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Second Annual Innovation Award Recognizes Best Internal Ideas

Two Gary’s Award recognizes employees for the advancement of technology

As an industry leader, Waupaca Foundry depends greatly on our workforce and the ability to implement advancements in safety, quality, productivity and reliability. Our best improvement ideas and innovations come from our own team.

To recognize excellence in innovation, Waupaca Foundry awards the Two Gary’s Award to one employee or group for an outstanding contribution to the company. The annual award is presented for an achievement in engineering, process development, product development, Six Sigma or safety.

“We made the Two Gary’s Award for the advancement of technology and continuous improvement because it was the innovation championed by Gary Gigante and Gary Thoe
that have helped grow the company."
President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai.

This year, several employees and teams were nominated for their exceptional innovations. The 2017 winner was mechanical engineer, Tim Brackenbury for his work in creating a Precision Mold Conveyor Servo Electric Roller Screw Actuator (PMC SERSA).

Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai (left) and retired CEO Gary Thoe (right) present the 2017 Two Gary's Award to Tim Brackenbury.

The new actuator enables reduced cycle times, improved accuracy, increased reliability and uses significantly less power to operate. It reflects the Foundry’s long established, in-house engineering know-how and self-reliance. The new actuator designed by Tim Brackenbury for the Marinette ductile iron foundry's new PMC replaces the traditional approach on vertical molding machines, which uses two hydraulic cylinders and a hydraulic power unit for operation. Controls used with conventional hydraulic systems rely on abrupt stops of the PMC during an Estop, potentially leading to run-outs. The primary role of the new PMC electric actuator is to work with the Siemens motion controller to provide for safe stops during pushdown in green sand molding. It is specifically designed to be incorporated into legacy vertical molding platforms when PMCs are replaced.

In addition to this award-winning contribution, we want to recognize nominees for their innovative ideas. They include:

  • Jon Loken. Creation of Waupaca Foundry’s new Risk Reduction Program.
  • Jon Ernst. The Picture Frame Bolster.
  • Waupaca Melt and Purchasing Departments. Alternative Melt Materials for Cost Optimization.
  • Steve Kitzinger. Additive Manufacturing, 3-D Printed Prototype Patterns.
  • Etowah Mill Room and Engineering. Noise and Airborne Silica Abatement Through Shake Out Redesign.