Time Flies, Aerospace Forger Continues its Ascent

Aug. 10, 2020
Anchor Harvey maintains a continuous workflow production model, and a pattern of continuous growth in the production of quality closed-die aluminum forgings.

The AS9100 Standard is the international quality-management certification for businesses that design, manufacture, and supply aerospace and defense products and services. Earning that certification — as aluminum forger Anchor Harvey recently did — is a benchmark achievement, but it’s not the first or only accomplishment for the 97-year-old business. In fact, Anchor Harvey has characterized AS9100 as the “beginning the next phase of the company’s ascent for the next 100 years.”

Harold B. Harvey, the son of a state government executive and a concert pianist, was raised in a household that prized both steadfast planning and graceful improvisation. Combined with his own natural curiosity, Harvey had the skills he’d need to build a manufacturing industry leader.

In 1923 he founded the Harvey Metal Corp. with just three employees, in Chicago. Following World War I, manufacturing for the armaments industry centered on new commercial technologies for developing brass and aluminum forgings.

Harvey Metal moved quickly to reimagine ordinance manufacturing, developing a new form of hot-press forging that eliminated the porosity and inherent defects in components produced by the processes in use up to the time. As competitors moved to replicate the new forging processes, Harvey Metal continued to point the forging industry toward new methods and processes.

On the strength and success of its defense contracting work, Harold Harvey moved to further develop the company’s capacity and expand into new industries. Soon Harvey Metal became known for producing the first forged components used in the expanding automotive industry.

Less than two years after its founding, the company gained further acclaim for its pioneering and innovative work in developing aluminum forgings for the aviation market.

Chicago Extruded Metals acquired the company in 1950, merging it with Anchor Screw Products, in Addison, IL, and giving it the present name. Combining its defense-sector expertise with Chicago Extruded Metals (a developer of the control rods for the Mark I nuclear reactor) proved to be a valuable consolidation of skills and set the enterprise up for further growth.

In 1978, Anchor Harvey relocated to a 100,000-sq.ft. forging and machining plant in Freeport, IL. It was part of a new growth cycle involving new and expanded production facilities to ensure the supply of quality components and customer satisfaction.

Now, in Freeport Anchor Harvey operates five closed-die forging lines, each functioning as an individual production sequence for continuous workflow — cutting, forging, trimming, etc. The plant also has state-of-the-art aging ovens for post-forging heat treatment.

In all, Anchor Harvey offers its customers in aerospace and other markets (e.g., forged aluminum components for medical devices and surgical implants) a complete service: design and engineering, tool-and-die production, material sourcing, forming, heat treating, grinding and finishing, inspection, and supply-chain management service. It even maintains two presses that are not set-up for continuous flow production, but preserve the means to form customers’ legacy parts.

While AS9100 is its latest achievement, Anchor Harvey also holds CQI-9 and ISO:9001 certifications. All of it testifies to impressive growth over the past century, and sets up the aluminum forger for future progress.