Mercury Marine inaugurated the recent 23,500-sq.ft. expansion to its high-pressure aluminum diecasting (HPDC) operation in Fond du Lac, WI, a $9-million project in line with planned capacity increases for blocks, driveshafts, and gearcases for Mercury outboards.
“Demand for both our V6 and V8 engines have been incredible and we have consistently said that we will increase our capacity to ensure we continue to meet and exceed the needs of our customers,” stated John Buelow, Mercury Marine vice president of global operations.
Two years ago the foundry started up a 4,500-ton, BuhlerPrince 4575CCA diecasting machine, said to be the largest HPDC system operating in North America. The highly automated process involves three robots to conduct aluminum pouring, die-lube spraying, and part extraction from the diecasting machine.
The expansion will include a second 4,500-ton HPDC machine, along with other technologies to meet rising demand for Mercury Marine’s V8 and V6 outboard engine series.
Mercury Castings, an affiliate of Mercury Marine, produces aluminum castings by high-pressure diecasting and lost foam casting, for Mercury Marine engines as well as manufacturers of automotive, agricultural, and industrial systems.
Similarly, each of new work cells will be automated with three or four robots for pouring, die spraying, liner insertion, and part extraction. Automated sawing and marking for finished parts will promote traceability.
“This expansion will provide the foundry much-needed space to assemble and work on extremely large diecasting tools,” stated Buelow. “The V8 block tool weighs in excess of 100,000 pounds and is more than 16-feet across. Storage and pre-assembly of these massive tools is required for quick change-over in the die casting machines.”
Mercury Marine noted it has invested over $1.14 billion in research and production processes since 2008.
“This expansion will allow us to stay true to our promise of manufacturing the most reliable engines in the world,” according to Buelow.