Sapa Group, the world's largest aluminum extruder, has announced a $34 million capital investment aimed at installing a state-of-the-art, 14-inch indirect press for rod and bar production at its Cressona, Pa. plant. The investment will result in a major upgrade of Sapa North America's industrial extrusion capabilities and will raise the standard for rod and bar production and distribution industry-wide.
Sapa is the only North American soft alloy extruder with indirect press technology. The addition of a new indirect press will increase production speed per unit by up to 50 percent, resulting in better grain structure and overall quality of product, and recover more scrap material than was previously possible at the Cressona plant, resulting in a lower operating cost to produce current rod and bar offerings. Combined, these improvements will create greater efficiency and increased control capabilities for Cressona's largest market.
"The investment in this new press is indicative of Sapa's commitment to remain at the forefront of technological innovation in the North American rod and bar market," said Patrick Lawlor, president of Sapa Profiles North America. "With the addition of this new piece of manufacturing equipment, we're setting a higher standard for the industry and ultimately a better business model and product to serve our customers."
The indirect extrusion process allows for a more consistent grain structure and better dimensional tolerances, which improves the machinability and finishing of Sapa rod and bar products.
Along with the new indirect press, Sapa plans to add automatic packing and aging to the process, enabling a fully integrated line for customers that will result in better quality, lower cost and faster delivery than competitors.
Currently, the Cressona plant includes a range of direct and indirect presses used to produce a variety of rod, bar and tube products for the commercial transportation, automotive, defense, industrial-consumer, and thermal management markets as well as its network of distribution service centers.
Combined with Sapa's Spanish Fork (UT) plant, which has also been the recent recipient of an investment to improve its indirect press handling system, both plants are now equipped to produce the highest, most consistent quality of rod and bar products in the marketplace. In addition, Sapa's Connersville (Ind.) and Elkhart (Ind.) plants specialize in aluminum extrusion for industrial markets, resulting in a broad coverage area for Sapa to supply and distribute throughout North America.
"Sapa's commitment to remain the industry leader in extruded products is clear," said Charlie Straface, general manager of Sapa Industrial Extrusions. "With the recent expansion of the Cressona cast house, this new indirect press, and other improvement projects, Sapa will have invested $61 million into its Cressona operation between 2010 and 2012."