Benton Foundry earns Metalcaster of Year award with expansion

Modern Casting magazine has named AFS Corporate Member Benton Foundry its “Metalcaster of the Year.” Based in the mountains of central-eastern Pennsylvania, the iron metalcaster completed one of the largest expansions in its history last fall: The 70,000 sq. ft. of new and renovated space improved and enhanced its coremaking capabilities, increased capacity and efficiency, improved process control, and added 50 new jobs.

Over the course of 45 years of modernization, Benton has realized a compact, efficient melt deck, automation where warranted, good visibility within the plant, excellent air quality, an active apprenticeship program, and production growth from 18 tons a day to 225. 

Benton’s most recent project spanned 10 years as the metalcasting operations worked to catch up the rest of its systems to its melting department, which features two 10-metric ton Inductotherm induction furnaces with a dual track system and two 4-metric ton Inductotherm induction furnaces. During that time, the foundry relocated its maintenance department, added a second sand silo to match capacity with its 300 daily tons of melting, significantly upgraded its pattern storage area and processes, and made improvements to coremaking, core assembly, and casting cleaning and grinding—the latter included additions of more robotic grinding equipment.

Benton’s renovated core room features:

  • Two new 200-ton raw sand silos plus a silo for bentonite.
  • Mixer deck with 750-lb. and 300-lb. capacity OMCO mixers.
  • Resin room with two 6,000-gallon capacity resin tanks.
  • Weigh deck for automatically measuring the sand additives.
  • Solex heating and cooling unit to control the sand temperature.
  • Two 12,500 cfm MT Systems scrubbers.

In the coremaking area, Benton Foundry increased its Isocure machines from six to nine, with a provision to go to as many as 13. On the shell side, the foundry has six machines with the ability to handle 12 in the future, depending on the work mix. Benton Foundry also purchased two Laempe LL20 core machines. The recent CapEx project also involved replacing its old cleaning machines with two 34 cu.ft. tumble blast units from Blast Cleaning Technologies, along with a 21-cu.ft. barrel drum and monorail system. 

In the process of expanding on the south side of its building where a wetlands area would be disturbed, Benton Foundry worked with the Corps of 
Engineers and various government departments to create two new wetlands—the $500,000 environmental expansion included:

  • 1.6 acres of engineered wetlands (2.5 times what was removed).Plantings of over 1,200 native trees and shrubs.
  • 0.71-acre rain garden and bioretention area to take the runoff from the main employee parking lot.
  • 0.4-acre infiltration berm.
  • 0.25-acre amended soil zone to mitigate some highway runoff.
  • 2.7-acre vegetated swale with check dams and water quality filters.  CS