Waupaca Foundry, Inc. Recognized For Energy Efficiency Leadership
DOE recently recognized Better Plants partner Waupaca Foundry, Inc. for its achievements and leadership in energy efficiency. As a two-time Better Plants Better Project Award winner and the largest iron foundry company in the world, Waupaca has committed six facilities across the U.S. to the Better Plants program and has reduced energy intensity by more than 20% to date.
DOE recognized Waupaca with a 2022 Better Project Award for its water and energy efficiency achievements. Waupaca welcomed DOE for a tour of its Plant 1 location to see firsthand examples of the efficiency innovations made throughout its portfolio.
Left to right: Mike Nikolai, President, COO, and CEO, Waupaca Foundry; Maria T. Vargas, Director, Better Buildings Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy; Marco Gonzalez, Corporate Energy Manager, Waupaca Foundry; Paul Lemar, Technical Account Manager, Better Plants, Resource Dynamics Corporation; John O’Neill, Program Manager, Better Plants, U.S. Department of Energy; Bryant Esch, Director of Environmental Engineering, Waupaca Foundry; Brian Tesch, Plant Manager, Waupaca Foundry; Renee Torzala, Vice President, Marketing and Investor Relations, New North, Inc.
Waupaca operates three plants in the Waupaca, Wisconsin area, with a combined melt capacity of 200 tons per hour. The Plant 1 location boasts a unique configuration of equipment, allowing the foundry to produce more than 3,000 different types of iron castings for vehicles, construction and agricultural machinery, and other key sectors. The full-cycle facilities include a melt center, metallurgical laboratory, core rooms, mill room, and warehouses – offering DOE the chance to see the production process from start to finish.
Waupaca’s melt center, which produces up to 80 tons of molten iron per hour, features a waste heat recovery system that captures heat exhausted from melting the iron and uses it to reduce natural gas consumption. This system provides 100% of the site’s hot water needs year-round, and during Wisconsin’s cold winter months, it also provides 70% of the building’s heating requirements, helping to reduce CO2 emissions. Similar upgrades were made at Plant 2/3 and featured in a Better Plants Showcase Project.
Waupaca also highlighted its upgraded compressed air system, which was awarded a 2022 Better Project Award. The company optimized the system with high-efficiency air compressor retrofits, a master control system enabling energy monitoring, and other features to achieve a 13.5% increase in energy efficiency. The upgraded system no longer utilizes water cooling, saving 13 million gallons of water per year.
In the Plant 1 Control Center, DOE had the chance to see Waupaca’s computerized displays, which visualize the foundry’s melting processes starting from a mix of raw and recycled materials and ending with finished iron castings.
Learn more about Waupaca’s commitment to efficiency here, and review additional photos from the tour below:
Left to right: John O’Neill, Program Manager, Better Plants, U.S. Department of Energy; Marco Gonzalez, Corporate Energy Manager, Waupaca Foundry; Maria T. Vargas, Director, Better Buildings Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy; Paul Lemar, Technical Account Manager, Better Plants, Resource Dynamics Corporation
Charge yard control center
Master air control system
Core room, cold box
Variable Frequency Drive (right) and control (left)
Electric forklift charging station