Remarkable U.S.-only engineered and equipped foundry praised by New Hampshire Governor and Franklin, NH Mayor for technological initiative and for creating local jobs.
Watts Water Technologies has begun operation of a new lead-free foundry in Franklin, NH that reflects the company’s commitment to proactively meet the requirements of the “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act,” which goes into effect in January 2014 and establishes new limits on the lead content in every pipe, fixture, and fitting used to convey water for human consumption. Watts’ new WEFCO 2 foundry produces lead-free products exclusively, including lead-free versions of products the company produces at its WEFCO 1 facility (which is also located in Franklin, NH), as well as other products. Opening ceremonies were highlighted by comments from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and Franklin, NH Mayor Kenneth Merrifield.
Governor Hassan commended Watts for the types of products it produces at the new WEFCO 2 foundry, as “contributing to public health and safety, and for the company’s educational efforts around the Lead Free initiative.” She complimented the Franklin workforce, noting that, “The work effort here is extraordinary,” adding that the company is “emblematic of the ingenuity found across the Granite State.” Mayor Merrifield noted how rare it is to have a manufacturing facility that lasts 50 years, and how quickly the new foundry came into being. He referred to meeting this development challenge as a “remarkable accomplishment” and added “Congratulations, to an absolutely fabulous company.”
The new WEFCO 2 foundry expands and diversifies the production capacity of Watts’ WEFCO 1 foundry, which opened in April 1977, has undergone 16 updates, and produces products for many Watts brands. Based on its decades-long history of working with the WEFCO 1 foundry, Hunter Foundry Machinery Corporation has kept pace with these expansions and updates.
“This is a great day for our company and its employees, our industry, and the Franklin community,” said Watts Water Technologies CEO and President David Coghlan at the June 21st ribbon-cutting ceremony of WEFCO 2 30,000-square foot state-of-the-art foundry. Coghlan stated the Watts WEFCO 2 foundry “will enable us to be the ‘safe choice’ for Lead Free products, since we can eliminate the possibility of cross contamination of materials. It will also enable us to provide efficient and timely availability of products.”
Former President and CEO, and Watts Water Director Emeritus, Tim Horne observed, “This significantly advanced foundry is the latest example of our commitment to the State of New Hampshire, and the city of Franklin.” Part of Watts’ strategy in this industry-leading facility are two XL2024 Molding Machines that feed onto a common HV-20 24 + 24 x 3 Turntable Mold Handling Systems, all produced by Hunter Foundry Machinery Corporation in Schaumburg, IL.
Since its inception in 1977, the WEFCO 1 foundry used a full range of Hunter mold making and mold handling machinery. Originally, Hunter’s HMP-10 Molding machines were installed on a Hunter HMH-210 Mold Handler alongside two Hunter HMP-20 Machines that were installed on a Hunter HMH-220 Mold Handler. Hunter later addressed challenges in the older section of the foundry, including the need to increase pouring speeds, by replacing its older machines with Hunter’s C-series products. In 1999 these Hunter HMP-10C machines were replaced with Hunter’s HMP-10H mold making machines.
For the new WEFCO 2 foundry, Hunter integrated an Inductotherm Auto-Pour unit fed by two Hunter XL2024 Molding Machines into common Hunter HV-20 24 + 24 x 3 Turntable Mold Handling Systems through use of a proprietary mold-tracking program. Hunter’s direct interface controller communicates computer-based pattern data with the correct pouring profile to an Inductotherm Auto-Pour furnace
In addition to this 35-year working history, according to New Hampshire Operations Engineering Manager Mike Geldermann there were several reasons why Hunter Foundry Machinery Corporation was the molding machine and mold handling system provider of choice for the new foundry. “Hunter was the only single-source mold handling and mold making interface,” he states. “Their equipment was directly interchangeable with our current pattern plate setup and tooling, and provides us with improved cope-and-drag alignment to eliminate mold shift,” Geldermann says. Additionally, notes Geldermann, “Hunter’s systems were highly cost competitive when compared with other options,” he says, adding that Hunter’s familiarity with maintenance and upkeep of WEFCO 1 foundry machines was a key factor in their selection for the new WEFCO 2 production line.