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Radford Plant Is Company’s Latest Acquisition


burly 30-something man walks into the lobby at Grede Radford, Radford, Va. He’s looking for work. He’s also

looking for a pen. When he eventu- ally finds one, he begins filling out an employment application. Te man, who declines to give his

name, was sent to the metalcasting facility by his brother. He’s been told the company is hiring, and he’d like to throw his hat into the ring. If the applicant doesn’t make

the employment cut, it won’t be for lack of availability. Grede Holdings LLC purchased Virginia Castings LLC (formerly the Intermet New River foundry) in March and plans to increase its employment by almost 50% by 2013. Te facility, now known as Grede Radford, is a high-produc- tion, automotive-focused vertical green sand molding shop that currently counts about 200 employees among its ranks, up from 170 at the time of its acquisition. Grede expects it to reach 300 employees in 2013. “[Radford is] very happy Grede has

come in and taken over management of the foundry,” said Basil Edwards, Radford’s director of economic devel- opment. “From what I can tell, [it] is doing very well. Tey have continued to invest and make improvements down there. We hope it is a longstand- ing relationship.”

20 | MODERN CASTING October 2012

Grede’s management hopes so, too. Te plant was the company’s fourth metalcasting facility acquisition in the 12 months between March 2011 and 2012. Since the current form of the Grede conglomerate was created in early 2010 through the merger of legacy Grede and Citation Corp., it has grown its holdings from 15 total facilities to 21, purchasing two machine shops in addition to the four casting plants. But Grede isn’t the first industry

titan to try to operate a metalcasting facility on the riverside site in Radford. Edwards said a water pipe casting plant opened its doors sometime in the 1880s and a number of owners have come and gone in the 130 years since. Most recently, the challenge had been undertaken by the now defunct Intermet, as well as a group of inves- tors that operate several other profit- able automotive casting facilities. So why does Grede think it can succeed where others have failed?

Grede Radford, Radford, Va.

Process: Vertical green sand.

Metal Cast: Ductile iron. Facilty Size: 175,000 sq. ft.

Average Casting Size: 20 lbs. Installed Capacity: 88,000 net tons. Employees: 200.

Markets Served: Automotive.

Grede Radford General Manager Michael Del- Signore, standing between plant employees Jeff Cochran (left) and Clyde Trent, has 30 years of metalcasting industry experience.

Grede’s Growth:

A Virginia-based ductile iron casting facility is the newest reclamation project for one of the largest and fastest growing companies in the metalcasting industry. SHEA GIBBS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

“If we put in the ‘Grede Way’ and the [associated] processes, we can turn things right and make the plant profitable,” said Anthony Lovell, vice president of global sales and market- ing. “We will reinvest money where it needs to be and open up more capac- ity, if necessary.”

Charting the New Grede For the first year following the

merger of Grede and Citation, the new company was focused on find- ing the best people, processes and technologies from each of the legacy companies and discarding the rest. It had established integration teams to find the best corporate structures from each organization and identify synergies between them. Corporate- level policies, systems and metrics were the first to be selected. Doug Grimm, company chairman, president and CEO, initially said finding the best metalcasting technologies in use at

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