By Joel Kotkin;Joel Kotkin is the West Coast editor of Inc. magazine and for which he has been reporting on manufacturing in America. Researcher March 17, 1985
Stahl Specialty Co. enjoys a unique position in the market due to its ability and capacity to produce high-quality, precision-machined products from complex castings produced in-house with significant volumes. This proficiency is virtually unmatched in the industry. This skill set further provides the basis for highly competitive production of machined permanent and semi-permanent castings at any volume.
President Jim Spalding says Stahl’s history in the aluminum foundry industry has given it a strong position in the marketplace, one that the company embraces and continually works to fortify. “One of the reasons for our success is the legacy and the recognition of the name,” Spalding says. “Our brand name is very recognizable for anyone who knows permanent mold technology.”
The company’s legacy began in 1946 with Glenn Stahl, who started casting aluminum components from a single, rented room. In the early 1950s, Stahl began casting a mower deck for a new rotary lawn mower. Although the rest of the industry at the time considered the part too large for the permanent mold process, Stahl simply made the mold and poured the castings anyway, and within a short time the component was one of the company’s first high-volume products.
Stahl Specialty Co. continued to innovate and lead the market in a number of ways, including being the first to have its own tool room. According to the company, this allowed it to not only make molds but also make changes to them in-house to respond quickly to customers’ needs. In the 1980s, the company was a pioneer in the use of cell manufacturing, in which castings are made, processed and shipped from the same small area for maximum efficiency. Other innovations Stahl Specialty has brought to the industry include hydraulic-powered tilt casting machines, bottom-drop heat treatment furnaces, and rotary casting machines, Spalding says.
Today, Stahl Specialty Co. concentrates on permanent and semi-permanent mold aluminum castings. From its manufacturing plants in both Kingsville and Warrensburg, Mo., the company produces components for the marine, diesel engine, agriculture, refrigeration, construction tool, automotive and commercial industries. Spalding says the company has evolved into one known for precision casting and machining of parts for pressure-tight and/or high mechanical integrity requirements. He explains that the company has the capability to cast and machine parts ranging from half a pound to 500 pounds.
Stahl Specialty’s greatest advantage, according to Spalding, is its unique combination of extensive casting and precision machining capability, and the ability to provide a wide range of volumes all at competitive prices. This capability is evident in the current award winning products being manufactured at both plants. Customers who visit and see the high-tech refrigeration compressor components, heavy duty engine and transmission products, and the “casting within a casting” marine engine manifold always walk away impressed.
“We are proud of our skilled foundrymen and machinists who produce high quality products every day. Many of our employees have been with Stahl for a number of years with several recognizing 40-plus years,” Spalding says. “Providing complex machined castings successfully relies on good engineering and good tooling. Involving Stahl’s engineering staff early in the product development phase can ensure the best in manufacturability and cost efficiency.
“We employ the best engineering talent from metallurgists to Ph.D. engineers and utilize the latest mold flow simulation tools to enhance the knowledge developed over the 65-year history.”
Stahl Specialty remains at the top of the industry because of its long-established presence in the marketplace and the sheer capacity it offers. “The combination of size and capacity that Stahl has is fairly unmatched in the industry,” Spalding says, adding that the company can process approximately 40 million pounds of aluminum a year.
|Stahl Specialty Co. - Warrensburg Missouri Foundry|
The complete line up of casting equipment from small single station machines, and high volume rotary casting cells to the largest fleet of the biggest tilt-pour machines in the world, the capacity to produce quality permanent castings is simply unmatched. The company also boasts more than 40 large horizontal CNC machining centers. “It’s a unique combination of being able to make large castings and then to machine those castings that is extremely limited in the competition,” Spalding says.
Recently, Stahl Specialty’s reputation and resilience were put to the test as the entire aluminum foundry industry suffered the effects of the recession. Spalding explains that the company was fortunate not to have lost any customers, but adds that revenues dropped nearly 70 percent in January 2009. All of that can be attributed to the recession.
“There was a huge pullback, and it was an exercise in survival,” Spalding says.
For its part, Stahl Specialty focused its attention on streamlining and cutting costs. Although revenues have recovered significantly, the result of streamlining efforts is paying great dividends as the company has emerged leaner and more competitive than ever with open capacity to take on new projects.
Fortunately, the opportunities for growth are presenting themselves, according to Spalding. He says many manufacturers are coming to Stahl Specialty with work that they had taken overseas before the recession.
Many of those manufacturers, he adds, have discovered the apparent low cost of working with overseas foundries comes with a higher cost in terms of missed deadlines and low quality. These customers appreciate Stahl Specialty’s focus on delivering high-quality components on time all the time, Spalding says.
“That’s the only way to be a good supplier to anyone, is to give them what they want, when they want it,” he says.
The FM&T Hall of Honor recognizes men and women whose technical and process innovations; organizational leadership; professional and industrial standards; and personal contributions and achievements have improved and enhanced metalcasting as a science, as an industry, and as a community. Inaugural Inductee - 1992 Glenn W. Stahl
June 14, 1960 cs. w. STAHL 2,940,241
SHAFT GUARD FUR LAWN MOWERS Filed Sept. 15, 1958 Nif/6 INVENTOR. G/enn w. Stahl i) Anon/@ 2,940,2414 sHAFr GUARD lFOR LAWN MowERs Glenn W. Stahl, Kingsville, Mo., assignor to Keen Manufacturing Co., Inc., Kansas City, Mo., a corporation of Missouri Filed sept. 1s, 195s, ser. No. 160,838
Blanche B. Stahl, 97, Lee’s Summit, died Thursday, August 27, 2009, at her home.
She was born on July 10, 1912, in Fayetteville, Missouri, the daughter of James William and Annie Belle (Pollock) Brown.
She graduated from the Kingsville High School and earned a teaching certificate from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg and taught elementary school for several years.
She was married to Glenn Wesley Stahl on December 24, 1937, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She and her husband, Glenn, founded Stahl Specialty Company, a permanent-mold aluminum foundry and developer of permanent-mold foundry machinery in Kingsville and Warrensburg. Mrs. Stahl served as corporate treasurer for the company for more than 59 years.
Her husband preceded her in death on March 15, 1992. With the exception of the past four years when she lived in Lee’s Summit, she lived in Kingsville most of her life. She was a member of the Kingsville Christian Church. Surviving are one daughter, Linda Moore, Lake Winnebago, Missouri, four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and one sister-in-law, Mona Brown, Lee’s Summit. Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by her brothers, Beauford Brown and W.J. “Junior” Brown, and sisters, Wilma Reid, Mattie Mae Raber and Annie Dee Cunningham. In honor of Mrs. Stahl’s wishes, graveside services were held Monday, August 31, at the Holden Cemetery under the direction of the Ben Cast & Son- Wood Funeral Home of Holden.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to Kansas City Hospice or Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.