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Grant Offers to Help Minnesota Foundries Go Green

Aug. 17, 2010
Enterprise Minnesota Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Dotson Co., Le Sueur Inc., Smith Foundry Co.,  Pier Foundry, and St. Paul Brass and Aluminum

A state agency will contribute $230,000 to an effort by five Minnesota foundries to create and deploy a “green manufacturing for sustainability” program. Enterprise Minnesota is a non-profit organization that works with various state and federal bodies to strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S.-based manufacturing. It received the $230,000-grant from the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP), and will use it to establish the program, together with the Dotson Co., in Mankato, Le Sueur Inc. in Le Sueur, Smith Foundry Co. in Minneapolis, and Pier Foundry and St. Paul Brass and Aluminum, both in St. Paul.

“The basis of manufacturing in Minnesota starts with metalcasting and foundries,” stated Enterprise Minnesota president & CEO Bob Kill. “This MJSP grant is phenomenal because it brings together a great group of companies that want to take green and sustainability into their industry.”

The initiative will combine lean process improvement and sustainability practices, to target practical energy conservation and waste-reduction opportunities. The University of Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) and Change Management Associates of Mt. Laurel, NJ, will help Enterprise Minnesota to develop the program.

Because metalcasters cite energy as one of their most significant costs, Enterprise Minnesota aims to optimize the seven foundries’ costs while reducing their environmental impact. At the same time, reducing their material wastes will advance the foundries’ “sustainability” practices.

The project also has support from the Metalcasters of Minnesota and American Foundry Society-Twin Cities Chapter, the EPA/Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership – Green Supplier Network, and the Teamsters, and the Glass, Molders, and Pottery International unions.

“We have struggled with what green really means to a manufacturer,” Kill said. “This project is really going to help us dig in and bring together ways to eliminate material and energy waste through process improvement.”