One injured in fire at OEM wheel supplier Decastal in Michigan -Dlight News

One injured in fire at OEM wheel supplier Decastal in Michigan

There’s even hotter news for the supply chain, though no one is happy about it. The Detroit Free Press reports that a fire broke out at Tier 1 automotive OEM supplier DeCastal North America’s factory in Greenville, Michigan around 9:45pm on Friday. Discastle North America’s website says it makes “lightweight aluminum alloy wheels” and its client list includes Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. While the cause of Friday evening’s fire remains under investigation, emergency personnel say it appears to have occurred around a blast furnace room where molten aluminum and magnesium are prepared for the wheelmaking process. Whatever caused the fire had enough force to blow off the rear of the northeast corner of the building, creating a pile of debris outside made up of materials from the plant’s interior. Residents for miles around claimed their homes were shaken by the initial boom. The North American arm is a subsidiary of Chinese firm CITIC Dicastal Co. The Chinese head office calls itself “the world’s largest supplier of aluminum alloy wheels”. Automotive News ranked the company 58th among the top 100 global auto suppliers in 2020 based on sales. One employee was injured in the explosion, the man was taken to an area hospital with serious burns. All workers are accounted for. Emergency crews said they had the blaze under control in four hours and were out in six hours. Aluminum and magnesium smelting is dangerous work at the best of times. In China in 2014, an explosion at the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products factory near Shanghai killed 75 workers and injured 185. The fire started due to aluminum dust created during the process of polishing aluminum wheels; Kunshan Zhongrong was not only a supplier of polished aluminum wheels for GM vehicles, but a component supplier of die cast. One of the worst factory explosions in recent memory, it was one of a series of incidents around the time that convinced the Chinese government to change factory safety standards. Dicastle had a bit of a time here when it came to fire. A small fire broke out at the same location two months ago, said to have centered on machinery on the roof that collects metal dust from an industrial process. In July 2020, three simultaneous fires broke out at the plant. Another dust collection site caught fire in October 2019, with a report at the time mentioning that “the DNA plant has had several fires in three years.” And if we switch to legitimate fires, the FBI raided the plant last July for reasons that have not yet been disclosed. We don’t yet know what potential disruption this event could cause. Dicastal’s plant here normally runs 24 hours a day, and despite extensive structural damage in the area where the explosion occurred, other parts of the plant remain at work. Automakers among the reported customers who responded to Freep’s questions either said there would be no impact or that they were looking into the matter.

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