In 1917, and more than 5,600 miles apart, two businessmen who were strangers to each other, but who had the same vision, founded two foundries which gave rise to what is now ME Elecmetal.
In 1917, in Santiago, Chile, Chilean businessman Emilio Orrego Luco founded Compañía Electrometalúrgica S.A. (Elecmetal) installing the first electric arc furnace in Latin America. The company began manufacturing steel spare parts for agriculture, mining, industry and railroad.
In the same year, American businessman Sheldon Wood, who had studied Mining Engineering at the University of Minnesota, started Minneapolis Electric Steel Castings (ME) and, like his Chilean counterpart, also decided to build a foundry using the latest available technology for melting: The electric arc furnace.
In 1959, Elecmetal established a strategic alliance with Oregon, USA based ESCO®, the worldwide leader of cast ground engaging tools. The design expertise of ESCO®, coupled with the manufacture expertise of Elecmetal, provided the Chilean market with the highest quality ground engaging tools available.
Meanwhile, up to the mid-1960’s ME was a major supplier of steel castings to companies manufacturing machinery used in railroads, road construction, mining and pressure valves. In 1967, the company made its first grinding mill liner, which was a success, resulting in a change in its strategy: The company decided to concentrate and specialize in the manufacture of impact and abrasion resistant wear components used in mineral processing, specifically grinding mill liners and gyratory crusher concaves.
The 1970’s brought several changes for both Elecmetal and ME. In 1970, the Wood family sold the company to Evans Products Co., while in 1976 Elecmetal became part of Grupo Claro, a leading group of companies with businesses in steel, vineyards, packaging and communications.
Also in 1976, ME built a new foundry in Duluth, MN, USA, positioning itself closer to its customer base in iron ore processing. Again, the company used the most advanced technology, the vacuum molding system.
In 1987, ME was acquired by the joint venture formed by Armco Inc., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, and Stelco Inc. of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, renamed ME International.
In 1992, Armco Grinding Systems was bought by GS Technologies (GST), so the new owners of ME International were Stelco and GST.
In 1994, ME International purchased a foundry located in Tempe, AZ, USA, to be closer to the customers of the copper mining region of the southwestern USA. The new company was called ME West Castings Inc.
Also in 1994, GST purchased the participation that Stelco had in ME International and became the sole owner of the company.
In 1995, GST merged with Georgetown Industries, forming GS Industries and ME International became ME International Inc.
By the beginning of 21st century, the stories of ME International Inc. and Elecmetal merge. Elecmetal had the vision to be a global supplier of steel castings and the owners of ME International Inc. were going through delicate financial times, forcing them to sell the company. In 2001, Elecmetal successfully participated in the process of acquiring the assets of ME International Inc. and ME West Castings Inc., which were renamed as ME Global Inc.
In 2003, the ME Elecmetal brand was created, joining under one name two companies with the same vision: Being the preferred value-added supplier of solutions related to wear parts in target markets. Both companies share the tradition of using the latest technology, with emphasis on highly trained sales engineers solving customer problems by offering solutions for high wear utilizing innovative designs and metallurgy.
But the story does not end here. In late 2003, ME Elecmetal successfully participated in the international bidding for the acquisition of 60% of Fundición Talleres S.A., founded in 1914 and owned until then by Corporacion Nacional del Cobre (Codelco) a Chilean state mining company. Assets acquired included a foundry and a machine shop, both located in Rancagua, Chile. Later, in 2007, ME Elecmetal completed the acquisition of 100% of ownership of Fundición Talleres.
Also in 2007, ME Elecmetal signed a joint venture with ESCO® to build a new foundry, dedicated exclusively to the manufacture of ground engaging tools. The new foundry, called ESCO®-Elecmetal Fundición Ltda., started operations in mid-2012. The entire production of this foundry is dedicated to the South American market.
In 2011 ME Elecmetal signed a joint venture with Changshu Long Teng Steel Co, Ltd. a major Chinese steel manufacturer, to build a factory for manufacturing premium quality grinding balls in Changshu, China. The new company, ME Long Teng Grinding Media (Changshu) Ltd., started operations in the first half of 2012.
In 2012, the company announced a US$ 45 million investment in a new plant in Changzhou, China, for manufacturing mill liners for Asia-Pacific market.
With a history of innovation and dedication to customers, ME Elecmetal looks to the future, providing integrated solutions to the mining, construction and industrial markets.