Oct. 1, 2015—Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals Group company, is celebrating its 60th year in business. When iron casting began on the banks of the Waupaca River in 1955, company leaders could not predict their business would become the world’s largest gray and ductile iron producer. Today, Waupaca Foundry employs 3,900 employees at six plants in Wisconsin, Indiana and Tennessee. The firm produces gray iron, ductile iron, and austempered ductile iron castings for global markets in the automotive, commercial vehicle, off highway and industrial sectors.
Throughout its 60-year history, Waupaca Foundry has maintained a reputation of innovation and producing top-quality iron castings. A few years after the foundry started business, it had a capacity of melting 30 tons of iron daily. Today, it has an iron melting capacity of more than 9,500 tons daily across six plants in the United States. As a comparison, the U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., is made of 4,100 tons of cast iron.
On October 2, national Manufacturing Day, Waupaca Foundry will celebrate six decades of manufacturing excellence with an open house, tours and hands-on foundry simulations at its plant in Waupaca, Wisconsin. The event will be held at its headquarters located at 1955 Brunner Drive.
“Our success and culture of continuous improvement is backed by our dedicated team of employees.,” said Mike Nikolai, president & chief operating officer. “Celebrating 60 years in business is a tribute to that legacy of foundry knowledge and innovative thinking that is passed on from one generation to the next; consistently making the highest quality castings for our customers.
”The celebration will include the following events:
- Guided foundry tours.
- A hands-on simulation of the casting process in which attendees will get the chance to participate—melt metal, pour it into molds, and clean and finish small castings. This demonstration, called Waupaca Foundry in a Box, is a program Waupaca Foundry brings to schools to engage K-12 students and create a positive view of manufacturing careers.
- An outdoor demonstration melting and pouring iron into molds using a scaled-down, replica version of the foundry’s cupola, the furnace used to melt iron. This same replica cupola is used by Waupaca Foundry to partner with technical and post graduate schools to offer college-age students a hands-on opportunity to gain metalcasting experience and learn about career path options in the foundry industry.
“Foundry jobs have changed dramatically in 60 years,” said Joey Leonard, executive vice president of human resources. “Today, we offer career opportunities in robotics, engineering, metallurgy, information technology, administration and so many other fields needed to support production of iron castings.”
Waupaca Foundry will be honored at the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance’s “Excellence in Manufacturing” awards on October 21, 2015 where foundry leaders will be presented with the Innovation Award for the Foundry in a Box program. The program has been presented to K-12 students in Northeast and Central Wisconsin and is designed to offer students a hands-on understanding of manufacturing and career possibilities in a foundry setting.
Other significant achievements in the history of Waupaca Foundry are:
- Waupaca Foundry has been recognized by industry associations, state and federal governments for a record of sustainability and environmental excellence.
- In 2015, Waupaca Foundry received the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) “Best of State” Engineering Excellence Award in the State of Wisconsin as well as a National ACEC Engineering Excellence Recognition Award for a project which promotes the re-use of foundry by-products to enhance the sustainability of the company’s Waupaca area landfill.
- The company was recognized by Inc. Magazine in 2013 with Hire Power award given to private businesses that have generated the most jobs in the past 18 months.
- Waupaca Foundry is consistently recognized for casting innovation by trade associates and has been named “Supplier of the Year” by key customers—most recently named 2014 Supplier of The Year by Linamar Corp.