Canadian auto parts supplier Magna International Inc. cut the ribbon on a US$60-million expansion of its plant in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday, debuting a new high-pressure aluminium casting process.
The plant, operated by Kamtek, a division of Magna, will see the addition of over 100 new positions thanks to the expansion. Already running at full capacity, the plant previously employed 850 full-time employees.
The main addition to the plant is equipment that will carry out a new high-pressure aluminium casting process, which the firm says is an improvement over current methods, as often the traditional process involves up to a dozen individual stampings to form a single automotive structural component. Magna says that the new facilities will initially turn out lightweight aluminum front shock towers for an unnamed current customer.
John Farrell, president of Magna’s body and chassis operating unit, highlighted the advantages of aluminium structural parts in automotive production and the firm’s ongoing commitment to provide such parts for the industry.
“We remain focused on lightweighting to help improve fuel economy while decreasing vehicle emissions over time. The Kamtek expansion demonstrates our dedication to meeting these challenges head-on through leading-edge manufacturing processes that streamline vehicle weight reduction for our customers.”
The factory’s current customer base includes Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Nissan. It is among the top suppliers of aluminium structural castings in the NAFTA zone and is the globe’s third-largest supplier of such components.
Based in Ontario, Magna is one of Canada’s largest companies, with over three hundred manufacturing operations and one hundred product development, engineering, and sales centers across over two dozen countries. Founded in 1957, Magna employs over 161,000 employees and supplies automakers including Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Tesla, BMW, and Toyota among others. The public company is traded on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange and operates under a unique “fair enterprise” corporate constitution that mandates distribution of profits to both shareholders and employees.