Wieland Group, a German manufacturer of semi-finished copper and copper alloy products – including tubes for CO2 (R744) HVAC&R applications – has announced a $500-million (€461-million) investment into its East Alton, Illinois, U.S. production facility.
In addition to the investment in its East Alton site, which is located just north of St. Louis, the company also announced its acquisition of American manufacturers Concast Metal Products and Randall Bearings.
In a press release, Wieland said the investment “aims to amplify its operational efficiency” for quality and reliability across its portfolio of rolled copper solutions. Part of the investment is earmarked for an additional hot rolling mill to increase and improve its U.S. production of copper and copper alloy components used in electric vehicles, EV charging infrastructure and renewable energy infrastructure.
“Copper is not only integral to the energy transition, it is the foundation of a sustainable future,” said Wieland CEO Erwin Mayr. “This investment represents our dedication to respond to our customers’ evolving needs, bringing long-term sustainable solutions to the North American market.”
The company will use its facility in Vöhringen, Germany, as a benchmark for the expansion of its East Alton factory. Wieland produces its K65 tubes, which are designed for use in commercial CO2 systems, in Vöhringen.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker toured the Vöhringen production facility alongside Mayr in January 2023 during his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to the Alton Telegraph. The state of Illinois recently approved a $231-million incentive package for Wieland, which operates six facilities across the state. “Illinois is committed to a sustainable manufacturing future, and Wieland’s expanded capacity in this field will ensure other sustainable industries in the state can also function smoothly,” said Pritzker.
In addition to its Illinois investment, Wieland has also expanded its footprint in North America through the acquisition of Concast Metal Products and Randall Bearings.
“With the acquisition of Concast and Randall Bearings, we further expand [our] manufacturing and service capabilities in North America,” said Mayr in a press release. “We are looking forward to welcoming an experienced workforce and strong leadership team to the Wieland Group.”
Concast specializes in manufacturing specialty continuous-cast copper alloys, including bars, tubes, shapes and plates. The company operates manufacturing facilities in Mars, Pennsylvania, and Wakeman, Ohio.
Founded in 1965, Randall Bearings manufactures custom machined parts, specializing in bronze and other alloys. The company has production facilities in Lima and Coldwater, Ohio.
In 2023, Wieland acquired three other U.S. companies. In January, it brought Heyco Metals and National Bronze into its portfolio. Heyco Metals is a Pennsylvania-based company specializing in light- and medium-gauge copper, copper alloy and stainless-steel strip processing, and National Bronze is a Michigan-based manufacturer and distributor of bronze-based bearing products. In August, the company announced the acquisition of Small Tube Products, a Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of copper and copper alloy capillary tubes.