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facility in Etowah, Tennessee, splits its annual production evenly between ductile and gray iron. Plans are approved to convert the 200,000 tons of annual capacity to entirely ductile iron, with the goal of completion by April 2017. Te project will help improve efficiencies by reducing the inherent obstacles of transitioning between pouring both gray and ductile iron. Additionally, the HMAC facility in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, which pours only ductile iron, has been near capacity for a number of years. Te project to increase ductile iron capacity at Waupaca Foundry’s Plant 6 will relieve pressure and increase output. “One goal is to grow the Hitachi


Metals brand products, which is pri- marily ductile iron suspension castings,” said Mike Nikolai, president and COO, Waupaca Foundry. “At capacity, they’ve had little room to grow the business. Essentially, this opens capacity to grow that business while we move gray iron production to other facilities.”


Boosting Machining Capabilities A recent trend in the global


metalcasting industry has seen Asian, European and North American facilities add machining capabilities, either through in-house operations or partnerships. Customers increasingly expect suppliers to offer machining. In response, Waupaca Foundry is actively exploring options to add machining capabilities near Plants 1, 2 and 3 in the Waupaca, Wisconsin, area. Te ini- tial goal is to have an existing partner open a facility, focused primarily on machining strategic products. “In the past, our capital was


primarily directed at the foundry capabilities,” Gigante said. “To invest in machining would have limited the casting side of the business. Now, we have the ability to fund both and offering machining is required to get new business.” Te expanded capabilities will bet-


ter position Waupaca Foundry to gain business, but any potential partnership will introduce a new set of variables.


Along with machining operations, company officials expect to do some assembly work as well. “It will change the supply chain and


how we manage it,” Nikolai said. “We have to expand our materials manage- ment and quality assurance.” Waupaca Foundry is currently


exploring possible partnerships, though no official agreements have been made. Te company aims to have a manufacturing solution in place by 2017.


Introducing Horizontal Molding In its seven casting facilities, Wau-


paca Foundry has a total of 35 vertical molding lines with an annual capacity of 1.8 million tons. Te casting giant expects to add horizontal molding capabilities in its operation in Tell City, Indiana, by 2018. Engineering plans have begun to replace one of the facility’s four vertical lines with a horizontal one. “Te commercial truck market—dif- ferential carriers, cases and axles—will


22 | MODERN CASTING April 2016 Waupaca Foundry is exploring machining options near its Wisconsin operations.


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