The die is cast by these Spartanburg manufacturers – Spartanburg Herald Journal

If there’s one thing Dennis Blanton and Paul Bentivegna have learned over the course of their 30-year careers in the metalworking industry, it’s this: “Do what you love, and love what you do.”
Blanton, a native of Pacolet, and Bentivegna, an Upstate transplant from Montreal, couldn’t be more different. That is, except for a passion they share for Dynamic Reproducer Co. LLC, the small die-casting company they founded two years ago in Spartanburg.
Each day, the company’s machines turn out thousands of zinc alloy-based parts, including complex automotive engine parts, movable assemblies and other commercial items, such as medals, buttons, plant hangers and hardware.
With the enthusiasm of kids who get to play with their toys, Blanton and Bentivegna are committed to the profession.
“The business is quite interesting,” said Bentivegna, who handles most of the managerial and financial duties and has earned the nickname “Rain Man” for his sharp mind and resemblance to actor Dustin Hoffman. “I get to see what makes the world tick. We became fascinated with it.”
Blanton and Bentivegna met on the job several years ago. Both men worked for Dynacast Inc. of Spartanburg, a subsidiary of Dynacast International. When their plant closed in 2006, Bentivegna made a bid for a few of Dynacast’s machines and enlisted Blanton, who had worked for Dynacast since 1978, to serve as his partner and technician.
“Some of this equipment has been in Spartanburg since the ’40s,” Blanton said. “These machines stamped out the original ‘Johnny Lightning’ Matchbox cars.”
The men inherited a small customer base from Dynacast and have added several customers of their own. The complexity of the process and thousands of possibilities with die cast parts, they said, have helped them keep the business viable.
“They’re great to work for,” said employee Donald Sutton, a former Dynacast worker who came out of retirement to help Blanton and Bentivegna. “I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun. It keeps my wife happy because I’m out of the house, and it keeps me happy because I get to do what I love.”
In the die casting process, molten metal is forced into a metallic die (mold) and pressed until the metal has solidified. Die castings are accurate and can be made in intricate designs.
The high cost of the die usually limits the process to large-scale, high-speed production. Like many other sectors of U.S. manufacturing, the die casting industry has largely been moved to China in an effort to lower production and labor costs.
But Blanton and Bentivegna, who sell many of their parts to middle-man companies that in turn sell the parts to large companies, said they’re hoping to steal some business back from China by delving into a local niche consumer market.
“When you order from China, you have to make big orders with 2 million parts or so,” said Blanton, who builds all of the dies and maintains the machines at his 8,000-square-foot facility. “We can take smaller orders. It reduces inventory and gives our customers easy flow-through.
“We can also furnish them faster,” he said.
The men might not have to wait long to see their business start to boom again.
According a report by the North American Die Casting Association, die casting in North America was sluggish in 2007, but the industry might be poised to rebound because of economic changes in China and new business models of die casters such as Blanton and Bentivegna.
The industry association’s report said some of the cost advantages enjoyed by China are beginning to erode, which will improve the competitive position of North American die casters.
The report highlights new business models and practices that die casters in North America are implementing, such as upgrading marketing and communications strategies, interfacing with customers and introducing software systems.


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