(WAUPACA, WI) August 20, 2019 — Waupaca Foundry, Inc., a Hitachi Metals group company, is the recipient of the 2019 Business Friend of the Environment award in the category of environmental innovation. The iron component supplier was honored for outstanding leadership in integrating sustainable business practices throughout its manufacturing operations.
Sponsored by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's (WMC), the annual Business Friend of the Environment award recognizes small, medium and large businesses in three categories: sustainability, the use of innovative technology, and environmental stewardship. Nominees were from industries throughout Wisconsin.
"Waupaca Foundry is a clear leader when it comes to environmental innovation," said WMC Director of Environmental & Energy Policy Lane Ruhland. "These efforts show the business community is dedicated to protecting our state's natural resources not just because it is good for our state's future, but because it is also good for business. WMC congratulates everyone at Waupaca for their well-deserved Business Friend of the Environment Award."
Waupaca Foundry operates three iron foundries and a machining operation based in Waupaca and Marinette, Wisconsin. The award recognized Waupaca Foundry's progress in reducing water use and wastewater treatment in key areas of manufacturing production.
- In metalcasting, water is used to cool machinery and as part of air pollution control processes. As a result of plant improvements, contaminated water no longer requires wastewater treatment.
- Plant upgrades substituted single-use water cooling systems with a closed loop and air cooled heat exchangers. As a result, demands for water have been cut 72% and non-contact cooling water discharge has been reduced to near zero.
Waupaca Foundry has decreased water use at Wisconsin facilities by 2.65 billion gallons since 2014. This represents enough water saved to fill over 4,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
"Foundries are the original recyclers," said Bryant Esch, environmental coordinator for Waupaca Foundry. "Our primary function of recycling scrap iron into new products serves as a primary sustainable activity. However, how we use innovative technology and engineering to drive other sustainability initiatives such as water, energy and waste reductions in the metalcasting process is critical to our overall success."
Esch says additional air and closed loop systems are in design and anticipates that organizational efforts will meet or exceed the water use reduction sustainability goal for 2020.
"Our efforts to reduce energy impact are entirely home-grown," said CEO Mike Nikolai. "Our engineers and technicians have designed and implemented innovative systems that are continually improving our manufacturing processes."
Energy conservation initiatives are part of Waupaca Foundry's corporate goal to reduce energy costs and achieve sustainable growth by the year 2020. Those goals include:
- Reducing energy use by 25%,
- Promote state-of-the-art pollution control technologies,
- Reduce spent foundry sand by 30% to reuse/recycle sand used in the metalcasting process,
- Reduce water use by 80%.
In addition to reducing water use, Waupaca Foundry also recycles 555,000 tons of spent foundry sand and slag annually.. Sand that can no longer be recycled is used in general construction, road construction, agricultural use, and geotechnical fill. Air pollution control uses bag house air filtration and filter leak detection to maintain the highest pollution controls in the foundry industry.