Waupaca Foundry will invest $4.3 million to establish a cleaning and finishing operation for ferrous castings in Ironwood, MI, noting high customer demand and the availability of labor in the Upper Peninsula location. The castings will be produced at Waupaca’s three foundries in Waupaca, WI.
“Like many employers across the nation Waupaca Foundry is finding ways to overcome low unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers,” stated CEO Mike Nikolai. “There simply are not enough workers to fill the open positions we have so we explored expansion in regions that had a solid base of talented workers.”
Waupaca Foundry casts gray iron, ductile iron, austempered ductile iron, and compacted graphite iron for automotive, commercial vehicle, off-road and construction equipment, and industrial customers. In addition to the three plants in Waupaca, it has foundries in Marinette, WI, Tell City, IN, Etowah, TN, and Lawrenceville, PA. it also has a machining and assembly plant in Effingham, IL.
It is buying a 50,000-sq.-ft. operation in Ironwood, MI, for the new operation, and has hired 35 workers there to staff the operation. It has not indicated a starting date for production there.
Waupaca Foundry was awarded a $1.2-million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the project.
“The economy is strong and Waupaca Foundry is growing due to increased customer demand for cast and machined iron castings,” stated EVP John Wiesbrock. “Opening a facility to handle cleaning and finishing of cast parts will allow us to meet customers’ expectations in quality and delivery of their parts.”