford, IL, produces cast iron brake drums, brake rotors, and wheel hubs. The Elkhart plant formerly had metalcasting operations that were discontinued following a 2010 reorganization plan.
The Elkhart plant will close during the first quarter of 2013.
“While this action will be difficult for our associates and the community in Elkhart, it is necessary to return our Gunite business to profitability and meet the competitive challenges we are facing in a changing marketplace,” according to Dauch.