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US - Palmer Foundry expands, thrives making things of aluminum June 03, 2013

PALMER - Robert M. Logan, president of Palmer Foundry walked though the company's shipping warehouse pointing at crates full of finished cast aluminum parts and rattling off their destinations: the West Coast, Europe, Canada, China and other parts of Asia.

"We have shipments going out to Singapore every week," Logan said.

He showed off an aluminum casting that will be used as a reaction chamber in the manufacture of LED, or light-emitting diode, lighting fixtures in China.

"All their lighting over there is going to LEDs," he said. "They make the lights over there, but they make them with our parts."
And that's just the beginning. Palmer Foundry makes parts for medical equipment including the bases for surgery-performing robots. After all, an MRI uses a magnet and you can't make them out of steel.

"You know that big thing they put you in for an MRI? That might be one of our castings," Logan said.

Ditto the reaction chambers or a gas chromatographs, the machines television detectives and real-life scientists use to break down and analyze practically anything.

"That chamber where the object goes, that is one of our castings," Logan said.

The company also makes 1,400-pound castings for high-powered motors in Canadian oil rigs and reaction vessels for the manufacture of computer chips.

"We have been very fortunate," Logan said. "We're in a number of different industries and whenone is up, another is down. That diversity has helped us."

Palmer Foundry also recently trademarked HyDuct5, its third trademarked aluminum alloy. This one is designed to bend, not break.

"If you have an industrial hoist or lift holding thousands of pounds over your head, what do you want that metal to do?" Logan said.

The 80-employee company has come a long way since the devastating 2001 fire at its Mt. Dumplin Road plant. The then- 35,000-square-foot building burned just about a year after Logan and his brothers David and John bought the business from Frank R. Jensen, son of its founder, Roderick Jensen.

Roderick Jensen and his wife, Evelyn, started Palmer Foundry in a cinder block garage on Pleasant Street in Palmer in 1951, moving to Mt. Dumplin Road in 1960.

"We had insurance," Logan said.

The Logans not only rebuilt but have expanded and recently received town approval to add another 10,000 square feet of factory space on Mr. Dumplin Road.

Most of Palmer foundry's employees have been there for decades, he said.

"There are not too many foundry people left in Massachusetts," Logan said. "Most of our employees are hired word-of-mouth; someone works for us and knows someone who would be a good fit. Not everyone can do this work."

The foundry is a tough environment, Logan said.

Source: Opens external link in new windowmasslive.com

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