Benton Foundry to invest $21 million in expansion
AFS Corporate Member Benton Foundry (Benton, Pennsylvania) will be expanding its iron casting operations over the next three years, creating at least 40 new jobs, according to an announcement from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Roughly 80,000 sq.ft. of manufacturing space will either be added, replaced or repurposed in the $21 million investment.
The expansion will begin this summer and focuses on the foundry’s core room and cleaning and finishing areas. According to Benton Foundry president Jeffrey Hall, the plan for the core room is to streamline operations, add capabilities, and design-protect for future resin systems and alternative materials. The expansion will increase capacity from 5,000 tons of core per year to 10,000 tons. The investment will also build in the option to incorporate sand reclamation for core production in the future.
Significant changes will be made in the casting cleaning and grinding areas, as well. The current fleet of cleaning equipment will be replaced, and Hall anticipates adding a 14 cu.ft. barrel drum, two 34 cu.ft. tumble blast units, and a monorail system. Benton Foundry will increase its robotic grinding cells from six to 10-12 with the aim of robotically grinding up to 75% of all product shipped.
“Benton Foundry has prospered by pushing into harder-to-make castings, which has made core assembly an integral part of our success and growth as we double the size of this portion of the foundry,” Tim Brown, vice president of Benton Foundry, said in a press release. “We feel fortunate to partner with world-renowned ergonomics and industrial engineering professors from Penn State University, in addition to the Governor’s Action Team, whose work reflects tangible results that will provide sustenance for the continued growth of our operation.”
Benton Foundry received a proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the project, which includes a $150,000 Pennsylvania First Grant and $40,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.
Benton Foundry’s state-of-the-art, automated facility pours 170 tons of iron daily and anticipates being able to increase its capacity to up to 225 tons after expanding.