One could easily forgive the uninitiated for wondering what the fuss is about when it comes to professionally casting components in a metal often found around barbecues and kitchens. The truth, however, is that the art of aluminum casting is vast, complex, and challenging to perfect, and Harmony Castings, LLC is a global leader in the field.
Serving customers around the world, this aluminum casting company is the trusted partner of big players in industries as diverse as medical, military, robotics, power electronics, and instrumentation. Andy Renkey, President, explains why quality aluminum casting takes more expertise than often imagined and how the company’s V-Process (vacuum molded casting) system provides significant advantages over other casting methods.
Based in Harmony, Pennsylvania, this company knows that casting aluminum to world standards results from achieving the highest tolerances possible. Using the latest in advanced Industry 4.0 technologies like additive manufacturing, robotics, automation, and more, it provides clients with minimum variation and guaranteed pattern life.
The company has grown with its customers, continuously expanding its facilities and improving its capabilities as demand for its services and products has increased. It gives customers the advantages of speed to market while achieving budgetary constraints, an excellent surface finish, and metal quality that end-users expect.
Integrity is a mainstay that guides Harmony Castings towards ever greater heights. It also prides itself on its long-term relationships built on teamwork, reliability, and accountability. “There are many methods to obtain near-net-shape metal products,” says Renkey. Near net shape manufacturing allows the initial fabrication of a component to be as close to the finished product in size and shape as possible, in order to lower production times and costs and times.
“Our goal is not just to sell castings. We help customers find the correct solution for their parts, even if that solution is not through us. Our manufacturing space continues to expand, as our revenues have increased by over 67 percent since 2014,” he adds.
Geography is never a hurdle because Harmony always goes the extra mile. “We have instrumentation products that are cast in Harmony, CNC machined in Ohio, painted in Connecticut, and assembled in Singapore,” Renkey continues.
Because its systems and capabilities allow the team to be nimble and responsive, Harmony Castings delivers top-quality castings consistently and fast. On the odd occasion that the company cannot execute any aspect of casting at its facility, it can arrange that almost any additional function or component be procured from a third-party provider. There is always a way where there is a will to succeed.
Collaborating with the team is easy. “Our pattern materials and designs allow for relatively easy changes during the earlier stages of a new project. Not only do we provide the casting; Harmony will also subcontract and complete all the computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining, finishing, and light assembly needed to make the procurement of your part as seamless as possible,” Renkey adds. This one-stop-shop service delivery has garnered the favor of several international giants and boosted the company’s word-of-mouth popularity amongst clients.
The company welcomed its first customers in the eighties. Times were challenging, and foundries were as expensive to run and maintain back then as they are today but that did not deter the two founders from Connecticut, who ensured their presence on-site by living, during the week, in the space that houses the current boardroom.
As economies organically wax and wane, another chapter arrived as the COVID-19 crisis introduced a huge opportunity for growth. “Many products manufactured in China were suddenly unavailable in the United States. From 2014 through 2019, Harmony increased revenues by 58 percent,” Renkey says proudly, and the upward trend continues as aluminum casting returns to American soil. As a result, 2022 promises to outshine the past five years’ growth rate with another twenty percent growth in revenue.
This success, however, comes amid a host of additional challenges cited by the company. “Let’s start with strengthening fair trade laws and Section 301 tariffs. The United States has a great workforce with unparalleled ingenuity. On a fair playing field where import/export laws do not hinder us, we will excel. Subsidized or state-owned companies selling products below market value create unfair trade. We need our government to strengthen and continue enforcement of these laws,” Renkey says.
Renkey points out that strengthening local supply chains will also go a long way to securing materials and that vulnerable infrastructure and energy supply ought to be attended to on a national scale. He also includes the need to assess and boost the solidity of the trucking industry as a whole to improve the transportation of goods, components, and critically important materials. Through increasing self-sustainability in terms of national energy supply and ensuring that natural resources are extracted and obtained ethically, the company believes that the American casting industry can potentially regain its former vigor considerably.
The Harmony Castings management team is acutely aware of the incredible value its outstanding employees bring to its offering. “Our response to our customers throughout the pandemic has been amazing. A company’s success is measured by its employees,” says Renkey.
“Whether it is their generosity in participating in an annual Christmas gift tree or their selflessness in working extra hours to ensure our customers receive their products on time, our employees always rise to the occasion. At Harmony Castings, our employees are truly our success,” he continues. A particular point of pride is the ease with which the team adapted to the new working conditions during the critical COVID-19 emergency period, considering that its service during this time to the medical and military industries kept its casting facility in full production mode.
Despite this change in demand, the company was forced to temporarily lay off some of its personnel but that did not mean goodbye. Staff who were waiting to be reemployed received a monthly letter to keep them up to speed with developments and a $150 gift card to a local grocery store to help relieve the financial burden of being unemployed.
Today the original team of sixty-five has grown to ninety-two people and is growing stronger by the day. “Once employed, many team members stay with us for their entire career. Our most senior employee, Gary Dindinger, has worked for Harmony for 39 and a half years, and we have over a dozen employees with more than twenty years of service,” says Renkey.
Creating such a thriving work environment is due to hiring the highly-skilled people who contribute to the overall effectiveness and happiness. One of the company’s guiding principles when it comes to employing new candidates is: ‘If you hire for skill alone, you will end up firing for behaviors.’ This wisdom is followed up with a rigorous onboarding program that closely follows behavior over three months with various milestones and markers being carefully monitored during this time. The result is a team of professionals who cooperate like a healthy family system, bolstered by the knowledge that everyone has each other’s backs.
This generosity of spirit is extended to its greater community with staff needing little to no motivation to match one another’s donations to the American Cancer Society and other charitable organizations. There is also a Christmas Toy Drive that has everyone chipping in and contributing together to make the giving season one of delight and joy for many underprivileged kids. There are also volunteering opportunities like the Connoquenessing Creek clean-up initiative that the team supports with great enthusiasm.
It is with this same potent energy and motivation that the Harmony Castings team embraces the challenges thrown at it by the realities of the current economic climate, complications caused by the Ukrainian War, and continued supply chain obstacles. Its leaders remain positive about its position and its future, however.
“Harmony Castings is in an excellent position. We are a market leader in our industry, with great employees and a terrific customer base,” Renkey says. With the team’s resolve to leverage its strengths alongside continued improvement, the next two years are looking good.