Waupaca Foundry Opens Machine Shop for Brake Parts

50,000-sq.ft., automated operation in Wisconsin for gray iron castings up to 80 lb.

Waupaca Foundry Inc. is opening a machining operation adjacent to one of the three gray iron foundries it operates in Waupaca, WI. The new plant will machine commercial-vehicle brake components cast at the foundry, an expansion resulting from customer demand.

“Our global markets are changing and customers want a higher level of value-added services,” stated John Wiesbrock, exec. vice president. “A vertically integrated model such as this takes the waste out of the supply chain for customers.” 

According to Wiesbrock, the new plant fulfills a corporate objective to vertically integrate services.

The 50,000-sq.ft. operation will have staff of 15 workers and incorporate various systems to automate processes, including robotic unpacking and packing of parts; automated guided vehicles to deliver, transfer, and collect parts among three CNC machining cells; and inverted twin-spindle CNC lathes to finish machine parts with consistently tight tolerances.

Waupaca Foundry will recycle iron chips machined from the castings and re-melt for use to make new iron castings.

Brake components machined at the new operation (some weighing up to 80 lbs.) will be supplied to heavy-duty truck manufacturers, though Waupaca will continue to rely on other providers for machining service, too.

“We provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for component production,” according to Jason Grasman, who manages the new machine shop. “Customers could potentially have a casting supplier, a machining supplier, and a coating supplier for one part. Complexity in the process increases with each supplier you add, so this makes it much more convenient for our customers.”

Waupaca Foundry also has machining operations at its plant in Effingham, IL. Late last year, Waupaca announced it is establishing a plant in Ironwood, MI, for cleaning and finishing iron castings.

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