Kamtek’s much-talked-about $60 million new aluminum die casting plant has finally opened its doors in Birmingham. A subsidiary of international automotive supplier Magna, Kamtek brings its new 150,000 square-foot plant to the area — and the company will eventually hire more than 100 workers there.
Aluminum accounts for more than 80% of all die cast parts produced, and it’s a practice that’s in extremely high demand in the automotive industry. Because aluminum is such a lightweight material, it’s able to be used in vehicular applications without weighing the car down, yet it still retains both superior strength and safety features.
The leaders of the company explained in a statement that the new plant will allow them to efficiently serve the auto industry.
The general manager of Kamtek’s Birmingham operations, John Hackett, said, “It allows us to produce aluminum castings at a much faster and higher-quality rate. They help to lightweight the vehicles of the future to reach better fuel economy, but it also gives them a much safer vehicle and a stronger structure to the aluminum. Typically, what we’re making here will replace maybe an 11- or 12-piece component with one part.”
The parts Kamtek manufactures at the plant will go on to supply Alabama automakers, as well as those across the country. The company is also in the process of expanding another facility in Tuscaloosa County, which will mainly handle the manufacturing of engine cradles to be used in a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle. All told, parent company Magna will have invested more than $1.5 billion in its operations in Birmingham.
This large-scale investment hasn’t gone unnoticed by local business owners.
Brian Hilson, CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance, told Alabama NewsCenter, “While this is a very large facility that we’re dedicating and recognizing today, it’s really actually only a small part of all of the investment and the job creation that they have sustained here.” Hilson explained, “It’s technologically advanced. This is the kind of technology growth pattern that this company is well known for. They’re ahead of the game.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey seems to be quite pleased by the investment, too. Ivey told Magna officials, “Thank you for continuing to invest in our great state. Thank you for continuing to believe in the people of Alabama, the men and women working at this facility and the folks in Birmingham and surrounding area. We are proud and honored for you to be here. Keep on investing in our great state so our moms and dads can earn good wages and provide for their families.”
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