LAWRENCEVILLE, Pa. (WETM) – UPDATE: Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai issued the following statements concerning the closing of the Lawrenceville plant;
Why is the Lawrenceville plant closing?
Waupaca Foundry is streamlining our manufacturing footprint to make logistics more efficient for our customers. The plant’s location results in increased logistics costs in our customers’ supply chain. Additionally, forecasts for the rest of the year indicate automakers will have a significant production decrease compared to pre-pandemic levels. Finally, the facility would require a significant investment in advanced manufacturing processes to make it more efficient.
What parts does the plant produce and what will happen to them?
Waupaca Foundry – Lawrenceville produces automotive suspension components including steering knuckles, control arms, and brackets for OEMs. All of these parts will be consolidated at other Waupaca Foundry locations in Tennessee, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
Did the pandemic factor into your decision to close?
American manufacturing has been severely impacted by the nation’s virtual shut down. Although metal casting is an essential business, many of our customers have realized reduced demand for their products, which affects the supply chain. Our hope is any downturn in manufacturing will be short-lived, but any recovery will be gradual in scope.
Will you relocate employees?
We understand this is unfortunate for our team members at the Lawrenceville plant. All qualified employees are encouraged to apply for open positions at other Waupaca Foundry facilities and other companies owned by Hitachi Metals group. We will provide relocation benefits for people who accept positions outside of PennsylvaniaLawrenceville Closing statements from Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai
LAWRENCEVILLE, Pa. (WETM) – Waupaca Foundry will close its ductile iron foundry in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania in early August 2020 as “a result of capacity that exceeds demand in the supply chain,” according to a statement from the company.
The Lawrenceville plant produces automotive suspension components including steering knuckles, control arms, and brackets for OEMs. Parts produced at the Lawrenceville foundry will move to other Waupaca Foundry plants, and will continue to be machined and assembled at the Effingham, Illinois location.
“It’s critical that we stay in front of changing market conditions and customer demand for long-term sustainability,” Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai said. “Our ability to remain flexible in an evolving marketplace will continue to create opportunity for our employees and customers,” he said.
Both salaried and production team members were notified on May 27 and nearly 150 hourly and 50 salaried positions will be eliminated.
“Waupaca Foundry explored multiple alternatives to closing the plant—none of which were viable,” said Vice President of Operations Rick Sutton. “The global pandemic heightened the need to find solutions to better serve our customers.”