Nemak Contracts for More Capacity in Monterrey

Automotive caster to expand scrap processing, melting

Nemak, which produces cast aluminum automotive components, has initiated an expansion program at its Monterrey, Mexico, operation, according to reports. The estimated $3-million to $4-million project will be carried out in three phases, leading to a total additional capacity of 225,000 lb/year of aluminum. The first phase reportedly will be complete for operation next year, bringing an additional 66,000 lb/year of melting capacity.

The second phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2008, though no details of that stage have been revealed.

Over the past year, Nemak has been aggressively expanding its global reach with purchases of aluminum-casting operations formerly operated by Hydro Aluminium and TK Aluminum (Teksid) in North and South America, Europe, and China. Nemak, a subsidiary of Mexican conglomerate Alfa S.A. de C.V., now comprises 17 production plants worldwide.

Monterrey is Nemak's original operation, and consists of four lines producing aluminum cylinder heads and two lines producing engine blocks. Cylinder heads are produced using gravity and low-pressure SPM casting; engines are cast via Nemak's patented Low Pressure Precision Sand process. Nemak also maintains a research center at Monterrey, which conducts process development, prototype production, and product and tooling validation.

Insertek (Ingeniera y Servicios Tcnicos SA), a Spanish builder of industrial furnaces for aluminum melting and holding, has been contracted to expand Nemak's scrap-processing and remelting operations at Monterrey. Exton, PA-based Altek-MDY L.L.C. will supply a rotary furnace.

A spokesman for Nemak was traveling and unable to confirm the information, but Altek-MDY president David Roth explained the Monterrey expansion will include his firm's 24-ton tilting-type rotary furnace. He added that Nemak has started using Altek's dross handling and processing equipment. "We expect with their purchase of Teksid to be very involved with these activities all around the world," Roth explained.

An Insertec representative confirmed his firm will be installing a tilting rotary furnace for scrap processing, adding that the entire program is part of Nemak's global strategy of vertical integration in the aluminum supply.

In apparently unrelated decisions, Nemak has reportedly begun to downsize its Dickson County, TN, foundry, but is planning to increase output at its plant in Sylacauga, AL.

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