Cast Aluminum Solutions Is Kane County's 2015 Manufacturing Champion

Cast Aluminum Solutions Is Kane County’s 2015 Manufacturing Champion

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.26.53 AM

Cast Aluminum Solutions’ inspiring success story has earned the Batavia company a new title: 2015 Kane County Manufacturing Champion of the Year.

During a special event at Friday’s Kane County Board Jobs Committee meeting, Cast Aluminum Solutions was chosen from a list of 11 Kane County manufacturing companies nominated for the 2015 awards. Cast will go on to represent Kane County in the 2015 Manufacturing Champion Awards on Oct. 7, hosted by the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing.

Representatives of each of the 11 Kane County companies were presented with a banner while a Kane County Jobs Committee member read a short description of the company’s work, its products and its mission. All of the stories were compelling testimonies that “Made in Kane County” stands for quality and competitiveness in national and world markets.

None of those stories were more dramatic or emotional than that of the winner, Cast Aluminum Solutions, the Batavia-based thermal-components company that was supposed to be shuttered in 2010, but found an 11th-hour savior. New owners not only kept the business alive but used new technology to reinvent the company, which has risen like a phoenix in a worldwide marketplace.

“The Jobs Committee is so proud to be able to provide this recognition for CAS and all 11 of our manufacturing champions,” said Jobs Committee Co-Chair Rebecca Gillam. “These companies are the backbone of the local economy, and we’re grateful for their professionalism, their commitment to our communities and the jobs they provide residents of Kane County.”

CAS - assembly of heating components 2

Cast Aluminum Solutions’ Story

From zero to hero.

That’s a too-brief and too-simple explanation of the Cast Aluminum Solutions story, but it does capture the essence of the comeback for the company that employs 65 people and has made a name for itself across the globe.

Originally a cog in a large corporation, the “Batavia plant” was designated for closure in early 2010. The employees were to be let go and the building sold. But a small group of determined employees refused to accept that fate and set out to find a buyer who might keep the plant alive. Employees hit the phones. They wrote letters. They wrote treatises that explained the market demand for their products. After months of meetings – most filled with rejection and disappointment – the leadership team found a buyer, and in late 2010, the plant was fully purchased by a private organization.

Every employee kept his or her job, and those employees started doing what they do best: making top-quality aluminum and thermal components for the food, chemical, semiconductor, petroleum and aerospace industries. Re-branded as “Cast Aluminum Solutions,” the company now exports products to Germany, Singapore, Taiwan and India and has a thriving business serving customers and processors across the United States and Canada.

What They Do

Cast Aluminum Solutions (sometimes called CAS) makes industrial components that go into larger machines or fit into complex processes. The core material for CAS products is almost always aluminum, and most of components are used in some type of “heating application.”

Those components are used in processes that make many of the foods we eat, the gasoline our cars burn and the cool new phones and devices we all use.

CAS - man finishing heating ringCAS products are used by:

  • Space exploration and jet propulsion agencies
  • Major pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Top-name food and restaurant brands
  • Oil and gas exploration and refinery operators
  • Semiconductor and micro-chip manufacturers

“We’re happy to be based in Kane County, thrilled to be a part of Illinois’ manufacturing scene, and very proud to produce American-made goods that help this country succeed in today’s global marketplace,” the company says in its marketing efforts.

In addition to working with a long list of local suppliers and sub-contractors, CAS employs a large team of certified engineers, highly-skilled CNC machinists, foundry technicians, electrical assembly experts, and sales support personnel. All CAS employees reside within Illinois, and 78 percent reside in Kane County.

CAS is an active member and supporter of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce and has partnered with local universities and training facilities to offer internships, jobs and training programs.

While CAS ships semiconductor heating platens to Taiwan and Singapore, circulation heaters for chemical processing operations in France, Germany and Italy and a variety of products to customers in the United States, Canada and South America, its “sourcing focus” remains in Kane County, the surrounding collar counties and Illinois.

CAS employs a team of engineers that use cutting edge technologies to model, design and test components. Skilled engineers use Finite Element Analysis, Computational Fluid Dynamics, 3-D CAD Designs, X-Ray Testing stations, and Digital Testing for measuring product quality.

The company also sets itself apart in its commitment to staff training and development. The Batavia facility features a full cleanroom for dealing with sterile or ultra-clean projects relating to the semiconductor and medical industries. CAS is an ISO-9001 Company, which means it follows rigid manufacturing and operational procedures.

A Commitment to the Community

Cast Aluminum Solutions is a manufacturing champion because of its commitment to the community, the county and the country.

CAS - employee measuring thickness of component with micrometerThe CAS Business Leadership Team meets with every employee in the building on a monthly basis to make sure they are satisfied with working conditions, and that all operations are being kept safe and hazard-free.

Rick Ahern, executive director of CAS, says the company embraces the idea that “every employee has a voice.”

“You never know where the next great idea is going to come from,” Ahern said. “And sometimes the best ones come from someone on the shop floor, not the executive suite.”

Ahern said CAS’s “let’s get it done together” attitude that has been critical to the company’s success.

“Together we have weathered the storms of possible shut-down, pulled ourselves up by our boot straps, put our steel toed boots on, and made this company flourish,” he said. “Our partners in the community and our suppliers throughout the state have played a major role in our survival, and we give back as much as possible every day.”

11 Manufacturing Champions

While CAS was chosen to represent Kane County in the next round of statewide nominations, all 11 companies were honored last week for their outstanding work in 2015. You can read more about them in the series of articles below.

  • AmeriChem Systems, Inc.
  • ASK Products
  • CAST Aluminum Solutions
  • Custom Aluminum Products
  • Freudenberg Household Products Division
  • Mitutoyo America Corporation’s Calibration Lab
  • Multifilm Packaging
  • OTTO Controls and OTTO Communications
  • PartyLite Worldwide
  • Rig Source, Inc.
  • Vegetable Vitamin Foods

Manufacturing Series