Following an expansion project that took almost two years and cost more than $500,000, CAMCO Diversified, Inc., in St. Marys is offering a new service with the addition of two new large-batch steam treaters.
The company, first founded in 1993 with a space of about 2,500 square feet, has grown to 40,000 square feet at its present site at the Mersen industrial complex along Curry Avenue in St. Marys. It fulfills inspection, assembly and packaging needs of the powder metal industry and has grown to become the largest inspection facility in the area. The addition of the steam treaters has added another service to the company's current offerings.
"I've been talking to some of my customers, and they are very excited about it," said Ron Berry, president of CAMCO.
Plans for the expansion and acquisition of the steam treaters were initiated about four years ago, according to Berry, who owns the company with his wife Marian. Both have been involved in the powder metal industry for more than 40 years, and while other companies at that time were downsizing or laying off workers due to economic recession, the Berrys said they saw a good opportunity to add another element to their business.
"At the time, things were looking slow, and I figured it was a good time to start something new," Berry said. "I'm a process/project engineer. So I've got a lot of experience with setting things up."
He decided on steam treating because it rounded out the menu of services that CAMCO already offers. The enemy of any metal part is rust, which weakens the piece and also looks unattractive on exposed parts. Steam treating oxidizes parts, but in a controlled manner, accomplished by soaking components in a solution and then exposing them to steam to produce a thin layer of oxide on the surface. Powder metal parts are porous like a sponge: The steam, along with the coating, fills these pockets, making the treated parts denser and harder, increasing their resistance to corrosion and wear, and providing an attractive surface finish. Most of the parts treated by CAMCO are used in the automotive, and lawn and garden industry, and will be exposed to the elements and significant wear, so inhibiting corrosion is important from both an operational and aesthetic standpoint.
"We basically put a coat on them. They don't rust and they look pretty," said Kevin Berry, Ron's son and CAMCO's director of operations.
CAMCO's two steam treaters are able to accommodate large batches, approximately 2,800 pounds per cycle per unit, with the average steam cycle lasting about an hour and a half.
"There are different temperatures for different parts. You go by the density of the part," Kevin Berry said, adding that the average steam temperature is between 1,025 and 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.