Ellwood Texas Forge Navasota expands with $60M investment (US)

Local leaders and community members take a tour of the new DG80 complex at ETFN. The new counter blower hammer is pictured left, with the 5,500-ton press. (Credit Photo @ Navasota Examiner – Rosemary Smith)

In the current economy, while companies are laying off employees and cutting production, Ellwood Texas Forge Navasota has strengthened its investment in the local community. The company, which is now able to manufacture complex, large forgings for the aerospace, construction, oil and gas and other industries, unveiled its new, $60 million state-of-the-art DG80 complex April 28, and is already reporting a 31 percent increase in production. “As with the rest of the country, we experienced a sizeable downturn in our sales and we had to make the painful decision of letting go of some of our employees (in 2009.) Faced with such a downturn, most companies would have been hesitant to go ahead with the huge investment of $60 million needed to complete this project. Ellwood took a long-term approach to our business and took the attitude of “Build it and they will come…” Fortunately for us, the long term vision paid off and is opening up doors for growth,” said Capital Projects & Purchasing Director Kasi Nath. The company has since been able to rehire employees that were laid off in 2009, and hired an additional 12 people, with plans to add another crew for the second shift. “This modern facility is thoughtfully laid out to produce quality forgings precisely and in a cost effective manner, allowing Ellwood to effectively compete against low-cost country manufacturers and other forging companies globally,” said Director Nath. “The investment, made possible by the family-owned Ellwood Group Inc., head-quartered in Ellwood City Penn., secures the future of many of Ellwood Texas Forge Navasota’s employees who reside in the local community and opens up potential for future growth.” President Mark Cianci said the Hammer Complex Project was started in 2007, as business at the Houston plant was thriving, just 1 year prior to the company purchasing the Navasota facility. “In 2008, we purchased the Navasota plant, which – on its own merits – proved to be an excellent decision, but was vital for the success of this project,” said President Cianci. “In 2009, our economy went through the worst recession since the great depression, yet we continued on with the project. I am proud that we did, as I believe it speaks highly of our parent company and the fact that they are committed to this business for the long term. It also speaks to Ellwood’s confidence that they had in all of you (Navasota employees.)”

Why Navasota?

“Placing the hammer complex in Navasota was a simple decision,” said President Cianci. “The people here have outstanding technical knowledge and the place is filled with incredible and dedicated people, and it’s because of them that this project has started up on time and on budget. And it is because of our employees that I am so confident that we will be successful and provide our customers with what they deserve – excellent quality and delivery reliability at a competitive price.” Nath added that room for growth, coupled with the amount of acreage available, also impacted the decision to expand the Navasota facility.

New equipment

The heart of the 30,000-square-foot DG80 complex expansion is a $15 million, 80-meter ton counter-blow hammer, which is the third largest of its kind ever built, according to representatives. It is 25 feet tall above ground, and sits 16.5 feet below ground level. The maximum impact energy level is 800kJ and its total mass weight is 725 tons. Other heavyweight DG80 complex equipment includes a 5,500-ton hydraulic press, which is 49 feet tall, 37 of which is above ground; and a 3,000-ton hydraulic press, which is 44.5 feet tall and 27 of which is above ground.The concrete base mass for the DG80, 5,500-ton hydraulic press and 3,000-ton hydraulic press alone totals 4,590 tons, not including re-bar.Other DG80 complex equipment includes: forging equipment that consists of a 630kJ conventional hammer, a 50,000-pound hammer, a 5,000-ton pre-form press and a 3,000-ton trim press; heating equipment that includes 5 box furnaces and 2 rotary furnaces (to be installed); and manipulation/handling equipment that includes 2 Glama rail bound manipulators with 8,800-pound lifting capacity and a high pressure water descaler.In order to sustain the pressure of the new equipment, the building itself was made with a 48,600,000-pound concrete foundation (not including re-bar) that is 32 feet below ground level and 16 feet thick, poured by Fuqua Construction of Navasota.According to Ellwood representatives, the DG 80 counter blow hammer complex will allow the forging of larger parts from steels, as well as nickel and titanium-based super alloys. The complex, with its various, pre-from hammers and press, can be operated as 2 separate lines, dramatically increasing flexibility and throughput. The forging process is computer controlled and will provide for unparalleled process control and repeatability.Other equipment purchased to complete the project includes: 63-ton air operated forging hammer; 5 energy efficient gas furnaces; high-tech high pressure water descaler; and 2 rail bound manipulators for transfer of hot billets and hot forgings in a semi-automated fashion.”The management is prepared to invest additionally in the complex, as the business picks up and needs for other equipment arise,” said Director Nath. “Our goal is to judiciously add supporting investments needed for processing of large forgings this counter blow hammer will be producing. With the financial backing of the Pennsylvania-based Ellwood Group, we are fortunate to be able to fund whatever investment is needed to grow the business. We are thankful to our Board of Directors and the confidence they have in the people of Navasota.”ETFN is set to install a $2.2 million state-of-the-art vertical turning center this summer, and plans to add required heat treat and machining equipment, according to Nath.”We aim for a 15 percent to 30 percent growth, year over year, depending on market conditions,” said Director Nath.

Source : Navasota Examiner

Posted in Strategy.

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