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Investment Caster Renovating, Expanding Foundry

Aug. 13, 2012
$4-million project will increase capacity 33% New furnace, finishing, heat-treating, and coating capabilities Restart in Q1 2013

Chromalloy, a producer of turbine vanes and blades, and hardware components for turbine engines and other critical aerospace engine components, has started a $4-million renovation and modernization to expand the capacity and improve production flow at its investment casting operation in Carson City, NV. The project was reported on a company blog site earlier this summer.

The Nevada location is the smaller of two investment casting plants that Chromalloy operates to produce components for its global network of repair and replacement centers for turbine engine operators, notably commercial airlines. A larger Chromalloy investment-casting foundry opened in Tampa late in 2010.

“We are expanding the breadth and level of services for our customers worldwide,” the foundry’s general manager Nat Love stated. He said the project will “completely renovate” the plant, expanding capacity and improving turnaround times. The result will be “a vertically integrated business that provides every gas turbine engine component repair service, from advanced coatings to finished foundry castings to new manufactured parts ready for installation,” Love said.

The centerpiece of the effort will be a new, higher-capacity furnace for superalloy investment castings. The Carson City plant now operates 17 furnaces and produces approximately 15,000 components annually. After the revamp, it will have a capacity that’s 33% higher from 13 furnaces, according to Chromalloy. The new furnace will allow the plant to produce more and larger parts

After the furnace is installed, new finishing, heat-treating, and coating capabilities will be added.

Also, 192,000-square-foot Carson City operation will adopt a Lean factory layout that makes workflow shorter and more efficient, according to Love.

“The primary drive behind the effort we are undertaking is to lay out the foundry in a manner that is effectively enabling us to reduce waste and improve the velocity of throughput including yield and scrap numbers,” Love indicated in a local news report. “In any foundry process, scrap/yield are two of the major drivers in that portion of the business. Our immediate goal is to really get a process for our manufacturing improvements to increase velocity and reduce scrap yield and have much better flow through the facility.”

The renovation and modernization project will be completed by Q1 2013.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)