Nitrex’s Aurora plant expansion heads to phase four

Groundbreaking with, from left, Tom Cooper (vice president of business development); Bill Walter (facility manager); and Raja Gumber (senior account manager). (Courtesy: Nitrex)

Nitrex, in Illinois, USA, is set to start the fourth phase of its plant expansion that will house low-pressure carburizing operations as well as provide space for additional growth. The new LPC furnace and secondary heat-treating equipment will enter production by April 2021.

Jason Orosz, president of Nitrex Heat Treating Services, announced a new plant investment aimed at expanding the Aurora, Illinois, commercial heat-treat facility located just west of Chicago. The production expansion will add a fourth building on the property to house a new low-pressure carburizing (LPC) system and secondary heat-treating equipment.

The new ECM vacuum carburizing furnace with oil quench capabilities will help meet growing demand from makers of high-end critical parts within the automotive, aerospace, and tooling industries. The 20-bar dual-chamber furnace has a workload size of 40” L x 24” W x 28” H (1,000 x 600 x 715 mm) and a load capacity of 1,500 lbs. (680 kg).

Nitrex broke ground on the new building in July to connect to an existing structure, Building 3. According to Bill Walter, facility manager of Nitrex Aurora, the construction project will be completed in January 2021, and production on the LPC furnace is expected to begin in April 2021. The expansion will increase the production footprint by 11,000 square feet, a pre-requisite to support current demand as well as future growth. Once this building is completed, the total floor space will be more than 50,000 square feet.

Nitrex first put down its roots in Aurora in 2000 after acquiring Alliance Metal Treating from owner Tom Cooper, who stayed on following the acquisition to run operations and to help position the company for future growth. Initially, the plant offered heat-treating processes focusing on annealing, carburizing, carbonitriding, neutral hardening, and normalizing. During the preceding decades of expansion, Nitreg® nitriding and Nitreg®-S nitrocarburizing capabilities were added to its production operations; the larger footprint also supported more vacuum carburizers, tempering furnaces, and post-finishing equipment.

“Nitrex is proud of its longstanding history in Illinois. This latest expansion reaffirms our tradition of growth here as well as our long-term commitment to supporting customers with value-added solutions that meet the development needs for automotive, heavy equipment, defense, commercial, and other industrial applications,” said Tom Cooper, vice president of business development.