The Buck Company
Casting solutions since 1951
Business View Magazine interviews representatives of the Buck Company, as part of our focus on the American metals and foundry sector.
Over 65 years, Buck Company, a foundry located in Quarryville in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has offered a unique experience for customers of both ferrous and non-ferrous sand castings. Sited on 54 acres of land with 220,000 square feet of manufacturing space, Buck’s 300 employees serve 400+ customers in 41 states and Canada.
Recently, Business View Magazine spoke with Executive Vice President, Jim Kundratic, and Senior Vice President of Operations, Denny Basham, to learn more about the company’s operations. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
BVM: Can you talk about the history of the Buck Company?
Kundratic: “Dixon Group purchased Buck Iron, a small malleable iron foundry, in 1951. At the time, the foundry produced light and medium-weight malleable iron castings until a non-ferrous foundry was added in 1953. This expanded the product lines to include brass, bronze, and aluminum used for marine and other market sectors. That gave us two foundries under one roof.
“In 1970, we added grey and ductile iron castings to compliment the successful malleable product lines. Automated molding lines were adopted in the 1980s, automated core manufacturing equipment was installed in the 1990s, and CNC machining was added to offer customers turn key solutions in the early 2000s. In 1999, Buck received ISO9000 certification and we are currently ISO9001:2015-certified. This certification is important to us because it recognizes our commitment to continuous improvement and our ability to consistently produce products that meet our customers’ needs.”
BVM: Who are your clients?
Kundratic: “As a jobbing foundry, we make castings for a lot of different industries including but not exclusive to oil and gas, railroad, agriculture, marine, construction, and mining.”
BVM: Can you talk about the company’s operations and capabilities?
Basham: “Something that makes us unique is that we have both a ferrous foundry and a non-ferrous foundry. We pour aluminum, brass, malleable iron, and ductile iron under one roof in two separate foundries.
“In the ferrous foundry, we use five 6-ton induction furnaces to melt scrap steel to create ductile and malleable iron. We have a melt capacity of 200 tons of iron a day. From there we pour the molten iron into molds ranging from 14”x19” and 20”x24” in size using our seven automatic molding machines.
“In the non-ferrous foundry we are outfitted with nine induction furnaces, ranging from 500lb to 3,000lb capacity; three 2,300lb resistance furnaces and four 1,500lb electric resistance furnaces. Furnaces in our non-ferrous foundry provide a daily melt capacity of 20 tons of aluminum and brass combined. We have three automatic molding lines, one 14”x19” and two 20”x24” in our non-ferrous foundry.
“We have an on-site pattern shop consisting of CNC machines, that give us the ability to build some of our own tooling, where other foundries do not. Our engineering department has the ability, using our solidification software, to predict the way metal flows into the mold whether it is iron, aluminum, or brass. We also recently added a 3D scanner which can reverse-engineer parts and inspect dimensions on castings well as patterns. This helps us compare an actual casting to a 3D model which is typically supplied by a customer.”
BVM: What characteristics give the Buck Company a competitive advantage?
Kundratic: “We are a casting solution for a customer from beginning to end with the ability to make their products in multiple alloys. We believe our commitment to improve processes and practices have given Buck a competitive advantage.”
BVM: Any new expansions or upgrades on the horizon?
Basham: “We will be one of the few jobbing iron foundries with auto-pouring capabilities. A new molding unit in the ferrous foundry will be accompanied by a new automatic pouring system instead of the traditional manual pouring system. With the unemployment rates so low the auto-pour will help reduce labor demands and employee turnover. The new line will be operational first quarter of 2020. We are planning to install more auto-pouring units on other molding lines in the near future.
“Our finishing areas are being redesigned to increase throughput and reduce labor. Trim presses and automatic grinders are some of the new additions. The trim press will trim off excess material which otherwise would have to be ground, and the automatic grinders will help eliminate the need to manual grind a casting”
BVM: Does the company support any “green” or sustainable initiatives?
Kundratic: “Recycling is at the core of our business. For example, Buck buys scrap steel and melts it into iron to make our castings, the foundation of all our products. We routinely participate in power reduction programs to minimize our electricity footprint.”
BVM: Why would someone want to work for Buck Company?
Kundratic: “The employee experience is just as much a part of our continuous improvement as are our production processes. Recent improvements have focused on air quality, ambient temperature, and new lighting, all to create a more comfortable and productive environment for our employees.
We welcome employee input into our processes. Buck shares the mission, vision, and values of our parent company, The Dixon Group. Among these is a commitment to promoting the six pillars of character: respect, responsibility, caring, citizenship, trustworthiness, and fairness.”
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AT A GLANCE
WHO: The Buck Company
WHAT: A foundry that fabricates ferrous and non-ferrous sand castings
WHERE: The borough of Quarryville in Lancaster County, PA