Progressive Foundry renovates for future growth

AFS Corporate Member Progressive Foundry, Perry, Iowa, is launching another phase of its renovation improvements late this fall, with a $2.5 million investment to update its shakeout system. The company has purchased a new Didion media drum and several new conveyors from General Kinematics for the project, which is aimed at reducing casting breakage and lowering shotblasting cycle times. 

The foundry has planned for 150 tons of sand per hour and approximately 10 tons of iron per hour, a modest increase over current operations but allowing for room to grow, said Progressive Foundry Engineer Josh Magill. The company is utilizing its existing footprint but through demolition is opening up space to increase the shakeout area. It will shut down over the December holidays and expects to have the upgrades completed by the second week of January.

A flat deck shakeout has also been purchased and will be installed after the Didion. To accommodate increased dust from the new equipment, Progressive is adding a new 100,000 cfm dust collector in October. In September, it added three makeup air units, each 20,000 cfm.

The phased foundry renovation included upgrading Progressive’s return sand system in December 2022, replacing belts, adding a new sand cooler, and updating sand water cooling controls, all in preparation for the current shakeout makeover. The old shakeout and sand systems were originally installed in the 1990s.

“Our output has grown tremendously since then, as well as some automation we’ve been doing, especially in the last six or seven years, said Jackson VanKirk, vice president of sales. “So, our bottleneck was our shakeout system. This renovation will be more streamlined to accommodate not only current capacity, but future capacity as we grow further. The other thing is, we run a lot of thin walled gray iron castings here, sometimes a quarter of an inch thick, and they break easily. So, we’ve designed this new shakeout system to really cradle castings a lot more than we did in the past and reduce our internal breakage rate, especially on some particular part numbers.”

He added that noise and silica emissions reduction are areas the foundry is continuously looking to improve. VanKirk said the new dust collection system and air makeup units will help achieve part of that objective, and because the bigger area for the shakeout system will be walled off from production employees, noise exposure will also be decreased. 

“We are positioning ourselves for long-term consistency and growth,” said Luke Rathje, sales director. “We see the demand for castings increasing in the future, and we plan to continue to grow and get better. Our future plans are to increase our capacity, and this project will set us up to be able to do things like putting in new molding machines and increasing iron melting capacity. We plan to be able to meet all our customers’ future needs.”