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Public Notices

April 21, 2014

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Former Doehler-Jarvis Plant Operated Here For 25 Years

Originally published:
Last modified: 2009-03-26 17:25:06

Doehler-Jarvis, the automotive parts plant purchased this week by Tennessee Aluminum Casting, LLC, a company owned by Scott and Toni Applegate, has been operating at 500 N. Rufe Taylor Road for the past quarter-century.

The plant originally began production here in the fall of 1973 under the name of Southern Screw, a division of N.L. Industries.

In 1978, having been purchased by Doehler-Jarvis, the plant's original process of manufacturing fasteners was replaced by a semi-permanent mold-casting operation.

In 1980, the plant was expanded to accommodate the Ford Erika Cylinder head process.

In 1982, experimentation began that incorporated an expendable core concept into a very unconventional die-cast machine methodology resulting in the company's unique proprietary process known as Doehlercore.

By 1983, the plant expanded an additional 36,000 square feet and began full production of the first Doehlercore water pump, and the die-casting process was launched.

By the end of the 1980s, the plant's market share had increased, with 40 percent of its annual sales being exported to Canadian operations of both Ford and General Motors.

In 1996, the plant completed a 20,000-square-foot addition, increasing the plant's total size to more than a quarter-million square feet.

The aluminum castings that comprise the plant's production result from one of three casting processes: semi-permanent mold, Doehlercore, or conventional die-casting.

In 1998, the Doehler-Jarvis plant was awarded the coveted QS-9000 quality certification.

Harvard Industry's Problems

In recent years, the Doehler-Jarvis plant had operated under the big, dark cloud of the financial problems of Harvard Industries, its owner.

For example, Doehler-Jarvis, then the nation's largest independent manufacturer of aluminum castings, reported a net loss of $10.3 million for the fourth quarter of 1993.

In May 1995, Doehler-Jarvis Inc. and Harvard Industries Inc. announced a merger agreement under which Harvard paid $104 million to Doehler-Jarvis stockholders.

In May 1997, however, Harvard Industries filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and obtained court approval to borrow $145 million.

In November 1997, it was reported that Harvard Industries was considering the sale of its subsidiaries, while continuing "to have discussions with third parties relating to the future operations and financing of Doehler-Jarvis."

In May 1998, the Doehler-Jarvis plant here announced that it would be reducing its workforce from 625 to 465 employees by the end of June, "due to a planned ramp-down" of one of its major products.

The purchase by Tennessee Aluminum Casting LLC is the first good news its employees and the community have had about the plant for some time.
For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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