The Finkl Steel group recently invested $2.1 million (C$2.7 million) at its open-die forging operation in Saint-Joseph-de-Sorel, Québec, to install new finishing capabilities for tool-and-die steel products. The new installation also includes secondary heat-treatment capability.

"To be able to meet the requirements of tool and die manufacturers, one of our key customer groups, we are installing a new, lean production line in Québec," stated Finkl Steel-Sorel CEO Richard Lahaye. "With this new production line, Finkl Steel will continue to differentiate their product portfolio and extend the range of services in fine and precision machining."

Finkl Steel is a Schmolz + Bickenbach Group subsidiary formed last year with the consolidation of three forging operations — A. Finkl & Sons in Chicago, Detroit-based Composite Forgings Ltd., and Sorel Forge in Québec — an effort to improve their marketing and product sourcing capabilities for customers. The new investments will allow tool-and-die steel buyers to order semi-finished products ready for direct processing, potentially reducing overall lead-times.

The new production line includes a 30-mt capacity overhead crane; a CNC-controlled horizontal boring mill; and a new furnace for heat treatment. By linking process steps, Finkl Steel is improving its own cycle times, too, it stated.

Starting next year, customers will be able to request three different finishing processes from a single source at Finkl Steel: drilling, milling and heat treatment. Tool- and diemakers will be able reduce material losses and gain production time for manufacturing their specialty products, it stated. They also will be able to reduce reliance on commercial heat-treaters and other subcontractors.

The automotive industry is a particular focus for these new capabilities, Finkl Steel noted in its announcement.