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rey, Mexico, purchased Blackhawk de Mexico, Santa Catarina, Mexico, in 2003, the gray and ductile iron casting facility underwent a remark- able turnaround. What once was a green sand facility struggling to turn a profi t producing gray iron castings for the electric motor industry grew into one of Mexico’s leading metalcast- ing operations, earning MODERN CASTING’s 2009 Metalcaster of the Year award. Blackhawk’s latest transforma-


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tion was temporarily delayed by the economic unrest of the last decade. Original plans for a new $21-million nobake molding line were approved in late 2008, just as the U.S. and global economy began its precipitous fall. Specializing in ductile iron castings for the heavy truck and farm equipment markets, Blackhawk was forced to table its plans while orders dried up. “Within a month, it was put on


hold,” said Blackhawk CEO Patri- cio Gil, of the expansion project. “By March 2009, we lost 80% of our volume. We didn’t lose customers, just volume. T ere was really nothing we could do.” Blackhawk produced just 6,600


metric tons of castings in 2009, half the total from the previous year. But the metalcaster bounced back in a big way the next two years, produc- ing 10,800 metric tons in 2010 and 15,468 metric tons in 2011, a record total. T e facility’s outlook improved so quickly in those two years that Blackhawk broke ground on its new 50,000-sq.-ft. nobake molding line in February 2012, less than three years after weathering the worst economic crisis in its 13-year history.


Identifying Potential Blackhawk produces a variety of


castings between 4 to 200 lbs. (approx. 2 to 90 kg), including diff erential cases, carriers, slip yokes and wheel hubs for the heavy truck market and hydraulic components, fl ywheels, steering arms and retainers for farm


hen Quimmco Group, Monter-


applications. When Blackhawk execu- tives began to notice potential demand for larger castings, ranging up to 700 lbs. from existing clients, the company soon realized a new market. “We identifi ed the niche and


started digging a little bit with our agriculture and off highway custom- ers,” Gil said. “We never paid attention to compressors, and at the end, they found us. Now, large compressors are part of this niche.”


The nobake line is capable of producing 700-lb. castings in 55 x 47-in. fl asks. April 2014 MODERN CASTING | 21


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