Signs of the Time
What started out as primarily a manufacturer of investment cast metal signs (hence the name: "Sign-I-Cast") has grown into one of the world's most innovative manufacturers of investment castings of all shapes and sizes – not to mention a wide variety of metal alloys.
Founded in 1959 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the investment casting company really started to take off in 1968 when it was purchased by Bill and Dorothy Lewis. In 1972 they moved the company to one of its present sites, the Brown Deer Industrial Park where they built the first new Signicast plant. In the 1970s, they brought on the management team of Bob Schuemann (1973), Terry Lutz (1974), and Jim Capadona (1978). This team continued to manage the company upon Bill Lewis's death in 1978, and bought the company from the Lewis family in 1981.
Rapid expansions at the Milwaukee location completed in 1974, '75, '78, '84, '85, '88, '89, and '90, convinced the new owners that the company needed a new way of looking at investment casting. While customers loved the quality provided by investment casting, long lead times and high prices took some of the luster off the process. Armed with information obtained from an extensive customer survey, Lutz and the management team developed and implemented a whole new investment casting philosophy based on the principles of Continuous Flow Manufacturing (CFM).
This new approach necessitated and led to the construction of an all-new facility in Hartford, Wisconsin, which began operations in 1993. From the very beginning, this facility was designed for expansion, and by early 1994 it was already clear that a second manufacturing module would soon be needed. A "support module" – which contained offices as well as additional fabrication space – became operational in January 1995.
In late 1996, the company broke ground on a second dedicated manufacturing module in Hartford, which was completed in November 1997. Subsequent additions became operational in 2000 (Module 5 and an addition to the Support Module), and 2003 (Module 3). Module 4, the latest addition to our Hartford facility, began shipping parts in 2006.