Voith has installed one of the largest, state-of-the-art vertical machining tools in North America – the Vertical Turning Lathe (VTL) – at its York, Pennsylvania plant. 

In a statement, the company said the multi-million dollar investment allows it to drive its production speed, improve its project capacity and continue to provide quality products for its customers across North America.

“We officially place into operation one of the largest and newest vertical turning lathes in North America with the capacity to precision machine 200-ton parts up to 10 meters in diameter with the most exacting tolerances required by the hydropower industry,” said Stanley Kocon, President & CEO, Voith Hydro North America, at the inauguration event for the VTL held at Voith Hydro’s North American headquarters in West Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, on April 23. “Few factories, if any, in the United States are capable of manufacturing in the size and scale of this facility, and we've been doing just that in York, Pennsylvania, for over 140 years.”

The VTL is an industrial-scale machine used to lathe hydropower components including large runners and turbines. Though the VTL is a large machine with a table capacity of 200 tons, it performs the highly accurate lathing needed for these components, allowing them to successfully perform through decades of service in the hydroelectricity industry, says Voith. Beyond its ability to achieve tight tolerances, the VTL has been developed to further improve worker and worksite safety through built-in safety features.

The VTL was unveiled at an event attended by local, state and federal officials and industry representatives including Congressman Scott Perry, State Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill; and Linda Church Ciocci, President and CEO of the National Hydropower Association as well as Voith employees.

“This is near mechanical perfection,” said Congressman Perry of the new VTL. “This could have gone anywhere in the world, but it came right here to York, Pennsylvania. Thank you very much for making the investment in these people, in this dream, in this vision.”

Ciocci recognized the impact that the VTL will have on Voith’s business, the products delivered to its customers and its ability to assist in modernizing the US fleet of hydropower facilities.

“Of all the events I attend each year, nothing makes me happier than a ribbon-cutting ceremony because they symbolize job growth and industry vitality,” Church Ciocci said.  “As I look at Voith's investment, what do I see? Certainly I see the jobs it will sustain. I see the continued investment in this community, in York and its local economy as well. Also, I see Voith’s investment in this industry and I see the faith in hydro's future — Its recognition of the opportunity that still lies ahead. I see Voith's continued role as a national and global leader within that future.”

According to Kocon, the VTL will not only improve productivity through its state-of-the-art features, but also improve product quality through higher tolerance machining to exacting design parameters required within the hydropower industry.