Business Profile: PCC Structurals – Over 60 Years in San Leandro
In 1956, a family-owned and operated foundry, Precision Founders, Inc. opened in San Leandro. Over the course of 61 years and two acquisitions, the foundry continued to expand. By 2015, the business had grown to a diverse workforce of 160 employees, 80% of whom reside in the nearest three zip codes. Acquired by Precision Castparts Corporation (PCC), the plant joined the PCC Structurals Division. Precision Cast Parts Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the world’s leader in investment casting of precision parts for a variety of components, primarily noted for delivery on advancements in jet and rocket propulsion engines. The plant has continued to grow, and currently employs 260 workers. This growth is due to technological advancements in jet propulsion, referred to as Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion (LEAP). These advancements are expected to serve as a catalyst for sustained growth of 25% each year for the next five years.
The PCC plant in San Leandro manufactures tight tolerance, thin walled, complex components in various super alloys for military and commercial jet engines, which typically are made up of as many as 25,000 individual parts. Every commercial jet flying in the U.S. contains at least some components from PCC, which manufactures 850 different parts at the San Leandro location. Customers include Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric. They, in turn, provide engines for companies including Boeing and Airbus. Parts are also created for military aircraft, such as the F-14, F-18, and F-35 fighter jets. Furthermore, PCC manufactures pieces for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets that will soon make it possible to commute into space.
The investment casting process consists of injecting wax into highly engineered molds. Once the intricate wax parts are removed from these molds, they are manually dipped into ceramic slurry and dried slowly in climate controlled rooms. The dipping process continues with a team of robots until a substantial ceramic shell is created. Once the wax is removed, an empty ceramic shell remains into which PCC injects one of 60 different super alloys to cast the precision parts. The ceramic shell is then discarded, the parts are surgically removed, refined with precision, and quality tested.
Advanced manufacturing is enjoying a resurgence, and PCC recognizes the need for new skilled workers and engineers as the current workforce approaches retirement age. PCC has recently coordinated with the San Leandro Unified School District, San Leandro High School, and the City of San Leandro, to develop a Manufacturing Alliance with the San Leandro Schools (MASS) — an evolving partnership designed to develop project-based learning opportunities in various manufacturing-related programs for students. The goal of this program is to build the interest, skills, and capabilities that would lead to employment upon graduation. This initiative is a way for PCC to give back to the San Leandro community, while simultaneously investing in the future of local manufacturing.
PCC Structurals has been in San Leandro for over 60 years, but as it is tucked away in the Adams Tract section of the industrial area and serves such a specific market, it is a business that is largely unknown to the community. With manufacturing on the rise, and the promise of continued growth, PCC is the perfect example of a business that understands the value of operating, growing, and investing in San Leandro.