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Shiloh Industries grows under new leadership

Keywords: Tags  Shiloh Industries, Ramzi Hermiz, automotive steel blanks, aluminum die casting, BMW, GM, Tesla, acquisitions diversification

CHICAGO — With the help of key acquisitions and the installation of new management, Shiloh Industries Inc. is quickly evolving to meet the needs of North American automakers, a company executive told AMM.

In September, the board of directors of the Valley City, Ohio-based steel coil processor and producer of engineered blanks appointed Ramzi Y. Hermiz president and chief executive officer, succeeding Theodore Zampetis, who retired from that post Dec. 31. Hermiz previously served as senior vice president at automotive technology company Federal-Mogul Corp.

In December, Shiloh made two strategic acquisitions, purchasing Albany-Chicago Co. LLC (ACC) for $55 million and buying a fully functioning stamping plant in Anniston, Ala., from Atlantic Tool & Die-Alabama Inc.

The pair of acquisitions means Shiloh "can offer a portfolio of lighter solutions"—and fast, Hermiz told AMM.

"Buying an existing stamper allowed us a much more rapid way to get to the additional capacity we sought and add a book of business," he said. "It beats the long lead time buying a stamping press and satisfies our customers more quickly."

The 300 employees at Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based ACC—which supplies parts to BMW AG, Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co.—make automotive body-in-white components from thin-wall die-cast and machined aluminum. The company’s allure was its ability to cast thin-walled, highly ductile parts—aluminum cast parts that have the same flexibility as steel and can be placed in high-pressure manufacturing processes on the assembly line, he said.

"Product performance is extremely difficult, which is why (there are) so few people doing (thin-wall casting) here in the United States," Hermiz said.

The company also focuses on the production of precision blanks, both light- and heavy-gauge, for use in the automotive and truck industries. By engineering laser-welded steel blanks, Shiloh reduces net and gross weight, Hermiz said, noting that the savings starts by purchasing less steel. "We try to take a full-channel, holistic view, reducing emissions in a supply chain," Hermiz said. "If you ship less steel, you consume less energy, producing less greenhouse gas."

Shiloh’s specialties include lightweighting vehicles and managing sound by making welded blanks using high-strength steels as well as AcroStik, a proprietary laminate material that helps reduce vehicle noise, vibration and harshness, he said.

AcroStik also provides lightweighting properties, he said. "It’s on the Cadillac ATS, the lightest vehicle in its class that competes with higher-performance luxury cars," Hermiz said.

Shiloh gets involved in the early planning stages of automakers’ designs, he added. "We try to focus our improvements there."

"It’s not about saving money after you launch (a new model). We reduce the time it takes for (original equipment manufacturers) to launch vehicles and help them make a better product," Hermiz said.

For example, with Shiloh’s blanks, an automaker can cast a unitized tower as one part, instead of having to assemble 10 parts. It simplifies the approval process, reduces the number of parts that have to be designed, assembled and sourced, and allows the customer to buy one tool instead of 10, he said.

"The value speaks for itself," Hermiz said.

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