Category Archives: Legacy Legends

McWane Pipe lives on at AB&I Foundry

After the recession in the 1990s, McWane made the difficult decision to close McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company (MCIP) located in Birmingham, Alabama. McWane divisions across the company were given the opportunity to transfer machinery/equipment from MCIP for use at their facility. We are pleased to report that MCIP’s Escher recuperator lives on at AB&I Foundry. It was a collaborative effort between McWane Corporate, AB&I and ECS of Birmingham, Alabama, to successfully dismantle and transfer the unit from Birmingham to AB&I in Oakland, California.

Working out the logistics for moving the recuperator from one side of the country to the other tested everyone’s patience. But Ruffner Page had given a clear directive − to get out to McWane Pipe and make it happen because reusing the unit was the right thing to do. And that’s exactly what they did.
During the recent winter shutdown, AB&I tackled the installation portion of the project. With some structural modifications to the cupola tower, AB&I was able to re-install the recuperator in the existing melt operations The recuperator weighs more than 74,000 pounds and is 65-feet long so they faced several challenges with the installation. The size and weight combined with the cupola tower structure meant AB&I had to rent the largest crane that Bigge Crane had to offer west of the Mississippi.

The unit was fired up a couple weeks ago and AB&I is seeing better than expected recovery temperatures throughout the melt system. The improvements will enhance the melt operation and reduce furnace operating costs by reusing waste exhaust heat from the cupola in the melt operation. The size of the unit will also provide system stability and will allow for those times when they need to push the melt rate to meet production requirements.

“It’s impressive that AB&I could take a large hot-blast recuperator unit, not originally designed for AB&I’s melt system, and make it work, while at the same time generating significant improvements to our efficiencies in the foundry,” said Kurt Winter, EVP of McWane Plumbing Group.

In this case AB&I was able to reuse a perfectly good piece of equipment in the operation with huge savings to the overall project costs, Utilizing internal resources through reuse or recycling is always a win-win situation. The life expectancy of the unit should be in the neighborhood of twenty years or more. This project is a perfect example of team work and collaboration between the divisions. Everyone benefits from the net result.

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Pat McNichols Receives McWane Ductile-Ohio’s ABCD Award for May

McWane Ductile-Ohio's Pat McNicholsOn the night of January 16, McWane Ductile-Ohio (MDO) team member Pat McNichols was shopping at the Dollar General store in West Lafayette, Ohio. There were only a couple of other shoppers in the store at the time, but Pat noticed a peculiar man at the register. The man was only buying a couple of items.

When the worker opened the register the man quickly reached across the counter and grabbed the money out of the register. The man ran for the exit door with the money but he wasn’t quick enough for Pat. Pat quickly jumped on the man’s back and they both went crashing through the door. Pat pinned the thief to the ground and grabbed a nearby shopping cart and put it on top of the thief while the Dollar General Assistant Manager called 911. Pat held the thief there until the police arrived.

When the MDO team heard about Pat’s heroic act, they knew he was the clear cut winner of the MDO Above and Beyond the Call of Duty (ABCD) award for May. Pat received a $100.00 gift card to Walmart from for his courageous efforts.

Great job, Pat!

M&H Valve Veterans Have Over 520 Years of Combined Experience

L to R: Tommy “Mr. Clean” Fielder (10/2/72), Terry Christjohn (11/15/73), James Hubbard (11/27/72), James Butterworth (5/24/72), Harry Christian (1/25/72), Dennis Turner (10/11/71), Larry Parker (8/21/72), Harold Westbrooks (5/30/73), Andy Higgins (7/10/73), Larry Joe “Chopper Joe” Mays (7/13/71), and Wilbur (Peter) Price (11/27/72). Not pictured are Glen Key (9/12/69) and Jack Williams (4/25/71).

L to R: Tommy “Mr. Clean” Fielder, Terry Christjohn, James Hubbard, James Butterworth, Harry Christian, Dennis Turner, Larry Parker, Harold Westbrooks, Andy Higgins, Larry Joe “Chopper Joe” Mays, and Wilbur (Peter) Price. Not pictured are Glen Key and Jack Williams.

In the recent issue of quarterly newsletter “The Valve Stem,” M&H Valve featured 13 team members that each had 40+ years of service for a combined experience of over 520 years! M&H observed that as time goes on, names and faces change and processes and developments continue to move forward to meet the ever changing and demanding times in which we live. Despite this, they did not want to forget the veteran team members with 40+ years of service that have contributed to the overall process and successful growth M&H now enjoys and will continue to experience in the future.

Over the years, the M&H team has gained a wealth of knowledge from team members that started work in the 1960s and 1970s while also experiencing some growing pains together. They all gained a great deal of experience which they are happy to share with the future generations joining the company in the future.

Individual Years of Service:

  • Tommy “Mr. Clean” Fielder (10/2/72) – 42 years
  • Terry Christjohn (11/15/73) – 41 years
  • James Hubbard (11/27/72) – 42 years
  • James Butterworth (5/24/72) – 42 years
  • Harry Christian (1/25/72) – 43 years
  • Dennis Turner (10/11/71) – 43 years
  • Larry Parker (8/21/72) – 42 years
  • Harold Westbrooks (5/30/73) – 41 years
  • Andy Higgins (7/10/73) – 41 years
  • Larry Joe “Chopper Joe” Mays (7/13/71) – 41 years
  • Wilbur (Peter) Price (11/27/72) – 42 years
  • Glen Key (9/12/69) – 45 years
  • Jack Williams (4/25/71) – 43 years

A great big THANK YOU to these seasoned veterans for their many years of service!