First variations of hot runner systems started appearing in manufacturing in the mid-20th century but did not become standard in the industry until the 1980s, driven by the need for consistent quality and productivity improvements.
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.
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.
Allison Transmission Holdings Inc., a global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions, acquired the assets and certain liabilities of Walker Die Casting and C&R Tool and Engineering for approximately $103 million. Lewisburg, Tenn.-based Walker produces aluminum castings and supplies essential components for Allison’s core on-highway transmission products. Muscle Shoals, Ala.-based C&R Tool and Engineering supplies metalworking tools for use at Walker and other companies.
Lindberg/MPH shipped a four-chamber hot-stamping furnace to the Gestamp Research and Development facility in Auburn Hills, Mich. Gestamp is an international corporation that designs, develops and manufactures metal automotive components. The electrically heated furnace has one stack of three high-heat chambers and one low-heat chamber. The maximum temperature rating of the high-heat chambers is 1922°F (1050°C), and the low heat chamber has a maximum temperature rating of 1004°F (540°C). Each furnace chamber has load space dimensions of 36 inches wide x 30 inches deep x 8 inches high.
SECO/VACUUM, a SECO/WARWICK Group company, received an order for a high-volume nitrocarburizing furnace serving a major automaker via a tier-one supplier. The horizontal retort furnace is designed for precision nitriding capability and productivity. It will allow the company to produce, in North America, a significant number of parts used by automotive suppliers and will be integral to a larger investment in the firm’s component manufacturing operations. In addition to ferritic nitrocarburizing (FNC), the furnace can also provide clean stress-relief processing.
SECO/WARWICK Group’s subsidiary based in Meadville, Pa., has been awarded a major contract to build and commission a specialized aluminum solution heat-treating furnace for a U.S. manufacturer. The furnace, which is AMS 2750-compliant and Nadcap-capable, will be engineered to load, heat treat, quench and discharge with minimal operator assistance. It will be used to heat treat products for automotive, aerospace and medical applications.
Can-Eng Furnaces International Ltd. has been chosen to design and commission a high-capacity heat-treatment system for a Tier 1 global automotive manufacturer. The system provides T-6 and T-7 processing capabilities for lightweight aluminum high-pressure die-casting (HPDC) automotive components. It includes Can-Eng’s robotically integrated part-handling system; individual part-processing features that deliver predictable metallurgical and part dimensional properties; precision air-quenching technology; Level 2 automation for the managing of individual component parameter traceability; system diagnostics; and CQI-9 reporting.