Contour Hardening

Between ourselves and other news sources including the Indianapolis Business Journal, Contour Hardening is getting one heck of a lot of press these days, however we do have to share what we learned when we visited their facility in Indianapolis, Indiana last week. The company was founded back in 1986 by John Storm and Mike Chaplin, former engineers at Allison Gas Turbine (John unfortunately passed away this past year and Mike retired several years ago). The two applied their knowledge of gears to devise a new system for hardening based upon Induction heating which meant that from 1990 to 2000 the company was turning out 10-12 systems per year, all dedicated to gear hardening for the auto industry. 2000 meant a new location (their current one) and commercial heat treating again all based on induction. 2007 brought the facility in Silao, Mexico which now has 26 employees while Indy has almost 60. We speculated that Contour is the largest commercial induction heat treater in North America which is quite possible although they have to be very close in size to Zion Industries, another commercial heat treater. Currently the company’s mix is roughly 80% heat treating and 20% machine building. With 4 metallurgists on staff, multiple engineers and a dedication to customized solutions the new CEO Ben Crawford is planning on continuing with their stated objective of providing customized solutions designed around the part. Trivia time: the company heat treats roughly 21,000 parts per day and the average price of a system is from $300,000 to $3 million USD. A pretty cool place to visit we have to say.