Automotive Suppliers: Suppliers see share of growth

First Posted: 1/31/2014

ST. MARYS — With more new cars going on the road as the automotive industry rebounds from its 2008 downturn, someone had to make those cast aluminum wheels.

AAP St. Marys Corporation is one of the industry's leaders in designing and manufacturing cast aluminum wheels for several manufacturers, including Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen and Nissan. According to manager Dan Hosek, 2013 brought tremendous growth to the company.

“In late 2013, AAP completed the sixth major expansion of its St. Marys facility,” he said. “This expansion will help AAP prepare for the future growth of its business by providing space for additional production machinery and equipment and allowing them to increase production capacity up to 300,000 wheels per month, five times the capacity of the original facility.”

To fill the extra space, AAP has been recruiting for many of its departments, anticipating additional openings for production operators, multi-craft maintenance technicians and other staff positions in the upcoming year.

“Our success has been built upon continuous quality improvement, customer satisfaction and the active involvement of our associates,” Hosek said. “By focusing on these three principles, AAP has continued to grow and has been able to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers and provide its 500 associates with over 26 years of steady employment.”

American Trim

LIMA — American Trim specializes in metal forming and stamping, both for those in the automotive industry and others.

One of the major developments related to the automotive industry involves fuel cell technology, eliminating the use of gasoline in motor vehicles. Members of American Trim's research and development team spoke in November at the 2013 Fuel Cell Seminar and Exposition in Columbus.

American Trim's focus is on the commercialization of fuel cells by developing a process that can develop a high volume of bipolar plates, a component of fuel cells, at a low cost. By using powerful magnetic forces to help form the plates, American Trim's researchers are hopeful to provide a low-cost alternative to fuel-cell construction.

“The biggest barrier to Proton Exchange Membrane, or PEM, fuel cells becoming a mainstream technology is their cost,” Jianhui Shang, senior research scientist at American Trim, said in November. “By electromagnetic forming, we developed a novel process to manufacture metallic PEM fuel cell bipolar plates to meet the high-volume and low-cost requirements.”

Shang's work was awarded first-place honors at the seminar.

MetoKote Corporation

LIMA — MetoKote Corporation in Lima is one of the industry leaders in custom metal coating, developing technologies in electrocoating, powder coating and liquid paint. According to marketing manager Deb Goldenetz, 2013 brought several changes to the Lima-based company.

“Platinum Equity, based in Los Angeles, purchased us on Oct. 1,” she said. “We feel it's been a great fit for us. It's giving us more ability to grow our business.”

Despite the change in ownership, the day-to-day running of the company has not been affected in any substantial way.

“Everything pretty much stayed steady after the purchase,” Goldenetz said. “Some people were moved around, but that's pretty much it. So far, it's been a smooth transition.”

This upcoming year will see significant growth for MetoKote.

“We've secured some new business, and we'll be adding a couple of new plants in 2014, as well as installing a couple of new lines in our existing facility,” Goldenetz said. “With one of our customers, we now have the opportunity to do all of their work rather than just a portion, and we've also secured some new business with a brand new customer.”

Goldenetz was unable to provide details on the new contracts, pending official announcements.

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