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Kennametal will buy Extrude Hone.

The deal between the two firms that are virtually neighbors southeast of Pittsburgh has been in the works for the better part of a year, and the companies have worked together far longer. The acquisition, for approximately $137-million, is expected to close in March, and Kennametal will fund the purchase through its existing credit facilities.

Tooling producer Kennametal Inc. (Latrobe, Pa.) is buying the surface-finishing businesses that are part of the Extrude Hone Corp. (Irwin, Pa.) family of brands, and it plans to provide its tool users a complete range of metalcutting technologies, from, say, drilling a hole to deburring it. Kennametal president and COO Carlos Cardoso says his firm's acquisition strategy is to leverage core capabilities and offer customers solutions that encompass end-application expertise.

Extrude Hone was started in 1951 and has been focused on a patented abrasive-flow machining process that cleans, polishes, and deburs workpieces by pushing an abrasive-laden scouring polymer putty past surfaces and through cavities. In recent years Extrude Hone also has grown through acquisitions, by incorporated related processes like the Dynetics (Woburn, Mass., acquired in 2001) Dynaflow variation on abrasive-flow machining or its Chemtool electrochemical machining and the Surftran (Madison Heights, Mich., acquired in 2000) Thermal Energy technique that in essence burns off burs and flash.
 The result is an array of surface-finishing
 and -deburring techniques that now Kennametal
 application engineers will be able to call
 upon, in addition to their own knowledge base
 of fundamental metal-removal parameters.


Extrude Hone has been closely held, with revenues of around $80-million per year. It's employed around 400, with plants in Ireland, Japan, and Germany as well as the U.S.

Extrude Hone president Lawrence Rhoades, 60, will not join Kennametal. Rather, he will run a new company, Ex One Corp. (Irwin, Pa.), built around Extrude Hone technologies that were not a part of the package sold to Kennametal. These include the ProMetal rapid-prototyping subsidiary that uses a high-resolution process akin to ink-jet printing to build tip 3D shapes layer by layer directly from a CAD rendition. The ProMetal process can be used for direct metal printing and for developing castings within days.

"Now I get to concentrate on the really fun stuff," quips Larry Rhoades, referring to emerging technologies like ones used by ProMetal.

Rhoades, who is a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and who served as 2002-2003 chairman of AMT--The Association for Manufacturing Technology, often admits to a love of research-affiliated manufacturing techniques. In a recent paper prepared for the National Academy of Engineering, Rhoades touts "distributed digital production," which he describes as a category of processes evolving from rapid prototyping, free-form fabrication, and layered manufacturing.

Distributed digital production, Rhoades postulates, will dramatically change the manufacturing landscape. "As costs and wait times of tooling, programming, and 'designing for manufacturing' are reduced and then eliminated," he writes, "the perceived advantages of high production volumes, concentrated manufacturing sites, and complex distribution logistics will yield." Products can thus be made near the point of consumption and at the time of consumption.

Extrude Hone Corp., Irwin, Pa. 724-863-5900.
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Publication:Metalworking Insiders' Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 21, 2005
Words:510
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