BAY CITY, MI If you’ve ever taken a ride on the “It’s a Small World” attraction at Walt Disney World and didn’t get stuck, there’s a local business to thank.
Acra Cast, an investment casting foundry, produces parts for the pumps that keep the attraction’s water and the boat moving, company president Richard Singer said.
But that’s not the only thing the Bay City precision casting operation has done over the decades. From collector’s hood ornaments to football face masks intended to curb concussions, Acra Cast has developed quite a business.
This year, the foundry is celebrating its 50th year in business.lifting sin cirugia http://www.facemaskes.top/ With a recent award for their face mask and plans for expansion, Singer said now is the perfect time to celebrate.
The American Foundry Society awarded Acra Cast with an honorable mention for its stainless steel face mask during the group’s 2016 casting competition. While not yet adopted by the NFL or NCAA, the mask can reduce head injuries in a sport that’s already under fire for concussions, Singer said.
“The cast masks have more elasticity, more spring to them and they’re dissipating the energy throughout the mask, not just on the person’s head,” he said. “The energy spike that’s measured is lower and slower. It’s resulting in a 25 percent to 35 percent lower severity index than tests performed on masks that are fabricated, welded together.
“Anytime you can get 30 percent improvement on anything that’s a huge step forward.”
Acra Cast was founded by two former General Motors engineers in 1966, Singer said. At that time, the foundry mainly cast automotive assembly parts in the region.
After Singer and his father bought Acra Cast in 1997, they broadened their customer base and parts production.
The two updated the building and quality control systems, bought a new furnace and established themselves among a niche market when many turned to China for their foundry needs.
Singer’s father, Richard “Dick” Singer, worked at Acra Cast for more than 40 years. He died in 2010.
Competition with China is done on anything but a “level playing field,” Singer said, citing lax labor laws and other regulations that make for cheaper products.
“I’ve lost work to China, and my customers are telling me they can get it for less,” he said.
But like the football face masks, what’s keeping Acra Cast afloat is its ability to cast small to medium orders of complex geometrical shapes with a short turnaround time, he said.
Acra Cast’s annual sales are near $2 million a year, Singer said, up from about $1.25 million 15 years ago. Singer attributes the growth to technological investments.
Acra Cast has 20 full time employees and nearly 100 regular customers located across the country, he said. Since 1966, more than 5,000 different part molds have been made.
Several customers include Amigo Mobility in Bridgeport, Merrill Aviation Defense in Saginaw and Carry Manufacturing Inc. in Caro, Singer said.
Singer said they hope to break ground on a new expansion in Bay City by 2018.
“We’re definitely in need of an expansion of our facilities,” he said. “We’re wall to wall right now with all of our equipment.”
While Singer couldn’t offer an estimate for the expansion’s potential cost, he did say they intend to at least double the footprint of the current operations.