A metal treatment company that does work for the aerospace, automotive and railroad industries is repurposing a Fort Smith building and creating 30 new jobs.
Applied Process Inc. announced Wednesday it had bought the building at 5400 N. Sixth St. next to metal fabricators KMF Inc. to create a 51,000-square-foot “austempering heat treatment” facility by the third quarter of this year. Applied Process is investing over $2.5 million in renovating the building and equipment purchases, according to the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
The plant will house six furnaces to serve customers in the Midwest and South, according to a news release from company.
“We are very excited to announce our expansion in Fort Smith,” Applied Process CEO Harold Karp said in the release. “Record sales performance in 2016 and 2017, combined with a strong new product forecast, make this the right time to expand.”
Applied Process plants in Livonia, Mich., and Oshkosh, Wis., will remain in operation, serving the automotive, agriculture, aerospace, heavy truck, railroad and mining industries, as well as the military. The Oshkosh facility houses the “world’s largest integral quench batch austempering furnace,” which is capable of austempering parts up to 20,000 pounds in weight.
“The additional capacity in Fort Smith will allow us to continue to offer industry-leading levels of customer service, quality and turn time,” said Steve Metz, vice president of sales and marketing at Applied Process. “The new facility will allow us to expand into new markets and serve a broader geographic customer base.”
Rusty Rainbolt, who has been with Applied Process for three years on the sales team, will be the Fort Smith plant manager. Rainbolt holds bachelor’s degrees in engineering and marketing from Oklahoma State University.
“Rusty’s engineering, sales and product experience, along with a strong, experienced leadership team, will ensure a smooth start-up of the new facility,” Karp said.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted in the release that Arkansas is a place that “continues to be a great place where businesses can succeed.”
“Our dedicated workforce and low business costs help companies like Applied Process reach their highest potential,” Hutchinson said in the release.
Tim Allen, president and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he has worked with the Applied Process team on the site search for the past year.
“We were able to introduce them to Fort Smith and find the perfect location for their specific needs,” Allen said in the release. “The community was a perfect match for the company’s expansion requirements and they will be a great complement to the area.”
Applied Process specializes in the austemper heat treatment process. Compared to more traditional heat treatment methods, austempering makes iron and steel components “stronger, tougher, lighter and more wear-resistant,” the company explains. Metallurgical engineers, and research and development personnel at Applied Process help customers solve engineering problems.