May 16, 2007 — Confirming earlier speculation, General Motors has committed $63-million to the casting operations at its Saginaw, MI, GM Powertrain plant. The investment will cover a plant renovation and installation of a new semi-permanent molding line for casting aluminum cylinder heads, for GM's 3.6-liter high-feature V-6 engines.
Semi-permanent molding uses water cooling to produce aluminum cylinder heads with high-integrity microstructural qualities, improving the material's strength. GM's 3.6-liter, high-feature V-6 engines are installed in the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, and Buick Enclave vehicles.
However, construction of the new line will not begin until spring 2009, for completion in January 2011. The Saginaw plant has been in operation for almost 90 years, and last year produced over 420,000 engine blocks and 1.87 million cylinder heads. It currently uses three other molding technologies, producing aluminum blocks and heads for I-6 and V-8 engines.
The news follows by one week, and contrasts with, Ford Motor Co.'s decision to discontinue casting at its Cleveland plant.
The management at GM Powertrain Saginaw Metal Casting Operations, and local union leadership, negotiated new operating agreements that GM says are "competitive" and will "improve operational effectiveness." The agreements also cover "processes and methods to improve production quality and safety," according to a statement by the automaker.
“This investment would not be possible without the involvement of employees at this facility, who have dedicated themselves to improving the quality of our products and the efficiency of the operations here at Saginaw Metal Casting Operations,” stated GM Powertrain's Arvin Jones, manufacturing manager for castings and components. “Their efforts have contributed to GM’s competitiveness and our turnaround in North America.”