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Thomas Foundry Closes

New owners will discontinue the manufacturing operations of Thomas Foundry in Birmingham, Alabama. The company will outsource the castings for the Thomas Simplicity Dredge Pump, which will continue to be marketed.

The Finnish company Metso acquired Svedala Industries last September, and after a review of its 150 worldwide manufacturing operations, decided to close the Birmingham foundry. The plant will be closed down over the next several months, the company announced in January.

"The Simplicity pump product line will continue to be supported through a distribution network of direct sales and manufacturer's representatives,” said Toby Cahill pump product specialist. “By mid-year, other Metso facilities and qualified vendors who manufacture components for the Metso pump product lines will be supplying pump components machined to quality standards equaling or exceeding the product our customers have come to expect,” he said.

“As we bring our new component sources online, we are increasing our pump parts inventory in Birmingham so that we can ensure our customers uninterrupted service and product support. We believe the synergies resulting from the combined strength of the Metso/Svedala companies will allow the Thomas Pump line to be taken to the aggregate market with a stronger product, improved quality, and more aggressive product support and customer service,” said Cahill.



The sales, engineering, product support, and contracts administration will continue from their base in Birmingham, and will include Don Olive, manager; Jeff Boone, service and technical manager; Michelle Nicolosi and Darlene Townsend, marketing coordinators, and Toby Cahill, product specialist – pumps.



Metso is a Finnish company, and supplies processes, machinery, and systems for the pulp and paper industry. Through its Nordberg subsidiary, Metso also is a world leader in the supply of rock and mineral processing systems.



The acquisition of Svedala’s crushing, screening, process, fluid-handling, bulk handling, and pyro, equipment and systems creates a world leader in rock and mineral processing technology under the name of Metso Minerals, which along with Metso Paper, will be supported by Metso Automation and Metso Systems.



Thomas Foundry was incorporated in the early 1900's, as the Thomas Grate Bar Company, in Valdosta, Georgia. A family owned company, Thomas Grate Bar was started by Ed Thomas. In 1910, the company moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to its present site on the Eastern side of town.



In the early years, the company produced a complete line of shaking and stationary grate bar equipment used in coal and coke burning. In the 1930's, the company began producing jobbing castings, and in 1937, began producing Ni-Resist castings for a local Alabama customer.



The company name changed to Thomas Foundry in the late 1930's, and production of the first Thomas DURABLE Pumps began in 1948. In the 1950's the Thomas SIMPLICITY Dredge Pump was designed to replace the DURABLE pump, and has been the standard for the dredging industry since. Also during the 1950's, manganese steel and high chrome iron were added to the alloyed metals provided by Thomas Foundry.



In 1971, the first underwater ladder-mounted SIMPLICITY Dredge Pump was manufactured, which produced significant increases in production. Two years later the SIMPLICITY design was incorporated into a line of slurry pumps for the mining industry.



In 1989, the company was purchased by Denver Equipment Company of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and became known as Denver Thomas. Svedala Industries of Sweden purchased Denver Equipment in 1992. Metso purchased Svedala during the last quarter of 2001.



The plant site covers two city blocks, with approximately 148,000 square feet of manufacturing under roof, 56,000 square feet of pattern storage, and an additional 13,000 square feet of office space. At peak production, the foundry was capable of producing 800 tons of metal per day, and had an employee base of 200, including administration and sales. During this time, and up until recently, Thomas Foundry supplied pumps and pump parts, crusher parts, metal recycling shredder parts, and other miscellaneous jobbing castings. Industries served included: aggregates, sand & gravel, industrial sand, contract dredging, coal preparation, power generation, steel, metal recycling, metals mining, crusher manufacturers, and phosphate mining. Under Metso Minerals' leadership, Thomas Pumps will continue its line of dredge and slurry pumps.



”Our transition of out-sourcing our production to other foundries is well under way, and we expect foundry operations to cease in March, with cleaning and machining operations to continue well into the summer of 2002. At this time we do not have a definite last pour date,” said Toby Cahill.


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