A new alloy is hot off the forge at the newly expanded and consolidated IBC Advanced Alloys facility in Franklin.
The first two-ton billets of beryllium-copper alloy were produced at the facility in late March, following the completion of construction on a $6 million foundry expansion at the Franklin-based company.
IBC was founded as Non Ferrous Foundry on Indianapolis’s eastside. It expanded in 1972 to Franklin, and doubled the size of its facility in 1995. Over the years, the company also opened alloy manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts, Missouri and Pennsylvania.
The Franklin facility’s expansion marks the completion of a two-year consolidation of three production facilities into one that is dedicated to producing copper and copper alloy products, said Mark Wolma, the local plant manager and president of IBC’s copper division.
“We looked at all three locations, but Franklin just has a lot going on here,” Wolma said. “There is a strong economic climate in the city and the state.”
While the local facility expanded, IBC’s Missouri and Pennsylvania foundries closed, he said. The consolidation was made to streamline operations and lower production costs for the copper alloys division, as well as enable the division to expand production and its exposure to new markets, according to a press release on the expansion.
“This is a major milestone for IBC and I am very proud of Mark Wolma and the entire copper alloys team for working so hard to successfully complete this strategic consolidation and expansion of our Franklin plant,” Mark Smith, CEO and Chairman of IBC, said in the release. “This consolidation marks the start of a new era for copper alloys, and the board and I look forward to seeing the facility continue to ramp up to full-scale production as soon as possible.”
The company’s investment added 32,000 square feet to the facility and moved forging of beryllium-copper to Franklin from IBC’s former facility in Pennsylvania. The alloy is used for many applications because it is as strong as steel, but is durable enough to be used in extreme conditions with less risk of corrosion.
At the plant, workers cast the metal alloys into billets and process the materials onsite. The product is cut, forged, heat-treated, and turned into a wide variety of custom alloy products for customers in industries such as electronics, oil and gas, automotive, defense, aerospace, injection molding and others, Wolma said.
Local workers are proud to make components for products used to keep U.S. troops safe and that are used to produce components for highly demanded computer chips that are used in electronics and vehicles, he said.
“These are exciting products made right here in Franklin,” Wolma said.
IBC was approved for a 10-year real property tax abatement and 7-year personal property tax abatement by the Franklin City Council last year to facilitate the expansion.
IBC will pay about $556,000 in real property taxes, and save about $448,000 over the 10-year period, according to an estimate based on 2020 tax returns. The company will pay about $59,000 in personal property taxes, and save about $81,000 over the 7-year period, the estimate says.
The expansion has also created jobs. There are seven new positions open immediately, Wolma said.
The company is expected to hire about 25 new employees during the abatement period, according to documents submitted to the city. Wages will range from $20.96 to $38.55 an hour, plus benefits, documents detail.
Franklin’s good economic climate and global demand for the alloys also presents the opportunity to expand more on the site in the future, Wolma said.