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Fonderie Laperle invested in a new building addition to house its charging area (right), melt deck (above) and transfer car.


Frechette said. “We determined it would be more economical to use induction furnaces.” As part of the effort to reach


KYOTO air emissions targets, a program out of Quebec provided $2.2 million to Fonderie Laperle to subsidize the change from coke to electric to meet clean air targets. Bibby and McWane invested an additional $3.3 million. Te $5.5 million covered the addition


of a new building that houses the new induction furnaces, charging area, and transfer car. Te improvements reduce emissions but also increase the plant’s efficiency of manufacturing and reduced the cost of equipment maintenance. Fonderie Laperle, which employs 80 when operating at capacity, had been running one cupola furnace melt- ing 8 tons per hour in one shift. By switching to two induction furnaces melting 6 tons per hour, the plant has more flexibility. “We can start and stop, go to two


shifts, or use overtime,” Leonard said. “We didn’t increase our per-hour


capacity, but we increased our avail- ability and the quality of our iron.” Although it is a learning process


switching from cupola to electric melting, Fonderie Laperle is able to rely on help from the team at Bibby Ste-Croix, which is two hours down the St. Lawrence River and has been operating induction melting for years. The new melting department also sets Fonderie Laperle up for the next step in its evolution—the incorporation of ductile iron, which it expects to begin pouring in late 2017 or early 2018. “We have demand for ductile iron,


but we could never do it with a single cupola furnace,” Leonard said. “Ductile


iron is a more stable microstructure. Without a holding furnace, we didn’t have the opportunity to put in any additions. Now we can. And we can produce a more even quality of iron.” Te new investment in the melting


department and support of McWane and Bibby, along with the demand for quality municipal castings domesti- cally-sourced, makes Leonard confi- dent in the future of Fonderie Laperle and the employees who work there. “Tese are high paying, skilled labor jobs,” Leonard said. “We want to keep the foundry going and keep Canada working. It’s a middle-class job. Tere’s nothing more middle class than a foundry worker.”


March 2017 MODERN CASTING | 33


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