In October 2018, we left behind the name SMC Powder Metallurgy Inc. and became Catalus Corporation. It was a move that received attention from Powder Metallurgy Review in an article published shortly after the announcement. The change symbolizes a desire for growth and a drive to improve on existing products, and it’s just one piece of our much larger effort to grow as a company.
Catalus, More Than a Name
In late 2017, we broke ground on a new manufacturing facility, and the management team recently made the decision to invest in a new research and development center, all of which are moves that represent our new brand identity.
“Our new name conveys the catalytic impact we will have on the improvement of existing products,” said Stephan Lanzel, president and CEO of Catalus. “Applying more focus to research and development and changing the name to Catalus demonstrates that the company has taken the time to understand the needs of the market.”
One of the biggest obstacles facing the powder metal industry is a lack of understanding about what can be accomplished with powder metal and how the industry has evolved. While possibilities are constantly growing, we believe there’s still a general lack of understanding about our capabilities amongst our customer base. We find that customers often don’t understand what parts or components can be made with today’s powder metal technology. To help with education, Catalus has developed a seminar for the engineering community that can be presented at customer sites. The presentation gives an overview of what can be done with powder metal technology and helps raise awareness in the market.
Catalus Corporation Solutions
Originally founded as a carbon plant in 1939, we turned our attention to powder metallurgy in the 1950s and started producing powder metal components. We’ve since expanded into a wide range of market segments, from automotive to the hobby sector. Most recently, we expanded in the hardware and hand-tool market.
Our ability to successfully traverse markets can be credited to our amazing engineering team and comprehensive set of equipment. Mostly though, it’s our engineers that enable us to tackle new challenges. Engineering is at the forefront of how we go to market. Our sales team – made up entirely of sales engineers — is supported by applications and metallurgical engineers every step of the way.
Having engineering support during the sales process allows us to work even closer with customers throughout the entire project lifecycle. Catalus Engineers like to get involved with new parts very early in the design process. Through design assistance we can help show our customers the most cost-effective way to design a part. Often, by seeing mating components and how the part will be used, we can combine multiple components into one part.
Another way Catalus can assist our customers by walking the production line or participating in a tear down to see what parts could be candidates for the powder metal process. In a recent walkthrough of a facility that produces road trucks, one of our sales engineers came across an oil plug that was being produced through the welded assembly of two parts. They recognized that the part could be more efficiently created through our powder metallurgy process, and the customer was able to achieve cost savings that paid back the cost of the tools in one year.
“When working on new projects,” said CEO Lanzel. “It’s not unusual for Catalus to be awarded more than one component in a specific application. This has been the case for steering systems, transfer cases, and a marine throttle-shift mechanism.”
As a company, we’ve never been averse to tackling challenging products, something that has earned us awards in the past. The Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) gave us our first award for a fuel system valve used in the automotive industry, and in 2018, we took home a second award for design excellence. Our hope is to produce even better work as we move forward, and we anticipate there will be more awards to come.
Overall, there’s a bright future ahead for our company. By launching our new facility, rededicating ourselves to research and development, and positioning for growth we will be ready to meet that future and achieve new heights in the field of powder metallurgy manufacturing.
“Engineering parts up front, using the research and development capabilities, and then putting things in place to begin making tomorrow’s parts today is the plan,” said Lanzel. “Coupling this with the fact that powder metal part making is a ‘green technology’ where the powders used come from recycled and processed scrap metal suggests a bright future for Catalus.”