It’s Made Here is a recurring feature highlighting manufacturing and production processes in Cumberland County.
With global trade and manufacturing a recurring topic in national news, Pyrotek Inc. is one of several worldwide manufacturers that make one of their homes right here in Cumberland County.
Located at 1285 Claremont Road, just outside of Carlisle, the local branch of Pyrotek could be called a manufacturer’s manufacturer — making components that are used in manufacture of glass and metals.
“Basically, we produce products that are used in high temperature applications for the aluminum industry, the aluminum foundry industry, and the glass industry,” said Darren Snow, Operations Manager for the Carlisle plant.
Most of these are so-called consumables — parts that wear out and are gradually used up during the manufacturing process.
“That could be something as small as a washer that’s maybe the size of a quarter, all the way up to pieces that are maybe 100 inches in length, with diameters up to 48 inches or so,” Snow said.
These parts are used on that machinery that forges and shapes industrial metals and glass, with Carlisle being the main parts supplier for factories in the Americas.
“We manufacture primarily for the U.S., but there is a certain percentage that we export to our sister plants in Canada and in Mexico, and occasionally to Brazil,” Snow said. “We have done things for Europe, but the way Pyrotek is set up, we have machining centers in key areas of the world.”
Pyrotek has over 60 locations in 35 counties, all of which are part of a supply chain that makes the machinery used in the primary manufacturing of glass and metals, chiefly aluminum foundries.
“For example, for the aluminum industry we manufacture consumables that are sued in casting systems,” Snow explained.
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Aluminum, of course, doesn’t come out of the ground in ready-to-sell bars. Foundries worldwide turn to Pyrotek for the equipment needed to form raw metal into workable materials, and many of the parts on such equipment need to be regularly replaced, given that they are consumed by high-heat and high-pressure processes.
“If you ever go down the road and see a flatbed truck with 9- or 16-inch aluminum billets stacked on it, we may have made the consumables that got that aluminum from the furnace to the casting,” Snow said.
The Carlisle site also makes similar materials used on equipment that forms molten glass.
“That could be making anything from flat panel window glass to the Snapple bottle you’re drinking out of,” Snow said.
The Carlisle plant uses two machining processes — a “wet” production line that uses liquid coolant on metal and glass parts, and a “dry” line that produces certain ceramic parts used in the foundry process.
Machinists work in two ten-hour shifts Monday through Thursday, with variable overtime shifts on Fridays. The plant employs 84 people, including the accounting and sales staff located at Carlisle.
The plant was first built in 1971, with several expansions over the years, Snow said. The last major addition was in 1999.
Demand for Carlisle-made consumable parts has been consistently strong, Snow said.
“Demand remains pretty consistent, except for the challenge of the global financial crisis back in 2009-2010, we haven’t had any major issues,” Snow said.