NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A western Pennsylvania facility is making vital parts for U.S. defense. On Thursday, the secretary of the Navy visited it, along with a White House official.
At the New Castle plant, workers are making a 72-foot shaft which will help a submarine move. Ten thousand tons of pressure are forging the 190,000 pounds of steel, heated to over 2,000 degrees.
The work is being done by Ellwood Group and Scot Forge, which invested $100 million together.
“They’ve innovated in the process by not only investing money, but by thinking through it differently to save me about $30 million on the unit,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer. “That is what the U.S. Navy likes to see.”
The plant makes multiple components for Navy submarines, destroyers and carriers that will last at least 50 years.
Ellwood Group supplies steel ingots, while Scot Forge takes it from there.
White House Director of Manufacturing Dr. Peter Navarro believes it’s exactly the type of combination the president likes.
“He wants to have a strong industrial defense base to defend this country,” Navarro said. “At the same time, these are good jobs, good wages for the American people.”
Tariffs are being attached to some steel products coming into the country and that’s hurting other local steel plants, which have laid off workers.
Exclusions have been made for some of those products, but not all will qualify.
“This country is far better off defending our steel and aluminum industries, which is being attacked by an onslaught of dumped and unfairly subsidized steel and aluminum,” Navarro said.
Ellwood Group and Scot Forge are red hot because of the Navy. They’re thriving and continue trying to attract new talent to get the job done.
“It’s hard to get the tolerances that we require,” Spencer said. “It takes skilled labor. It was great to go out there and see the teams that are supporting American defense.”
There are 500 employees in the entire New Castle complex. Of those, 36 are working in the joint operation called North American Forgemasters.
Ellwood Group has several locations across the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, including in Hubbard, Ellwood City and Sharon, as well as plants in Texas, Michigan, Canada and Mexico.
After visiting New Castle, Navarro headed to Harrisburg and Philadelphia, where he will discuss ways to rejuvenate a shipyard there.