Ohio Star Forge in Warren, OH, will start a $20-million expansion project soon, and the steel forger expects to complete the effort before year’s end, according to local reports. The plan involves expanding the current plant structure with a 33,000-sq.ft. extension, and installing additional production machinery that would more than double the current annual capacity, to 36,000 tons per year of forged products.
OSF produces alloy and carbon steel closed-die forgings, including deep-groove ball bearings, taper roller bearings, wheel hub units, fasteners, cold-forming blanks, gear blanks, various transmission parts, and other automotive components. Production machinery include three Hatebur hot formers that produce pieces from 1- to 5-in. OD at an average of 110 parts per minute.
The expansion project will be supported by a 60%, 10-year property tax-abatement package for OSF’s land, building, and improvements, approved recently by Trumbull County (Ohio) commissioners.
In February, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority also approved job-creation tax credits worth $107,483 for the OSF project, and the state issued a $30,000 workforce-training grant to finance training current and new workers at the plant.
Ohio Star Forge has said the expansion could increase its total employment from 96 to about 130 workers.
The upcoming project will follow the recent start up of a roller-hearth, continuous mesh belt normalizing furnace at OSF. Niagara Falls, Ont.-based Can-Eng Furnaces International Ltd. designed and built a 3,500 lb./hour automated system that processes various steel forgings.
New Furnace Installation
The new furnace installation includes a computerized loading system, the mesh-belt normalizing furnace, a forced-air cooling system, and a level 2 automation system.
Can-Eng Furnaces designed the operation for indirect heating to minimize oxidation, using radiant ‘U’ tubes to recuperate exhaust gases. Can-Eng’s automation package tracks product status and collects process data, which is used to support continuous process improvement, equipment diagnostics, processing costs analysis, and inventory management.
The OSF plant occupies the former Copperweld Steel site in Warren, and it operates as an independent subsidiary of Daido Steel, a Japanese specialty and tool steel producer. Reportedly, the Ohio site was selected for the expansion program above a Japanese location, and domestic automotive market demand was among the decisive factors in the result.