Manufacturing has formed Pennsylvania’s past, present and future – making it a significant component of our economy and our heritage. Here, Andy Renkey, president, V-Process Foundry Group, talks about what’s happening at Harmony Castings, a Pittsburgh-area company and why it is proud to produce high quality aluminum castings and other services in the Keystone State.
Harmony Castings is marking its 40th year in operation in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Tell us about how it came to be the “oldest, most dedicated V-Process caster in the world.”
Vacuum process casting is an innovative manufacturing process created during the mid-1970s as a cross-over casting technology that combines the best characteristics of both prototype and high-volume manufacturing. Our founder, Bill Willmont, traveled to Japan to learn about this new technology and quickly realized the potential in V-process. Mr. Willmont constructed Harmony’s facility in 1979 and began producing high-quality aluminum castings. For the past 40 years, Harmony Castings has been a recognized leader in vacuum process casting by supplying superior products for our valued customers.
Explain your V-Process (vacuum molded casting) and the company’s cadre of molding technologies.
V-process differs from traditional sand casting by utilizing vacuum pressure to define the shape of a casting. Traditional sand castings utilize additives to harden the sand and hold it together. Vacuum pressure eliminates bonded sand from our process, allowing Harmony Castings to produce a superior surface finish, tighter tolerances and thinner walls. In addition, V-process eliminates the requirement for added draft on parts and guarantees our patterns last the duration of any project. We have customers who purchased patterns 20 years ago and have never had to replace their original investment.
Describe your customer base, your castings and what they are used for.
Harmony Castings provides product to a wide array of industries. Our largest customers are in the medical, military, robotics and aerospace industries, but the applications for V-process are endless. With our third-party aerospace quality certification (AS 9100 Rev. D), customers are ensured their castings will meet design intent. Any customer requiring speed-to-market and flexibility in design will benefit from using the vacuum process. Recently, we have partnered with numerous companies in the electric or hybrid vehicle market. These innovative companies need prototype castings quickly and require numerous changes as their products develop. They also require the ability to increase production volumes quickly. These are all traits at which Harmony Castings excels.
What other services does Harmony Castings provide?
Our goal is to provide our customers a one-stop-shop for all their casting needs. The majority of our customers’ requirements include detailed CNC machining and finishing services with chromate plating, powder coat or wet paints. In addition, many of our customers demand precise quality specifications through non-destructive testing, such as X-ray or die penetrant. Harmony Castings identifies and partners with industry experts to provide the additional services as needed.
Harmony Castings has invested in both people and technology at its 25,000-square-foot facility. Tell us more.
People are our most valuable asset, and we embrace input we receive from all team members. All our employees strive to achieve our “Perfect Day Philosophy,” which emphasizes the need for perfect service and perfect quality in our industry. Over the past seven years, we have recognized the importance of technology and have partnered with local colleges for engineering internships. These students helped broaden our vision on what we can accomplish through newer technologies. Harmony has doubled its engineering and quality organization and now employs seven engineers. We utilize simulation modeling to optimize metal flow and solidification. Over the past 18 months, Harmony incorporated additive manufacturing technologies with the goal of establishing a hybrid manufacturing concept utilizing both 3D printing and V-process. Vacuum process by itself is impressive, and when we combine its advantages with 3D printing, we see tremendous future potential.
What is the outlook for Harmony Castings in 2019?
Harmony’s outlook is extremely positive. Understanding the strength of our competitive industry, we anticipated growth would occur when manufacturing recovered. Since 2015, we have added more than 7,000 square feet of manufacturing space and have experienced revenue increases of 68 percent. Harmony’s team is poised to capitalize on opportunity and has positioned itself with available capacity. Our outlook continues to be bullish, and we look forward to sustained growth.
Why are you proud to have your castings “Made in PA”?
Over the past century, Pittsburgh has been the cornerstone of modern metal casting and a foundation for casting innovation. Today, Pennsylvania is experiencing unparalleled technological growth. Our universities are partnering with businesses and local government as innovation leaders in robotics and additive manufacturing. Harmony Castings embraces new technologies and envisions limitless opportunities.
For more information, visit www.harmonycastings.com.