General Motors announced a $100 million investment in two of its manufacturing facilities: $93 million at the Romulus, Mich., propulsion plant and $7 million at the Bedford, Ind., casting operations. The Romulus investment will add machining capability, while the Bedford investment will increase the plant’s die-casting capabilities. Both investments will support increased production of GM’s 10-speed automatic transmissions used in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty, full-size pickups. Work will begin immediately at both locations.
Aluminum was first discovered in the early 1800s and was produced in quantity during the turn of the 20th century using the Hall–Héroult smelting process. Interestingly enough, Carl Benz was patenting his first version of a self-propelled internal-combustion-engine automobile during that same time. During these times, automobiles or horseless carriages were a luxury and difficult for common people to afford.
Germany’s ZF will invest $200 million in commercial vehicle transmission manufacturing in North America. Beginning in 2023, ZF will produce the ZF PowerLine 8-speed automatic transmission at the company’s manufacturing facility in Gray Court, S.C. The additional production line at ZF Gray Court will create more than 500 new jobs.
Anhui Anhuang Machinery Co. Ltd. placed an order with SMS group for a fully automatic closed-die forging line for pistons. The 2,500-ton line consists of a fully automatic closed-die forging press and an induction heating system from SMS Elotherm for heating the forging blanks. Anhui Anhuang will be one of the first automotive suppliers in China that is capable of manufacturing pistons for cars and trucks in a fully automated process. Commissioning is scheduled for the second quarter of 2022.
Whether with advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) or mild steel, many automotive parts need to be stamped. Dies for stamping those parts need to be optimized, and that drives the need for surface treatments.
Nova Steel USA Inc. plans to build a 108,000-square-foot tube manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Ky. The $70 million investment is expected to create 110 full-time jobs in the coming years. The project includes purchase and installation of equipment for precision roll forming, laser cutting, tube bending, fabrication and robotics. According to Nova Steel, the facility will produce a variety of automotive parts used in the production of pickup trucks and SUVs.
General Motors plans to invest $71 million into two Ohio manufacturing facilities, including $39 million at its Toledo transmission plant and $32 million at its Defiance casting plant. Work will begin immediately at the two locations. The Toledo investment will be used to upgrade and enhance the production of GM’s eight-speed rear-wheel-drive transmission, and the Defiance investment will be used to prepare the facility for future engine casting components work. The investments will enable the company to retain 240 jobs.
Denmark’s Mountain Top Industries, which manufacturers aluminum roll covers for pickup trucks, plans to invest $13.3 million to open a 73,000-square-foot facility in Montgomery, Ala. The plant will create 90 full-time jobs. In addition to Denmark, the company also has design and production facilities in Australia and Thailand.
Gasbarre Thermal Processing Systems rebuilt and shipped a 24-inch, four-zone continuous mesh-belt brazing furnace for an automotive-parts supplier in Mexico. The rebuild included a new 330 stainless steel muffle, new silicon-carbide heating elements, new cooling sections and new furnace controls to meet CQI-9 requirements. The CQI-9 controls package includes data acquisition, preventive-maintenance alerts, remote connectivity, furnace parameter trending and temperature deviation alarms. Gasbarre will provide ongoing service and support for the company in Mexico.
SECO/WARWICK received an order for a three-chamber vacuum furnace from a global manufacturer of automotive components. It will be the first furnace utilizing low-pressure carburizing (LPC) technology for the Indian company. It was chosen to solve a problem with intergranular oxidation present in the company’s traditional atmosphere heat-treat furnaces. The LPC furnace will be dedicated to small and large gear, pinion and other types of automotive gears.