Gateway Extrusions in Union, Missouri, continues its multi-phase expansion program with the acquisition of a new 9 inch aluminum extrusion press, which is currently in final stages of testing and calibration before being brought into full operation. The new press complements a new 7 inch aluminum press installed by Mei Ruey Industrial a year ago.
“This state-of-the-art large press will allow Gateway to supply heavier, stronger components for curtain wall systems and heavy-commercial windows, and also to continue expansion into new markets, such as automotive and other transportation components,” said Tom Ziegler, Vice President for Gateway Extrusions. “We will be able to offer our customers the extruded profiles they need in a broader range of lengths and tempering with this new 9 inch press. The system’s features allow us to operate very efficiently, moving from one extrusion order to the next with minimal transition time in between.” Once fully operational, the new press will increase the company’s current throughput in pounds-per-hour by at least 50%.
Gateway’s new 9 inch, 2,750-ton extrusion press system, supplied by Mei Ruey Industrial, features a 174 ft runout capability with a high-temperature felt belt handling system. The system provides for saw lengths from 8 to 30 ft with inspection tables. For extrusion orders that require it, a standing wave quench system will enable Gateway to provide harder structural alloys — such as 6061, 6105, and 6005A, in the final cooling process — than the company’s currently operating 7-inch press.
Production speed and efficiency have also been improved. A dual pocket die slide combined with the four double cell infrared die ovens facilitate quick change outs and minimize down time between runs. The system’s 75 ton automated final stretcher can be operated by one worker, instead of the two commonly required.
While the new 9 inch press was on order from the manufacturer, Gateway completed removal of a retired extrusion press and significant renovations to the existing building to accommodate the new equipment. The existing concrete floor was demolished and a new larger foundation and reinforced concrete floor was poured to support the new press, and existing equipment was relocated to better accommodate process flows within the building. To gain a more open floor plan, structural support columns were moved and the roof reinforced. “We are planning and staging the work to continue operations throughout the renovations and avoid service interruptions for our customers,” said Ziegler.
The new 9-inch aluminum press purchase is part of Gateway’s multi-phase expansion program, which includes upgrading existing equipment, adding new equipment to increase capacity, and constructing additions to the factory and office spaces to accommodate new services. Last year, the company purchased its current 129,000 sq ft facility, which it had been leasing, as well as the adjacent 200,000 sq ft (4.6 acre) property in the Union, Missouri, industrial business park. Construction of an addition to house a new vertical paint line is nearing completion, and the new paint equipment is expected to be installed in the coming months.
Gateway is currently recruiting experienced supervisors and additional crew members needed to operate the new 9-inch press and orientation and training will follow. The company is also acquiring dies and tooling to provide a broad array of extruded profiles for customers. Production is slated to begin early in 2017 and to ramp up quickly thereafter.