Filling a Red Metal Void
Concast sees opportunity as a domestic supplier of wrought bronze.
By Tim Triplett, Editor-in-Chief
Concast Metal Products Co. has been a supplier of continuous cast bronze alloys for over 50 years, but its offering of wrought is relatively recent. “Other companies have made these products in the past, but many have faded away. So there was a void to be filled in the U.S.,” says Al Barbour, Concast owner and president.
Wrought bars are cold drawn or cold drawn-annealed to give them several desirable properties. The drawing process gives them a precise dimension for tighter tolerances; increased mechanical properties such as yield strength, tensile strength and hardness; and better machinability for faster feed rates and improved productivity for customers. Concast’s standard wrought products include: C31400, C51000, C54400 and C63000. Nonstandard wrought alloys include C26000, C52100, C53400, C65100 and C65500. Concast will begin producing C63000 domestically in 2012.
Other competitors in North America import their wrought product offerings, Barbour notes. “As a domestic supplier, we are better able to service people so they don’t have to wait 12 or 14 weeks for a container or make a commitment to 4,000-pound lots.”
Concast first began offering wrought alloys in October 2009, while the economy was at its worst. Today, the company’s sales of all products have returned to pre-recession levels as the industrial sector leads the recovery, Barbour says.
Concast produces specialty copper-based alloys in two locations: Mars, Pa., and Birmingham, Ohio. The Mars facility houses five vertical continuous casting facilities. Birmingham houses nine horizontal casting lines, plus 45,000 square feet of warehouse space and a finished goods inventory of more than 875 standard product sizes.
Concast’s product line includes leaded bronze and aluminum bronze in bar, rod, tube, rectangle, hex, hex tube and specialty shapes, as well as its lead-free GreenAlloys line. It serves customers in the energy, aerospace, automotive, bearings and bushings, heavy equipment, military, plumbing and industrial valves and fittings markets. Sixty-five percent of Concast’s volume passes through service centers.
“Ours is a niche product for most distributors, but it offers a nice margin. Our product might be less than 5 percent of a distributor’s total sales, but it is a very important 5 percent,” Barbour says. n