TK Waupaca Plant Starts Expansion in Tennessee

Sept. 26, 2007
$162-million project seen improving productivity, product quality
Ductile-iron metalcaster ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Inc. has started construction for a $162-million expansion of its Etowah, TN, which will consist of a separate operation at the six-year-old plant. It's expected to increase the total manufacturing space by about two-thirds to 472,000 ft 2, and add about 100 new jobs. “In an economy that has seen casting technology moving off-shore, we are bringing a solid basis for renewing the technology capability in America,” stated TK Waupaca president and CEO Gary Gigante. He predicted the expansion would improve the plant's productivity significantly, and help to improve product quality. The Etowah, TN, plant produces castings in gray iron as well as ductile iron, in products sized from 5 to 350 lb for car and truck markets, such as brake calipers, brake supports, steering knuckles, and differential cases for gear boxes (all ductile iron products), as well as rotors and brake drums (gray iron products.) The same plant also produces castings for material handling equipment; agricultural, construction, and off-highway machinery; and hydraulics systems. Melting at approximately 75-tons/hour, the plant operates four Disamatic molding lines with isocure and cold-box coremaking systems. The expansion will add a new "state-of-the-art" ductile iron process line, which will include as many as 50 robots for material handling. Further details of the new line have not been released. ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Inc. calls itself the largest non-captive iron foundry in the world, with four plants in Wisconsin and one in Tell City, IN, in addition to the Tennessee operation. It is a business unit of the ThyssenKrupp Group, and an operating unit of the ThyssenKrupp Technologies division.