Monday, May 13th, 2024

Area foundry recognized

St. Marys Foundry earns top award in competition

By Abigail Miller
Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Brad Frazier works on a frame at St. Marys Foundry in St. Marys.

ST. MARYS- St. Marys Foundry recently received top honors at the 2024 American Foundry Society (AFS) Casting Source Casting Competition by having their submission named Casting of the Year.

Also, company director Angela Schmeisser was named AFS Board President for 2024-2025.

Announced in April, the casting competition was a chance for North American metalcasters to show the engineering and purchasing community what a metal casting can accomplish, according to the AFS website.

Participation for the competition is open to all North American metalcasters and designers of metal castings.

St. Marys Foundry won the competition's overall title with a frac pump frame that weighed 6,600 pounds and measured 67.4 inches by 53.4 inches by 43.6 inches.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Jamey Wycuff closing a mold at St. Marys Foundry in St. Marys.

Though a massive sized entry compared to others in the industry, the frac pump frame is a typical-size casting produced at the St. Marys Foundry, Managing Director Angela Scheisser said.

Before it was cast, the frac pump frame was fabricated, she added.

"Which means it was fabricated by welding pieces of metal together," she said. "When they say fabricated, they put together pieces of metal and welded them in that and made it apart and it only would last 6,000 hours out in the field. And then they had to replace it. Now it lasts over 20,000 hours, to the point that we're not making any right now, because it's doing so good out there."

Prior to its creation, somewhere along the line someone suggested casting it, she said.

"I think it took us a while to convince them that it was castable, like it could be made out of as a cast product," she said. "So we poured it into the shape they wanted it in instead of it being put together in there, then it's been a huge success. The first one that we made is still running. It's way exceeded their expectations and not only is it running longer, it can run higher pressures. It's been a mind blowingly great success for them."

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Kevin Sunderland cleaning sand out of a mold at St. Marys Foundry.

St. Marys Foundry produces castings from 500 pounds to 60,000 pounds for a wide variety of industries including air and gas compression, power generation, turbines, pumps, valves, engines, aerospace, mining, machine tool and many other specialty markets, per the company website.

Founded in 1917, the business was started by five men to be a captive foundry for several local area businesses, including MidMark of Versailles, Minster Machine and others.

"It was sold in 1975 and then we bought it back," she said. "It was sold to a company who decided they didn't want it anymore. My dad (Larry Dine), with a group of shareholders, bought it back in 1984."

The company's biggest customer, Ariel Corporation, purchased the company in 2022. About 75% of their product is Ariel Corporation product.

St. Marys Foundry products go all over the world, Scheisser waid.

"If you've used natural gas, it's touched one of our castes," she said. "Because we make them for all the big natural gas producers."

The second female president in AFS history, Schmeisser's term started following the conclusion of the society's annual meeting in Milwaukee this April.

"There's a CEO of the American Found Society, and so I'm president of the, I guess they still say American Foundry Society," she said. "It's really of the board. It's a 130-year-old institution."

Schmeisser previously served as vice president of the board.

According to the society website, AFS's mission is to advance the success of its members and the metalcasting industry through advocacy, education, and innovation.

The six pillars of the organization include member success and sustainability, industry stewardship, policy advocacy, promotion of castings, talent development and technical innovation.

"We support the metal casters of America," Schmeisser said. "If they need training, they do training, online training in plant training, or onsite. Pretty soon here, there's a thing where we go to Washington and talk to the lawmakers, where you go and you advocate for your industry."

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Schmeisser has been with St. Marys Foundry for 25 years. She said she grew up in the plant as it's always been in the family - except for the 10 years it was sold.

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