WAHOO – When the doors of the new Omaha Steel Castings Company in Wahoo are thrown open to the public on Oct. 10, it will be a state-of-the-art, efficient facility people will be viewing.
The open house for the new foundry will take place between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. During that time, the public is invited to come to the plant, located 921 East 12th Street in Wahoo.
People will be able to look at the plant’s equipment and learn about the process of creating steel cast parts.
“We’re really looking forward to showing the community our operation,” said Omaha Steel Owner Phil Teggart.
In the week leading up to the open house, Teggart said the company was continuing to relocate its operation from its former location in Omaha to its new $17 million home in Wahoo.
“We’ll have everything moved over by the end of the year,” said Teggart. “The front office staff and operations will the be last piece to move.”
Construction of the new foundry started last year. The entire Omaha Steel Castings Company operation in Wahoo will be housed in two buildings. A 160,000 square foot building will house the foundry, while a 30,000 square foot building nearby will house the pattern blanks the company uses to create its castings.
“We’re very excited to be here in Wahoo,” he said. “There are just so many opportunities here in Wahoo that we wouldn’t have had in our previous location.”
Among those opportunities is the ability to make use of some of the newest techniques and equipment in the industry.
“We’re going to be able to conduct those traditional foundry process in the most state-of-the-art way possible,” he said. “We’ve been able to make our operation a lot more efficient by updating some of the equipment.”
The foundry was also able to better plan for things like making repairs. Underground access to individual furnaces makes it possible to fix a problem without having to shut the entire plant down.
“And that’s going to be huge for us in terms of efficiency,” said Teggart.
Teggart estimated that all of the new equipment and innovations at the plant will help increase their efficiency 30 to 48 percent.
Another opportunity that the Wahoo site has provided the company is the ability to have its entire foundry operation under just two roofs: one building for the production lines and a second one for the storage of the patterns they use to form their part molds.
“Again, there’re a lot of efficiencies there too,” he said. “Not only that, but our scrap is all going to be stored inside, so it won’t get wet. Wet steel is dangerous to work with, so this is going to increase our safety level.”
As the business grows, Teggart said the hope would be to expand still further.
“One of the nice things about this site is that we’ve got 20 acres to work with here,” he said. “There may come a time in the future where we might be in a position to expand, and there’s room here for that.”
For now, though Teggart said he is eager to focus on conducting the foundry’s business as usual in its new home in Wahoo.
As of Monday, Teggart said that operations on the small-part specialty line were up and running with a complete staff.
“Right now, there’s about 40 people that are working there full time,” he said.
By the time all of the operations are shifted over, Teggart said there will be about 175 people working at the Wahoo plant.
“And then we’ll gradually increase that until we work our way back up to about 250 employees,” he said.
Omaha Steel Castings Company has already held one job fair in Wahoo and Teggart said they would look to hire additional personnel as needed in the future.
“And many of those people are going to be living and shopping in Wahoo, sending their kids to Wahoo schools,” noted Teggart. “We’re just very excited to be a part of the community.”
And, while Teggart is the face many associate with Omaha Steel Castings Company, he said there are others working behind the scenes who have worked diligently to make the move possible.
“There are so many people, my wife Carol and others, who’ve all worked hard to make this happen,” said Teggart. “I really want to recognize them and their efforts, because without them, this would have been possible.”