SHIRLEY – A manufacturer of aircraft engine parts reaching new heights with business expansion and new equipment.
Tech Castings, located at 1102 South St. in Shirley, is expanding its foundry to make room for more machinery and jobs. A state grant program also brings robotics to the facility.
The company manufactures parts for aircraft engines, including commercial and military aircraft.
Jeff Lantz, president of Tech Castings, has been part of the company’s ownership for about a decade. The foundry started in the early 1970s.
“You wouldn’t choose this location to start a foundry, but it’s been around for a long time, so it works well,” Lantz said.
Executives at a power company launched it as a lead product and hijacked it as it became profitable.
“Engine parts have been pouring for 50 years,” Lantz said.
Tech Castings is adding 12,000 square feet to its facilities to support its growth, which will bring the building to approximately 40,000 square feet. The $ 4.5 million project will provide new manufacturing, office and administrative space and two new furnaces as well as additions and upgrades to pre- and post-casting processing equipment.
Scheduled for completion in 2022, the expansion will more than double the company’s current production capacity. The new equipment will also increase the maximum size and weight of parts the facility can produce.
Lantz estimates that the growth will create another 15 to 20 jobs, which won’t quite double the company’s headcount. About two-thirds of jobs will be skilled hourly workers and about one-third will be professionals, including engineering positions.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation recently awarded Tech Castings $ 171,500 as part of a matching grant program to implement robotics at the facility. Lantz said the equipment will lift and immerse part molds into the suspension, increasing the productivity of doing the process by hand.
Lantz said he is grateful to the Town of Shirley as the company seeks tax relief for its growth whereby improvement taxes are phased in.
“The city has been very united,” he said. “It’s not something they deal with on a daily basis like you see in West County. It’s new territory for them in terms of growth and tax breaks and everything, and they’ve been a great support and I think we have a really good relationship with them, and we’re delighted to continue to be. here.
The relationship is mutually beneficial, he continued.
“It should also be a good income opportunity for the city,” he said. “A lot of our workers are from or near Shirley. We have a decent talent pool here that has been fairly proactive. “