Phuchit | Dreamstime
Dreamstime161654325 800 5f6d3090ae42e

Extensive Fire Damage at American Axle Plant in Ohio

Sept. 24, 2020

A fire at American Axle & Manufacturing's Malvern (OH) Manufacturing Facility did extensive damage to the plant, which produces forged transmission shafts, hypoid drive pinions, propeller shafts, transmission gears, and wheel spindles. There were no injuries, according to reports, but the plant is out of service.

Malvern specializes in cold and warm forging, with finish machining and heat-treat capabilities. The plant — which operated as Colfor Manufacturing prior to American Axle's acquisition in 1999 — has 276 hourly and salaried employees.

Local news reports indicated the fire was centered on a hydraulic press and fed by hydraulic fluid, which spread damage upward and elsewhere in the building.

"“The press was on fire and we responded to that,” according to Great Trail Fire Department chief Ralph Castellucci. “All of the hydraulic oil started burning rapidly and burned across the building…when we got here multiple presses had caught on fire.”

“The building was evacuated, and no injuries were reported," according to a statement by American Axle. "Local fire departments responded to the scene to contain the fire. AAM is working with local authorities to investigate this accident and will assess the facility once the investigation is complete. Because of the ongoing investigation, we have no further comment.”

The loss of production may disrupt supplies to some General Motors operations, according to financial analysts. GM is a significant customer of American Axle products. "GM’s supply chain team is working closely with American Axle to develop contingency plans to mitigate any impact to parts supply and on our manufacturing operations,” according to a statement published by Automotive News.