GM Alloy Wheel Supplier Plant Damaged After Explosion15
A supplier of aluminum alloy wheels to GM and other companies, Dicastal North America, had one of its facilities damaged by an explosion late on Friday, March 17th, 2023, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The plant is located 30 miles from Grand Rapids, Michigan and produces lightweight alloy wheels for several automakers, including The General, Ford, Stellantis, and several Japanese car companies.
GM spokesman Dan Flores stated the automaker is “aware of the Dicastal facility issue and are working with them to determine any impact to our operations” before adding that GM has “no additional information to share at this time.”
Representatives from other automakers that use Dicastal wheels reported either no impact to production or were still investigating the potential effects.
The explosion and ensuing fire were reported to emergency services at 9:46 PM local time. Greenville Department of Public Safety sergeant Steve DeWitt stated “the exterior walls of the building had actually exploded and sent debris outward.” The blast was audible for miles according to area residents.
DeWitt also noted most workers were unharmed, but “one employee did receive fairly serious injuries and was transported” to a hospital near Grand Rapids and treated for burns. The facility runs 24 hours a day, so a shift of employees was present when the explosion occurred.
The fire department took four hours to extinguish the fire, with emergency services remaining at the site for two more hours. The fire occurred mostly in and near the ventilation air ducts extracting aluminum dust and shavings from the Dicastal foundry’s furnace room. The furnaces are used to melt both aluminum and magnesium.
Aluminum dust is very flammable and is considered to have a high explosion risk. Powdered aluminum is used in some common rocket fuels as well as explosives such as Tannerite. Industrial machining of aluminum alloy parts, whether to mill out larger sections or to apply a desired surface finish, can potentially generate hazardous quantities of this combustible dust.
Portions of the Dicastal facility are already operating again while company cleanup crews work at the site of the explosion. Sgt. DeWitt told reporters the fire department has been called to the factory repeatedly in the past for small fires in the same ventilation system that exploded on Friday night.
It’s unclear at this point if the accident will impact alloy wheel supplies for GM vehicles. It is also unknown which brands and models might see availability of certain wheels affected by a production halt.
A series of tweets by WOOD TV8 reporter Amanda Porter about the fire at the Dicastal plant can be viewed below.
Fire is still burning in what looks like an air duct at Diecastal North America Manufacturing in #GreenvilleMI pic.twitter.com/0Dm2CPd8K9
— Amanda Porter News (@ItsAmandaPorter) March 18, 2023
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What does it mean to an industry that is already in self-induced supply-side death throes? Your car or truck will be built and wheeled out to Long Term Storage, where it will sit and begin rusting………. you will be given an option of buying steel wheels vs aluminum (while paying the premium for the aluminum rims)……… 4 Heavy Duty Harbor Freight Jackstands with each purchase of a GM car or truck!………
Kudos to the fire department personnel who battled this fire at great personal risk & healing to the injured employees.
Sounds like Dicastal has some work to do. There was fuel (aluminum), air, and obviously a spark to cause ignition. The previous incidents stated in the article should have been a wake up call.
I hope anyone that is injured recovers quickly. That said, I expect there will be a GM Authority article within the next two weeks titled GM stopped production due to a wheel shortage. GMs strategic plans for dealing with part shortages and supply chain issues seem to be nonexistent.
Foundries are already scare in this country. The wheels on my Cad, Impala, and Mustang all were made in China. Maybe they can take up the slack.
Here we go again no wheels for two years
Crazy all these explosions are happening, just like our Numerous food processing plants going up in flames and all the train derailments going on. Something is happening people wake up. China and Russia are taking over.
The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.
No Joe B., the LEFT doesn’t know what they are doing. CadillacMan gets it, as well as 80 million other Americans.
Yes, China sent someone to blow up a rim plant lol
Well can you explain all the vital plants all exploding within a few weeks of each other? Not to mention all the trains derailing all at once? Sure it ain’t a conspiracy lol. Of course it is !!! Something is going on
Listen here now days later we have another explosion, this time a candy factory in pa. You still think all of these explosions are a coincidence? This is like the eighth one
More problems !!
Just glad nobody was killed. Sounds like it could have been alot worse.
One reason of many why hazard manufacturing goes to other countries? I’m sure OSHA and the EPA will be looking it over as what laws might have been broken or processes were outside the safety limits. With previous fires that required fire trucks to be called, what was the insurance company doing? They have their own safety inspections especially high risk manufacturing.
I just read an article at The Fast Lane Truck , About the new 2024 Ford Ranger with a photo of long bed and They are asking if Ford should offer a long wheel base for 6+ Ft bed , everyone said yes ! Even the people that own Chevy Colorado’s said yes , Me included ! Because GM said the Colorado did not need a long bed, due to low sales .