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with Hitachi Metals, a Japan-based company with machining and met- alcasting operations in Asia and North America, Waupaca Foundry appears to be shifting into high gear. In early 2016, the company unveiled a four- part series of capital investments and strategic initiatives along with long- term expansion possibilities to improve its standing in the global market both today and tomorrow: • Increasing ductile iron capacity. • Installing horizontal molding capabilities.


• Expanding machining operations. • Exploring expansion into Mexico. “We are very happy to have Hita-


chi Metals as a long-term, strategic owner,” said Gary Gigante, CEO, Waupaca Foundry. “Hitachi Metals started out as an iron foundry. Tey own iron foundries. It’s a strategic purchase for them, so I feel good about the future and our potential growth.”


The Goldilocks Solution Established in 1955, Waupaca


Foundry was purchased by German conglomerate Tyssen in 1978. (See sidebar for more complete details about ownership.) Te marriage proved beneficial to both sides for 30 years, a period when the metalcast- ing operation underwent significant expansion. Two plants—one each in Indiana


and Tennessee—were built. Existing plants in Marinette and Waupaca, Wisconsin, were expanded, with the three facilities nearly doubling in size. Total production increased exponen- tially from less than 100,000 tons in 1978 to a pre-recession high of more than 1.25 million. But the economic downturn that began in 2007 exposed differences in direction for the metalcaster and its parent company. Beginning in the 1990s, TyssenKrupp reduced the number of aluminum and casting facilities it owned, divesting in those operations while investing billions of dollars in steel processing plants in Alabama and Brazil. “TyssenKrupp was really, really


good for a long time, but things can change,” Gigante said. “After the recession, they were not interested


Customers for automotive components, such as brake rotors, are encouraging Waupaca Foundry to expand into Mexico.


April 2016 MODERN CASTING | 19


“Having a global footprint has always been a part of our long-term strategy. We want to be in Mexico, Hitachi Metals wants us in Mexico and our customers want us to be there.”—Gary Gigante, CEO, Waupaca Foundry


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