Lodi Iron Works Review

Lodi Iron Works is a Meehanite® casting foundry with a long history of producing quality parts and is among the few companies whose past president was an inaugural inductee of the Foundry Management & Technology Hall of Honor .  There are few remaining iron casting foundries in the West Coast states and Lodi Iron Works is the only West Coast foundry to excel and become a certified Meehanite® foundry.

Here are some highlights about Lodi Iron Works:

  • ISO 9001:2008, Lloyds, and ITAR Certified
  • Mold types: Green Sand and No Bake
  • Ideal weights: a few ounces to 1,500 pounds
  • Ideal manufacturing Volumes: small to medium volume parts
  • Metals: Meehanite®, Gray Iron, Ductile Iron, Special Alloys (like Ni-Hard and Ni-Resist), high chrome, and stainless
  • In house machining and robotic grinding
  • New 500lb furnace for cost effective micro-pours

History of Lodi Iron Works:

Founded in 1946, by Henry H. Kaiser, Lodi Iron Works was later sold to the Van Steenberge family.  Taking the reins as president in 1962, Vickie Van Steenberge was one of the earliest women to lead an iron casting foundry in the USA.  Under her leadership, the company added its Meehanite® capabilities in 1962 and then went on to add stainless, high carbon, and special alloys in 1970.

Lodi Iron Works serves a wide variety of industries including agriculture, automotive, military, marine, mining, oil, chemical equipment, machine tooling, and power transmission.  The company continues to focus on future value for customers through reinvesting in new equipment knowing to stay competitive and knowing the way to get ahead in this industry is to provide the greatest value in castings through accuracy, precision, speed, and price point.

Now in its third generation of family leadership, the family sees its private ownership as a competitive advantage.  Rather than focus on only five-year profit goals, the team can focus on the longevity of client relationships and the longevity of the business as a whole.  Clients have confidence this foundry will be around for a long time because the leadership is continually investing in equipment, techniques, and processes, striving to continually drive value for its clients now and perpetually drive value into the future.

It is not just the equipment that makes a difference.  The long-term continuous leadership also allows for purposeful shaping of the team environment.  The Lodi Iron leadership sculpts its culture to ensure everyone is working toward the common goals of the business and everyone is always looking out for the best interests of the customer.

The strategy of Lodi Iron Works appears to be paying off as the company continues to grow.  While every year more foundries close their doors, Lodi Iron Works is hiring to keep up with demand.  As Lodi Iron Works continues to focus on what drives value for clients, clients have shown their appreciation by keeping the foundry busy with new orders.

In House Machining

Lodi Iron Works does its own machining and grinding using state of the art CNC machines and robotic grinding.  There is no need to take your work to a separate machining house and there is no worry about finger pointing because Lodi Iron Works can control the quality of the part from raw iron to finished machine casting.  Machining in house helps Lodi Iron Works focus on best practices for every step of the casting process to keep overall costs down and quality high.

Why a New 500lb furnace?

In an age where “bigger is better” seems to be an axiom, why would Lodi Iron Works invest in a new 500lb furnace?  The answer…only a small furnace can cost effectively handle micro-pours for times you need to cast only a few small parts with specialty alloys.  This is an age of mass customization and the smaller furnace allows Lodi Iron Works to be nimble in order to better meet your specific needs quickly and cost effectively.

An Embrace of Lean Manufacturing

Continuous Improvement in now a mantra at Lodi Iron Works to eliminate waste (muda) and to always search how to add value to clients.  Lodi Iron Works strives for quality at the source.  Quality can begin long before the first mold is made.  The engineers at Lodi Iron can provide design assistance on new projects to ensure the casting can be consistently manufactured at the desired quality, engineering out as much unnecessary cost as possible.

The best part about Lodi Iron’s embrace of Lean Manufacturing is you know the company will not wait to step up to the next level.  You already know that they will still be a viable supplier 5, 10, 20 years from now as they stay on the cutting edge of foundries in the United States.

ISO 9001 Certified Foundry

Lodi Iron Works uses its ISO audits to ensure its Quality Management System delivers quality at or above the high expectations of today’s manufacturers.  You can view their current ISO certificate here.

The team in Lodi goes beyond just their ISO certification.  If you are looking to buy parts to MIL-I-45208A, SAE, AISI, ASTM, or ASM standards and specifications, Lodi Iron Works has you covered.  If you have components with restricted export rules, Lodi Iron Works is also experienced working with DDTC or ITAR regulations, giving you the peace of mind you are in good hands every step of the way.

Where Lodi Iron Works Really Shines

When you are engineering or reengineering a component, the sooner you get in touch with Lodi Iron Works, the better off you will be.  With both the engineering expertise and the in-house experience, they have what you need to ensure the design of your part to meets your form, fit, and function requirements without introducing any waste into the casting and machining processes.  This means your part will have the best design from the very beginning without analyzing it for cost reductions tomorrow.

Since Lodi Iron Works continuously strives for perfection, they can handle the complicated patterns and difficult cores others may struggle with while producing your parts.  In today’s tight lead times you cannot to afford to have someone cast your parts two or three times to get them right, therefore Lodi Iron Works is always a great choice for precision castings.

What Does the Lodi Iron Works Team like About Meehanite®?

Meehanite® provides world-wide recognition and an assurance of quality for current and potential clients.  Lodi Iron Works was recently able to attract clients as far away as Brazil because they cast certified Meehanite® parts.

Knowing the foundry is visited twice a year to ensure Meehanite® precision processes are followed to keep the certification, customers also have a short cut, knowing you will get the best iron castings available every time.  Meehanite® castings have always been excellent because of excellent elongations, high strength, and superb wear resistance.

Interested in Learning More About Lodi Iron Works?

You can learn more about Lodi Iron Works at their website or give them a call to learn how they can meet your casting needs.  Be sure to ask the Lodi Iron team specifically how Meehanite® castings can improve your quality at a favorable cost to bring more to your bottom line.