Renaissance To Close 124-Year-Old Waukesha Foundry

By Mike Brezonick02 June 2020

Renaissance Manufacturing Group announced it will close its foundry in Waukesha, Wis., according to a report in the Milwaukee BizTimes business publication.
The operation will close July 31, eliminating 120 full time jobs at the site. The shipping department will remain open for a time, but will close by Oct. 31, the BizTimes said.

The facility cast parts for light- and heavy-duty trucks, engines, pumps and compressors and rail, construction and agricultural markets. Its capabilities included all ductile iron grades, compacted graphite iron (CGI), and high temperature and abrasion materials for components from 5 to 150 lb.

Renaissance said it will sell its order book to Grede, which will do the work from its existing facilities. RMG will continue to operate a machining operation in Grafton, Wis., a casting plant in Alabama and offices in Menomonee Falls, Wis., according to Phil Knoebel, CEO and Renaissance co-founder.

According to the BizTimes report, Knoebel said the business experienced a downturn in the second half of 2019. The management team expected that in a cyclical industry business would return this year, but the coronavirus pandemic limited demand and ultimately led to the decision to shut down.

“We were losing $500,000 a month and you can’t just keep doing that,” Knoebel said. “It happens quick in a foundry because you’ve got so much fixed overhead to absorb.”

Renaissance Manufacturing Group acquired the Waukesha foundry operations from Navistar in April of 2015. The Waukesha facility has been an operating foundry since 1896 and was operated by the U.S. government during World War II. International Harvester acquired the foundry in 1946 and it produced castings for IH assembly plants.

It transitioned to ductile iron in 1981 to supply castings to Navistar, and in 2009, its name was formally changed to Pure Power Technologies and expanded its customer base to include other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

For more information, see the Milwaukee BizTimes report here.

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