EJ —a global organization that produces and distributes iron castings for municipal and infrastructure programs — staged a groundbreaking event for a greenfield foundry it is building in Elmira, MI, about 20 miles east of its current and original location in Warner Township, in northern Michigan. The $125-million project will result in a new foundry to be operating by the fall of 2018.
Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and other elected officials, along with numerous members of the Malpass family, descendants of the founders and including current executives and directors of the company, joined in the groundbreaking event in late July.
Long known as East Jordan Iron Works, and rebranded as EJ in 2011, the foundry was established in 1883 to supply cast iron products to the logging industry. Today, it casts parts for agricultural, forestry, marine and railroad equipment, with a particular focus in supplying castings for water, sewer, and drainage systems, and telecom and utility networks. It has a second U.S. plant in Ardmore, OK, and a network of foundries in Australia, Canada, France, and Ireland.
The current East Jordan operation includes a cupola melting shop for ductile iron, three molding lines — automated green-sand molding, no-bake molding, and HWS molding for parts up to 76x60 in. That location also has automated finish machining, coating, and assembly and testing for fire hydrants and valves.
The new foundry in Michigan will expand casting capabilities and "allow EJ … to remain competitive, grow the business, and retain 340 jobs in Northern Michigan,” according to a company statement.
Specific details about the melting and casting operation have not been released. The corporate headquarters, pattern shop, product development group, water products and regional sales office will remain in East Jordan.
“The official start of construction of the new foundry is an exciting time for our company,” stated Tracy Malpass, EJ president and a board member. “This project is an important milestone in the life of our family business, our community, and our employees. A project like this requires the support of many individuals and groups.”