Ductile-iron metalcaster ThyssenKrupp Waupaca Inc. has started construction for a $162 million expansion at its Etowah, Tenn., foundry. The project will add a new state-of-the-art ductile iron production line, which is expected to be fully operational in 2009. The automated line, which will include up to 50 robots for material handling, will increase the facility’s existing size of 272,000 square feet by 200,000 square feet.

The Etowah, Tenn., plant produces castings in gray iron as well as ductile iron for car and truck markets. Ductile iron castings are used for the production of brake calipers, brake supports and automotive chassis components (steering knuckles and differential cases for gear boxes). Gray iron castings are primarily used for rotors and brake drums.