From the Start
Since production of the first heat of ZAMAK3 alloy at Eastern Alloys' Maybrook, NY facility, the company's singular goal has been to supply superior products supported by exceptional service. That was 35 years ago, and while many things have changed over that period there are certain constants that are timeless. Not surprisingly, that credo remains the foundation of the company's success.
Today, Richard J. Bauer, Eastern's founder and Chairman, expresses the notion this way, "You know, we never set out to be the biggest. We just wanted to give customers the best product possible and support their success any way we could." So then it's reasonable to reflect upon the impact of ".any way we could". Eastern's customer focused activities include market leadership in ZA-Alloy production and process technology, comprehensive technology transfer programs, environmental advocacy, specifically, the Washington Conference on Zinc, and innovative marketing and business development programs that have created substantial new growth. More recently, the company has added a sophisticated price risk management facility designed to help customers protect selling price and/or margin by effectively managing exposure to the inherent risks of the commodity markets. In today's hyper-competitive marketplace Eastern Alloys develops strategies that make a positive contribution toward the financial strength of a growing number of its customers.
Richard J. Bauer reflects on the company's continued good fortune noting that, "We did these things because we knew that our opportunity to succeed depended directly upon our customer's success."
The challenge of a new market
This unwavering commitment to the marketplace has fueled the company's growth over a period that stretches across five decades. In fact, Eastern's customer-centric business model succeeded to the extent that during the nineties the company simply outgrew its flagship New York operation creating new challenges for the future. While others in the zinc alloy business were struggling with rigors of increasing market volatility Eastern Alloys initiated an expansion strategy. It was apparent that a new facility was the only option.
The responsibility to find the site for Eastern's second plant fell to Richard H. Bauer, President & Chief Operating Office. Dick Bauer, the younger son of the company's founder, joined Eastern in the early eighties after a career in metal trading that followed a B.S. in Metallurgy from Michigan Tech. In any event, an extensive site evaluation had a happy ending in Henderson, Kentucky. As it turns out Henderson was an ideal match.
The folks from the Henderson County Economic Development Commission were incredibly supportive and stayed with the process from the site location and development phase to construction through to the launch ceremony. On April 11, 2000 Eastern Alloys of Kentucky, LLC was officially commissioned. At the ceremony Dick Bauer addressed the approximately 250 invited guests. He shared with them that from the start, "Henderson felt right". Explaining the rationale behind the selection of Henderson over competing sites he said, "Henderson provides access to major interstate connectors in all directions, the Henderson County Riverport Authority provides barge access to raw material from global suppliers through the Port of New Orleans, plus Henderson is about 500 miles from just about anywhere." To the people of Henderson he shared his appreciation by likening the spirit of the community to the name of the Riverport's tugboat, Can Do.
A new benchmark
By any measure Eastern Alloys of Kentucky, LLC is a remarkable achievement. It is the newest integrated green site zinc alloy manufacturing and recycling complex in North America. With deference to Richard J. Bauer's focus upon being the best, not the biggest, Eastern's new plant is the most comprehensive, technological advanced facility of its kind in North America. Phase I is configured on a 17.5 acre parcel 300 yards from the Ohio River.
Primary alloy production is anchored by a 386,000-pound capacity immersion tube furnace and four 30,000-pound natural gas fired furnaces. Purpose-designed, engineered, and constructed by Lindberg/MPH, the immersion tube furnace is the largest of its kind in the world with the second largest (336,000 pounds) pumping out metal everyday at Eastern's Maybrook plant. Ingot products are produced on a high speed, semi-automatic ingot caster. The ingot caster bristles with proprietary technology and is designed to accommodate automatic ingot stacking, and packaging. Sows are cast in water-cooled molds located at the west end of the immersion tube furnace.
Another unique aspect of EA-KY is the use of Inductotherm (coreless) electric induction furnaces to produce super high quality Galvalume® in addition to supply the zinc alloy operation with liquid aluminum units. The twin 5.5 ton capacity Inductotherms are rated at 1750 KW and can melt 7,000 pounds of aluminum per hour. Each is equipped with a separate power supply.
Phase I also includes a discrete, environmentally compliant dross and scrap-recycling complex.
Linking the melting and casting equipment is a network of high capacity ductwork feeding into a trio of continuous pulse cleaning bag houses. Depending upon demand the bag houses can be operated independently, in pairs, or in series.
The building was designed for efficient, straight-line material flow. Raw material is received through one specific dock with finished products shipped from another. Two North American Industries multi-hook bridge cranes facilitate intra-plant material handling. The cranes have a span of almost 65 feet and travel the length of the building. One is fitted with 15 ton and 7.5 ton hooks while the second crane has 15 and 5 ton hooks. Two cranes create an added dimension of material handling flexibility.
Notwithstanding the level of installed technology it's the good folks at Eastern Alloys of Kentucky, L.L.C. that make it all work. From AVP Construction, the general contractor, to the tradesmen and construction labor, this new facility was built from the ground up by the local community. More importantly, virtually everyone on staff is from the Henderson or nearby communities.
During the April 11, 2001 dedication, Richard J. Bauer thanked the community for its support and expressed his sense of gratitude noting that, "We have been made to feel like Henderson is home."
To date ZAMAK 2,3, 5 and 7, ZA-8, ZA-12, ZA-27, ZA-5, ACuZinc 5, Galfan, Galvalume® and galvanizing brightener products have been produced and supplied from Eastern Alloys of Kentucky.
Eastern Alloys of Kentucky, LLC represents an important benchmark. It is the convergence of experience, vision, and commitment.