Wisconsin-based Waupaca Foundry reported it will idle melting, molding, and coremaking operations at its plant in Etowah, TN. Casting processing operations will continue there. Waupaca, which is a Hitachi Metals Ltd. holding, produces gray, ductile, compacted graphite, and austempered ductile iron castings for manufacturers in the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture and construction equipment, and other industrial markets. It lists its current melting capacity as 1.4 million tons/year.
No schedule for idling the plant was announced, but a local report – citing the Worker Adjustment Renotification Act notice filed with the State of Tennessee – indicated that 540 workers’ positions will end on June 14.
“Our responsibility to our customers and our team members rests on our long-term sustainability,” stated Mike Nikolai, president, COO, and CEO. “We will continue to supply the high-quality cast and machined components and service that Waupaca is known for in the market.”
Casting programs formerly scheduled for the Etowah foundry will be transferred to other Hitachi Metals and Waupaca Foundry plants in Marinette, WI, and Tell City, IN. According to the group’s statement, these production shifts will align “manufacturing efficiencies with market demand.”
Waupaca Foundry now operates four foundries in Wisconsin and one in Indiana. It has plants for machining castings in Waupaca, WI, Effingham, IL, and Ironwood, MI.
The Tennessee foundry has been in operation since 2001. It casts parts from 2 to 180 lbs., for brake calipers and anchors, differential cases, knuckles, control arms, and damper hubs, supplied to light truck and commercial vehicle markets, material handling, agriculture and construction equipment builders, and hydraulic systems manufacturers.
In 2020, Waupaca Foundry closed a ductile iron foundry in in Lawrenceville, PA. That location was sold to Victaulic, which updated the molding lines to cast mechanical pipe and flow-control products, and restarted the operation in 2021.