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CAPITAL PROJECT AT MARINETTE DUCTILE IRON FOUNDRY WILL IMPROVE MAINTENANCE DOWNTIME

Waupaca Foundry Conveyor System Upgraded During Historic 16-Day Shutdown

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A significant capital project at Waupaca Foundry Plant 4, Marinette, WI ductile iron foundry, was installed on budget in 16 days over the recent holiday shutdown. A new conveyor system replaces a 30-year-old vibratory system and is expected to improve its maintenance downtime by over 50%. 

The vibrating shaker system that transports gating and sprue material was replaced with a state-of-the-art conveyor system in the foundry’s ductile casting shakeout department. The new conveyance system from Magaldi is required extensive renovation downstream of six iron casting sorting tables.  

“Preparation and planning were critical leading into the project due to the scope of work required given the defined shutdown install window,” said Jarrod Osborn, vice president of manufacturing engineering for Waupaca Foundry.

Waupaca engineering teams started planning for the capital project in 2022 to fit the longer conveyor system at the end of the molding lines within the current manufacturing footprint. The legacy vibratory shaker was replaced with two parallel Magaldi Superbelt conveyor systems designed to offset maintenance and energy costs, eliminate iron casting jams, abate noise, and decrease dust exposure.

The engineering team identified nearly 300 action items to complete the capital project successfully. This included mapping every installation step, identifying risks, and simulating the plant and new equipment. Before starting any work, foundry engineers modeled the existing space with 3-D scans of the existing footprint. The model was used to examine and validate the new equipment layout, existing equipment and building modifications, and installation access points, as well as confirming equipment fit the space.

The new steel belt conveyor system was somewhat longer than the previous shaker system. To accomplish the installation in record time, plant engineering and maintenance with contractors removed the existing system, which included relocating 25 support beams and corresponding ductwork. In addition, the capital investment plan:

  • Removed concrete and cut-in pit access points to remove legacy equipment.
  • Modified casting coolers by modifying the ends and moving counterweights.
  • Relocated two DIDION Rotary Media Drums® that reclaim core and molding sand from the iron casting manufacturing process.
  • Relocated conduit locations and ventilation systems.
  • Preassembled the new conveyor system, which arrived in 15 40-foot shipping containers in November of 2023 and was staged outdoors in the sequence in which parts were ultimately installed.

To complete the installation during the shutdown, Waupaca Foundry depended on collaboration with contractors Beson and Houle and IVI, as well as in-house engineering and maintenance.

“It was a huge advantage to have home-grown engineers,” said Rob Jezwinski, Waupaca Foundry engineering manager. “We live in this environment, so we were intimate with the details needed to create an efficient process and install an entirely new operating system for Christmas.”

The old shaker system was prone to gating jam-ups, which shut down all molding lines for repair. The Magaldi Superbelt conveyors improve gate and sprue transportation uptime, reduce energy costs, and reduce maintenance costs—all in all, improving quality and delivery performance to Waupaca Foundry customers. Equally important, the new conveyors improve the foundry workplace because they run more quietly and improve indoor air quality. 

“The safety benefits of the new system were as important as the bottom-line savings,” Osborn said.  “By replacing the vibrating system, we significantly reduced the amount of airborne dust and created a healthier working environment for our team.”

According to representatives from Magaldi, the system has innovative features that are equipped to transport large volumes of gating and sprue material.

“Because our system does not vibrate, the iron returns do not collect and jam up, silica dust is not generated, and the system is very quiet,” said Brandon Kruse, general manager of Magaldi Technologies. “To minimize energy consumption, we can speed up or slow down the conveyor if we notice heavy tonnages because there’s an advanced algorithm in the system that tracks scrap loading on all six lines.”

This is the second major capital project at the Marinette, WI ductile iron foundry in recent years. Plant 4 completed a multiyear power service upgrade in 2023. The plant is 327,000 square feet and can run six different grades of ductile iron concurrently using eco-conscious electric melt technology.


About Waupaca Foundry, Inc. Waupaca Foundry, Inc., North America’s leading supplier of iron castings to the automotive, commercial vehicle, agriculture, construction, and industrial markets, produces gray iron castings, ductile iron castings, and austempered ductile iron castings using state of-the-art processes and technology. The manufacturer also specializes in precision machining and assembly. Waupaca Foundry is Headquartered in Waupaca, Wisconsin and operates six iron foundries located in Waupaca, Wisconsin, Marinette, Wisconsin, and Tell City, Indiana. The company operates machining and assembly in Waupaca, Wisconsin. Waupaca employs approximately 4,000 people. For more information, visit www.waupacafoundry.com.

About Magaldi Technologies: Magaldi Technologies (www.Magaldi.com)  is the US branch of the parent company Magaldi Power SpA located in Salerno, Italy. The Magaldi group companies started in 1929 and is the world’s leading manufacturer of steel belt conveyors to handle materials in severe conditions - including high temperature, abrasive and heavy materials - used in foundries, coal-fired power plants, steel mills, mineral processing plants, cement plants, waste-to-energy plants and solid-fuel power plants, with more than 1,500 installations worldwide. Magaldi Group’s mission is to design, manufacture and market reliable, high quality systems which are able to provide environmentally sustainable industrial solutions worldwide. Based on its patented technologies, Magaldi produces highly automated systems able to reduce costs and achieve the highest level of quality in accordance with the principal standards. Its products are distributed worldwide through subsidiaries and licensees.

Company Info

Waupaca Foundry

955 Brunner Drive P.O. Box 249
54981 Waupaca, WI
United States

Telephone: +1 715-258-6611

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