Siemens and Materials Solutions opened a highly advanced metal AM innovation center in Orlando, Fla. The 17,000-square-foot facility offers a pairing of design with manufacturing, implementing robotics, rapid prototyping, scanning, digital tools and on-site metal AM. Materials Solutions – a Siemens Business – uses selective laser melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts, with a focus on high-temperature superalloys. The Siemens innovation center will focus on rapid problem solving supporting the company’s energy businesses, while Materials Solutions will offer additive services to support the innovation center and external customers.
Toyota is investing $391 million at its San Antonio truck assembly plant in an effort to better serve customers. The announcement comes as part of a broader commitment from Toyota to invest $13 billion in its U.S. operations over five years through 2021. The investment will make the plant more competitive in the long-term and more efficient while remaining flexible with multi-vehicle production capabilities by introducing various advanced manufacturing technologies. Separately, Aisin AW, a supplier to Toyota Texas and other automakers, will invest $400 million and bring 900 new jobs to a future facility in nearby Cibolo, Texas.
United States Steel Corp. announced a joint-venture partnership agreement under which it has taken the first step toward acquiring Big River Steel through the purchase of a 49.9% ownership interest for approximately $700 million in cash, with a call option to acquire the remaining 50.1% within the next four years. U.S. Steel has committed financing to execute the transaction. Big River Steel operates an LEED-certified, Flex Mill in northeast Arkansas that is, according to the company, the most advanced EAF-based flat-rolled mill in North America. Big River Steel produces advanced automotive steels and electrical steels and provides services to customers in the automotive, energy, construction and agricultural industries. The company’s recently announced Phase II-A expansion is expected to double the mill’s hot-rolled steel production capacity to 3.3 million tons annually.
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (AAM) entered into a definitive agreement to sell its U.S. iron casting operations (Grede) to funds managed by Gamut Capital Management for $245 million. Across 10 manufacturing facilities, Grede develops, manufactures, assembles and supplies ductile, gray and specialty iron castings and machined components for the automotive, commercial vehicle and industrial markets. AAM will retain its El Carmen, Mexico, iron casting operations.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that Bharat Forge America Inc. will build an aluminum forging plant to manufacture automobile components in Lee County, N.C. The $127.3 million investment will create 304 jobs. The new facility will be part of a larger manufacturing center that will create as many as 460 jobs. According to Bharat Forge, the investment will help it create a strong global manufacturing footprint as part of its aluminum strategy.
Western Superconducting Technologies Co. Ltd. (WST) successfully put a 63-/80-MN two-column open-die forging press into service. Supplied by SMS group, the high-speed push-down press has a maximum press force of 63 MN and an upsetting force of 80 MN. Due to the advanced hydraulic and control systems installed, the press is capable of forging highly demanding and temperature-sensitive materials such as titanium and titanium alloys with extreme precision.
BlueScope, an Australian steel producer, has approved the expansion of its North Star facility in Delta, Ohio. The company will add an additional 850,000 metric tons per year of steelmaking capacity. The $700 million project is expected to begin in mid-2022 with full ramp-up scheduled for approximately 18 months later. In addition, the expansion has potential future growth of a further 500,000 metric tons per year. According to BlueScope, the expansion offers long-term sustainable earnings growth from a high-quality asset.
Platte River Equity announced the sale of its portfolio company PRV Metals LLC to Tinicum L.P., a New York-based private investment firm. Through its two operating subsidiaries, Sierra Alloys (Irwindale, Calif.) and TSI Titanium (Derry, Pa.), PRV Metals manufactures and supplies forged and rolled titanium, stainless steel products and other specialty alloys to the commercial aerospace, defense, medical, energy and industrial sectors. The company specializes in flat and round bar and plate products, and it performs in-house heat treating, hot rolling, forging, conditioning and machining.
The Ellwood Closed Die Group (ECDG) completed construction of its climate-controlled close-tolerance finish machining complex at its Ellwood Texas Forge Navasota (ETFN) facility. The new operation concludes a year-long initiative to integrate operations of the former Ellwood Texas Forge and Machine with ETFN to improve customer solutions and to better leverage engineering and management resources. Capabilities include turning, milling, drilling, boring and single-point threading operations, with up to 14,000 square feet serviced by several overhead bridge cranes.
HarbisonWalker International (HWI), a supplier of refractory products and services, completed the first phase of a $9 million expansion at its manufacturing operations in White Cloud, Mich. The project will significantly increase warehousing space and add advanced-manufacturing and hydraulic press technologies. HWI’s 110,000-square-foot White Cloud facility currently employs approximately 140 people and produces brick and monolithic refractories utilized by the steel industry.