Waupaca Foundry staged an inaugural event recently to mark the ‘first pour’ for a new molding line at Plant 1, its gray iron foundry in Waupaca, WI. Construction for the Sinto America horizontal molding system began in February, in “direct response to customer demand,” according to Waupaca Foundry president and CEO Mike Nikolai.
The Hitachi Metals Ltd. holding operates five foundries and two machining shops, for gray, ductile, compacted graphite, and austempered ductile iron castings. Its customers include automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture and construction equipment manufacturers, and other industrial markets.
In addition to the new molding line Waupaca installed a new ExOne S-Max Pro 3D printer for sand cores, which the foundry explained is producing complex core assemblies as single pieces, making it possible to produce rapid prototype castings.The S-Max Pro printers have a fully automated printhead to increase print speed, and “advanced powder compaction” capability promotes material density and strength for complex cores or molds. It can process furan, phenolic, and inorganic sand binder systems, and is adjustable to process silica or ceramic sands.
The value of the capital investment at Plant 1 was not announced.
“We have made strategic capital investments in key areas of production including the use of material handling automation,” Nikolai said, adding: “Now, we are adapting to customer needs by offering both horizontal and vertical molding.”
The Sinto line is the first horizontal molding line for Waupaca Foundry – long known for its reliance on high-volume green sand vertical molding operations. The new operation is capable of 200 molds/hour production, with 18-sec cycle time for pattern changes, automatic core setting, and laser-guided automatic pouring.
Waupaca Foundry noted it will be able to adapt existing matchplate tooling “of equal or smaller sizes”, for customers working to meet production schedules.
Housings, covers, turbo bearing housings, bodies, scrolls, pulleys, sheaves, and castings with complex core designs are the examples offered by Waupaca as products it may produce by horizontal molding.
“Waupaca Foundry has a strong reputation for high-volume production,” explained James Newsome, vice president of sales and marketing. “By adding horizontal molding, our customers have a solution for value-added services to produce low-volume, complicated parts.”