Retech Systems LLC – A Sound Turnaround

This article is reproduced with permission from Business View Magazine. To view the original article click here.

Business View Magazine interviews Earl Good, President & Managing Director of Retech Systems LLC for our focus on Domestic Manufacturing in the United States.

Since 1963, Retech Systems LLC has been a global leader in the supply of metallurgical processing equipment and, today, is the world’s leading supplier of Electron Beam (EB) and Plasma (PAM) Cold Hearth furnaces for melting and refining titanium and titanium alloys. Retech’s advanced vacuum metallurgical systems also include Vacuum Arc Remelt (VAR), VAR Consumable (Skull) Casting, EB and PAM Consolidation furnaces, Plasma Welders, Vacuum Induction melting (VIM), Precision Investment Casting (DS/SC/EQ), Cold Wall Induction melting and casting, Vacuum Heat Treating, and Gas Atomization for metal powder production.

All Retech Systems furnaces are available in various sizes and configurations, from simple laboratory scale to large, custom-engineered systems. In addition, Retech provides customers access to a wide range of in-house resources, including technology, and material and process development. Identifying customer needs, as well as understanding the importance of producing relevant, viable, and cost-effective technologies, is the foundation upon which Retech is built.

Assembly Hall Exterior Świebodzin, Poland
Assembly Hall Exterior Świebodzin, Poland

According to Company President and Managing Director, Earl Good, “We supply a lot of furnaces that provide products to the aerospace and medical industries – anywhere there’s a need for nickel or titanium or alloy materials to be melted down and made into other products. Our customers all buy somewhat similar furnaces, but they each have things they request or modify that make them unique as far as the special ingredients they use. They vary in size and output, and it’s all designed to make a certain part or provide a certain function within their process.”

Retech Systems is the most fully-integrated furnace manufacturer in the world, providing customers access to a wide range of in-house resources, including technology, material, and process development. In an effort to achieve the individual requirements of each project, Retech’s specialists work with each customer to tailor relevant, reliable, and cost-effective solutions. Experience and service, coupled with a complete portfolio of research, development, engineering, and manufacturing, are key elements behind the firm’s success and that of their customers. Whereas some competitors provide standard-type furnaces and others provide lower cost equipment, the advantage Retech brings to the table is providing large, customized furnaces that are specific to each customer’s application – tailoring offerings to customers’ needs. There is, indeed, an art to the metal melting process. Many customers choose to install the equipment on their own and Retech provides onsite supervision; other customers want Retech to do the installation. Either way, the company has a full after-market service department for ongoing customer support.

In 2011, Retech became a part of the SECO/ WARWICK group of companies. SECO/WARWICK is a technological leader in innovative, heat treatment furnaces. Its expertise includes end-to-end solutions in several categories: vacuum heat treatment; atmosphere and aluminum thermal processing; controlled atmosphere brazing of aluminum heat exchangers; and vacuum metallurgy. The SECO/WARWICK Group has 10 companies located on three continents with customers in nearly 70 countries, and production facilities in Poland, the United States, India, and China. In addition, the Group includes a number of service and sales offices in such countries as Germany, Russia, and France. The company provides standard or customized, state-of-the-art heat processing equipment and technologies to leading companies in the following industries: automotive, aerospace, electronics, tooling, medical, recycling, energy (including nuclear, wind, oil, gas, and solar), and the production of steel, titanium, and aluminum.

150kg Vacuum Induction Melting Furnace (VIM150kg-ED)

Last year, Retech Systems announced that much of the manufacturing and assembly work previously done in the company’s home office in Ukiah, California will be transferred to SECO/WARWICK’s facilities in Świebodzin, Poland, thus allowing it to be better-positioned to support both large capital projects, while also satisfying the regular, daily customer service needs that its clients demand and deserve. Currently, Good reports that Retech is also working on a long-term lease for a new office space and R&D facilities in the Buffalo, New York area.

“This is pretty exciting, because it’s a place that the City of Buffalo and the State of New York are investing into,” says Good. “They’re taking old industrial sites and refurbishing them into brand new facilities. So, we’re in the process of finalizing a ten-year lease that can be extended, which will help to bring together the engineers and equipment in the R&D facility, so some of our new hires in Buffalo will be able to work on some of the equipment. We expect to start moving in there in the March/April/May time frame. It depends on when we can gain access.”

“We’ve decreased the size of our manufacturing facility in Ukiah,” Good continues. “But we’ll continue to maintain the office out in Ukiah; there are a lot of good people there with technical knowhow and it’s important that we maintain that. We have increased the cooperation with the SECO Group, our owners, over in Poland; they have very good facilities, as far as manufacturing and assembly. We have a very skilled workforce over in Poland that we can utilize, but we also have options to go to other locations, and the Buffalo facility will provide options to do some manufacturing and assembly here in the U.S., as well. What we’re looking at doing is driving more global business, where we analyze each project opportunity and try to structure our offerings to give us the best chance to win. We are also focused on increasing the size of our aftermarket business on a global basis.”

Going forward, Good maintains that Retech Systems has a “very promising proposal backlog that will help us through the next couple of years. There’s a lot to be optimistic about,” he adds. “We continue to look for opportunities to create new technologies that the market wants and needs. Business has gone pretty well and we will have over $60 million in new capital equipment and combined after-market orders, this year. That’s exciting for us as we continue to turn the company around. We feel very good about the progress we’ve made over the last year-and-a-half, and what the future looks like.”

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