of the accident wouldn’t be known until the building was cleared to enter much later in the day. They later found that the fire started at 4am - a new employee had used a torch to clean wax drippings in the wax reclaim area of the foundry. The extent of the damage was

dizzying. The entire roof over the foundry and heat treat areas was completely destroyed. Fumes and dust hung in the air as if caught in a web. Walking through the plant, the shock of the amount of debris and damage left little room for hope. The silence was eerie as the water-logged equipment sat inoperable, unproductive, and the rest of the plant was unusable as all the utility lines had been destroyed: power, natural gas, water, and compressed air. But rather than be paralyzed by

the enormity of the devastation, Cera- Met’s leadership, along with President and owner, Henri Fine, quickly jumped into action. By mid-morning on the day of the fire, contractors were already deployed and restoration was underway. Concerns of customer delivery needs remained at the forefront of the management team and alternative processes were put in place in order to


continue to ship product. With the help of their customers, Cera-Met was able to qualify and approve outside contractors for several key processes lost in the fire. Vendors also reached out to Cera-Met to aid in meeting delivery requirements. Additionally, Cera-Met was able to take shells and a foundry crew up to their sister company, Uni-Cast, to pour metal in the evenings. These partnerships helped Cera-Met to resume shipping parts by the end of January and the company was able to maintain their delivery schedule on several critical programs. While the effects of the fire were

far-reaching, most of the heavy damage occurred in the foundry and heat treat departments. That allowed for Cera- Met to creatively configure a secondary foundry location in their warehouse so that they could produce castings and by mid-February, Cera-Met was pouring metal in-house again! Reconstruction continued and more

employees were brought back to work. By June, the original foundry location had completed most of its makeover: new equipment had been installed such as the autoclave and dewax system,

push-through oven, and foundry robot, as well as additional melting pots, furnaces, and a new roof. Seizing this moment as an opportunity, Cera-Met also decided to increase capacity and capabilities by installing a new electric ladle and a large tilt furnace with a new crane system to manufacture larger castings. Ten short months after what seemed

to be a business ending event, Cera-Met is not only back to full production, but now has three fully functional foundries and a 50% increase in casting capability! Working through the trials of

emerging from this devastation was certainly difficult, but Cera-Met was not alone in the effort. The quick recovery would not have been possible without the partnerships of its customers and vendors. Also, the guidance and quick response from its insurance carrier was instrumental in coordinating the team that would complete the renovation in record time. Cera-Met has certainly risen out of the ashes and, through its tenacity and perseverance, as well as the team of dedicated resources, it continues to be a leader in the aluminum investment casting industry.

November 2020 ❘ 9

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