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Culture - Feb 23, 2023

National Engineers Week: Jeffery Eubank

Ally Melby | Waupaca Foundry

Jeffery Eubank, a project engineer at Waupaca Foundry in Tell City, Indiana, and a native to the state, has witnessed the advancements of the plant since it was built in 1997.

Jeff Eubank, a Waupaca Foundry Plant 5 project engineer located in Tell City, Indiana. 

Eubank, a mechanical engineering graduate of Purdue University, discovered Waupaca Foundry at the Foundry Educational Foundation job fair in Chicago. After meeting with a few companies and a local Indiana foundry, Eubank was convinced he would never work in a foundry — that was until he met Jim Larson. Larson, a Waupaca Foundry executive, arranged a trip for Eubank to come visit the company in Waupaca, Wisconsin.

“During that interview, even though it was still a foundry, what was different was the people. Everybody was personable and interested in showing you the operation. The guys were very professional, but yet they kind of had a family-type feel to them where they had an invested interest in you. That was a difference right there,” Eubank says.

Eubank was hired and started his career at Waupaca Foundry on June 5, 1995, at Plant 1 in Waupaca.

Today’s foundries are a great place for an engineer to gain experience, from day 1 to retirement. Over the last three decades, Eubank has witnessed firsthand how technology and automation have and continue to change foundries. The projects he works on are more innovative. The outcomes increase resiliency and worker safety. Overall, the foundry has become a cleaner, leaner and more efficient place to work. And Waupaca Foundry’s shift toward modern manufacturing shows that.

After Eubank was hired, construction began on the Tell City plant. Eubank began working on the plant’s construction remotely in Waupaca by revising prints and changing orders. With engineers needed onsite, Eubank was offered a transfer, and he moved back to his home state.

Eubank and his fellow engineers were instantly busy building the phase one portion of the foundry. Eubank remembers the tedious process of attempting to start running the plant. The team would pour iron and then have to mitigate and fix any issues. Once all problems were alleviated, the plant opened and began producing gray and ductile iron castings.

However, the work was not done, and as soon as the plant was running, the team began phase two.

Eubank worked directly with engineers and contractors to coordinate equipment, layout and design for input and output processes. Much of what was installed in the initial build and expansion projects, like the sand mold machines, have since been replaced with more efficient, higher quality products.

The expansion project was completed in 1999. While the work was time-consuming and challenging, Eubank remembers the project fondly and as a highlight of his Waupaca Foundry career.
"I was young — right out of school. Just working with all the different engineers and contractors and different people involved in that project, it was just a great learning experience,” Eubank says.

About 20 years after the expansion of the plant was complete, Eubank and Waupaca Foundry engineers were tested by having to figure out how to replace one of the plant’s two cupolas. The cupola had been installed and in use since the plant was built.

Eubank teamed up with fellow project engineer Dave Bean and engineering peers to complete the project. While Bean focused on the equipment side of the project, designing and determining the layout of the cupola, Eubank designed and coordinated building and infrastructure modifications, such as figuring out how to remove more than 300,000 pounds of spent material through the plant’s roof for the new installation.

The project was successfully completed in 2022 and has operational improved operational efficiency and reliability.

Today, the Tell City plant continues to incorporate robotics and automation into its processes to meet evolving needs of customers.

“When I started out in the plant, we didn't have any robots at all, and now we're up to 41 robots in the plant,” Eubank says. “I've seen the change in the automation. We keep automating and making improvements to the process and the equipment.”

The theme of this year’s National Engineers Week is ‘Creating the Future.’ Today’s engineers play a vital role in innovating solutions that impact our everyday lives. At Waupaca Foundry, engineers are central to continuous improvement and innovation. We are proud to be the employer of 115 engineers in our electrical, mechanical, industrial, process, quality, environmental and tooling departments.

Cast your own future as an engineer at Waupaca Foundry: https://waupacafoundry.com/Careers
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