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Navistar Now Producing Engine Blocks, Heads in CGI

Jan. 25, 2012
Aims to be world-class provider of CGI components to passenger, commercial vehicle industries

Navistar’s PurePower Technologies LLC now confirms the long-expected news that it is producing diesel engine blocks and cylinder heads for cars and trucks in compacted graphite iron, using SinterCast AB’s process control technology. CGI is a specialty grade of cast iron that has greater tensile strength, stiffness, and fatigue strength than gray iron or aluminum, and has gained wide popularity among engine manufacturers seeking to reduce weight, noise, and emissions for their designs.

Within the Navistar group, PurePower Technologies is an R&D and manufacturing division for diesel power and emissions control products. It has research centers in Columbia, SC, and Bowling Green KY, an engine components plant in Blythewood, SC, and foundries in Indianapolis and Waukesha, WI.

Navistar has been producing diesel truck engines in CGI for several years, though castings for those products have been produced by other metalcasters. The PurePower operation in Indianapolis is the gray and ductile iron foundry long operated by Navistar as Indianapolis Casting Corp. PurePower Technologies is a company Navistar acquired from Continental Diesel Systems US LLC in 2009, to strengthen its research and development program for diesel power technology.

Indianapolis Casting was marked for closure that year, but a new five-year labor agreement changed the outlook. Last year, Navistar announced a five-year effort to update the plant as part of its plan to make PurePower Technologies “a world-class supplier of engine components.”

The value of the capital investment has not been reported.

"Building on more than 10 years of CGI product development and production experience within Navistar Inc., PurePower Technologies has the experience, the facilities, and the team to be a world-class provider of high-quality CGI engine components to the passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle industries," stated Rick Bacon, director, PurePower Technologies Metalcastings.

"We have brought the Indianapolis casting facility on-stream in record time to meet the increased demand for heavy-duty CGI blocks,” Bacon continued. “We now look forward to bringing our CGI design and manufacturing experience to OEMs around the world as demand grows for GCI head and block casting technology using SinterCast process technology."

Stockholm-based SinterCast developed the CGI production process that is used by automakers and engine manufacturers worldwide. Recently, SinterCast reported over 46 different components are being cast in series production using its process control technology.

"The commitment by PurePower Technologies to install CGI capability further demonstrates the growing demand for CGI engine components, particularly in the commercial vehicle sector," noted SinterCast president and CEO Dr Steve Dawson. Noting the new placement provides high-volume CGI cylinder block and head production capability in the domestic U.S., Dawson added, "the global footprint of Pure Power Technologies and its parent company, Navistar, improves our combined ability to support the growing demand for CGI product development and production."

PurePower is operating the SinterCast System 3000 system, the latest generation of the control technology. It performs measure-and-correct feed forward control of CGI production, and automated feedback control of the base treatment. System 3000 also logs data from the melting, molding, and shakeout operations at Indianapolis, for quality control and traceability of the casting process.

The SinterCast license covers both PurePower foundries: The company has an option to install SinterCast control systems on both iron-casting lines at Waukesha.