By Mike Nikolai
Since Waupaca Foundry's Etowah, Tenn. ductile iron foundry resumed operations in the Fall of 2011, the iron casting supplier has been rapidly expanding to handle new assets.
What was built as a gray iron facility in 2001, Plant 6 will be moving into 2012 with the addition of state-of-the-art equipment to produce ductile iron, a set of custom-engineered core machines, and three new buildings. We’re now ramping up the plant’s ability to alternate back and forth between gray and ductile iron production (50/50), supplementing the capabilities of our plants in Tell City, Ind. and Marinette, Wis.
Ductile Iron Capabilities
The new ductile iron desulphurization system, automatic alloy station, and treatment ladles give Plant 6 the best-in-class ductile iron melt capabilities level that you’ve come to expect from us. The first ductile iron operations will begin in late February 2012.
Robotic Core Machines
Two new core machines have been custom-engineered specifically for Plant 6 and will be installed in February 2012. The core machines automate core production for calipers, differential cases, and other ductile iron castings with strict dimensional control requirements. The new robotic core machines automate unloading to enhance core removal, core definning, and coating operations. Their robotic precision improves repeatability, and thus, the consistent quality of Waupaca’s industry leading castings.
As part of a 20,000-square-foot expansion to be completed in April 2012, one building will feature a new ductile millroom to finish and clean castings. Another building will handle the additional electrical distribution equipment for the plant’s new millroom equipment additions, including four new shot blast machines and five automated trim presses with robotic unload and Resonant Frequency (RF) testing capabilities. The third building will be used for storage of casting dies and other items.
Overall progress and expansion of Plant 6 is impressive--all while production of high-quality gray iron castings continues to hum along at peak performance. With our innovation technologies, Plant 6 is staking its claim as one of the most modern, state-of-the-art ductile and gray foundries in the industry.