In a new-product development process that started in 2011, The C.A. Lawton Co. (Calco) reports it completed the product-qualification process and has started producing castings for a major agricultural equipment OEM. Calco, is a gray and ductile iron foundry in De Pere, WI that produces large-dimension castings and machined components.

Its usual customers are involved in the HVAC, municipal pump and valve, mining, and power generation industries. They include General Electric, IR/Trane, Metso, and Siemens, among others. The name of the new customer was not announced.

“This is a significant piece of business for us because it so thoroughly utilizes our capabilities and touches on so many of our strategic priorities,” explained CEO Alex Lawton. “It’s in the agricultural market, it involved substantial collaboration around new product development, and it’s an integrated offering in that we provide castings, paint, and machining,”.

Calco described the new product as a machined component for which it has “single-source responsibility.” Its machining capabilities, on-site and at its Centerline joint venture, are significant assets in this regard.

After landing the new supply contract, Calco undertook a collaborative product design process. This led to Calco producing a prototype tool, and from this prototype the foundry produced test castings last year that were machined and delivered to the customer.  

Successful tests were followed by development of production tooling, and then a ‘prove-out’ period. Calco started full production for the supply contract in early April.

Calco emphasized that its casting and machining capabilities are supported by customer-service that includes product development, Value-Added Value Engineering, and problem-solving assistance

“We really try to fill the need that many OEMs in our markets have for technical support and great service, which requires a higher level of communication and flexibility,” according to Lawton.