New company Progressive Alloys Inc. started making barrels for parallel twin-screw extruders at its Lynchburg, Va., plant May 1.
So far, the firm has invested $2 million into building the 10,000-square-foot facility and equipping the operation with metalworking machinery, said Barry Tyree, vice president. Progressive Alloys wants to add barrels for conical twin-screw machines within the next several months.
Tyree and Progressive Alloys President Dennis Stewart are both former employees of Lynchburg barrel maker Wexco Corp. Tyree said they are purchasing bimetallic barrel liners from Wexco, as well as from other suppliers.
``We just saw an opportunity where we thought we could fill a need. We have no problem with Wexco. We left on good terms and wish them well,'' Tyree said.
Stewart and Tyree, plus several outside investors, own Progressive Alloys.
The company actually incorporated in August, before it had built the factory. ``On May 1 we actually started cutting steel,'' Tyree said.
He said the company plans to boost employment from seven to about 25. And, within the next two years, it hopes to add another 10,000 square feet of space.
Initially, Tyree said, Progressive Alloys will market its barrels to manufacturers of extrusion machines.
``We will supply tool steel, HIP-clad and bimetallic barrels for twin-screw extruders for extrusion and compounding,'' he said.
Tool-steel barrels are cut from a bar of steel. In HIP-clad, a steel supplier inserts a can-shaped insert into a basic tube that has the twin-screw figure-eight shape. The steel supplier puts powdered metal between the can and the tube, then applies heat and pressure to the inside of the can, which forces the powdered metal into the correct shape. Progressive Alloys then machines the barrel.
HIP stands for hot isostatic pressing.
Progressive Alloys has acquired a variety of metalworking machines, including a four-axis wire electric discharge machine.