Lubrimetal brings global success to Caldwell

Nov. 24, 2013 @ 09:15 AM

Giorgio Corso’s grandfather founded a small, metal-drawing lubricants company called Lubrimetal in Italy in 1959. Today, the company is truly global, with locations in Brazil, India and Caldwell County.

As executive vice president, Corso flies back and forth every few weeks to Italy and Granite Falls, where Lubrimetal’s American manufacturing facility is located.

Through its advances in technology, quality of product and great customer relations, the company was able to grow, hitting its full capacity in Europe, Corso said.

The company opened its Granite Falls facility on Oct. 4, 2012, locating in Caldwell County instead of other places Lubrimetal considered in Pennsylvania and Tennessee because of the “red carpet” the company received in the county.

Corso was impressed by “the efficiency of the people,” saying that in one meeting, the company was able to meet with the fire and police departments, mayor and economic development officials to straighten everything out for the establishment of Lubrimetal in Granite Falls.

“At the moment, the growing company is this one,” Corso said. The company's main customers in the area are Hickory Springs Manufacturing and Granite Falls Furnace, which used to occupy the building that Lubrimetal now calls home.

The Lubrimetal Group is actually four companies, Lubrimetal in Italy, where 70 percent of the company’s lubricants are produced, Pendington Lubrimetal in Mumbai, India, the facility with the most employees at 40, the new Lubrimetal Corp. in Granite Falls, and a production facility in the works in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lubrimetal do Brazil.

Corso said the move to America came after long efforts to gain a foothold in the American market, something his father attempted for years. The American customer, he said, wants to buy products made in America.

Lubrimetal ships all over the country and into Canada from its Granite Falls location, where it manufactures different dry and wet lubricants for the metal-drawing industry, or pulling metal into wires, creating different grain sizes for different types of metals and procedures.

Only seven employees run the operations at Lubrimetal, working two shifts on three mixers. Two of the three mixers can produce a 700-pound batch of dry lubricant in three to six hours, depending on the desired grain size.

Another, faster mixer can produce a 700-pound batch in about an hour and a half on average, Corso said.

The lubricants, which are stored in vats that the metal is strung through when being drawn into wires, must be precise and specific to the type of metal drawing they’ll be used for.

Lubrimetal uses two bases for its lubricants, a calcium soap and a sodium soap, both of which are used to meet specific metal-drawing needs, Corso said. The key is balance of the chemicals, with some lubricants needing to come off clean so that wires can be coated in copper or zinc.

While not hiring at the moment, the company is growing, Corso said. New employees need no special training or skills, he said, and the first month of working at Lubrimetal is training in the handling of the chemicals and operation of the mixers.