January 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

Auto Parts Plant Will Reopen

“It may be people that have the skills are wary of the automotive industry,” Hessel said. “But the bottom line, production volumes are picking up. And we are a very financially stable company.”

The company also makes water pumps and transmission-related components.

The new contract meant the plant had to expand, with a recently completed 32,000-square-foot addition that houses huge heat-treat furnaces, where extreme temperatures harden the parts. Each of the three main furnaces is about the size of a semi-trailer.

The upgrade saves General Aluminum the cost of shipping parts out to another company for heat-treating.

“This is a huge cost savings,” Hessel said. “This plant is going to be the most efficient foundry in North America.”

The addition also houses a facility where parts are sprayed with an oil-based dye — called Zyglo — and examined under a black light to detect cracks or imperfections.

Company officials say auto manufacturers require high levels of testing for the “safety critical parts” made in the plant.

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