The following students were accompanied by parent volunteers Marlin Stief and Mark Berding and teacher Lori Fordyce; Parker Berding, Nate Fowler, Zane Young, Nick Benningsdorf, Brett Walker, Marshall Stief, Alex Maurer, and Alec Shultz. The group began studying engines when they were in 5th grade but found out they could not visit the foundry until they were at least 13 years old.
The foundry is where it all begins. The John Deere Foundry in Waterloo produces gray and ductile iron castings for much of the John Deere equipment, with an emphasis on castings for the 7000, 8000, and 9000 series tractors. The foundry processes include making sand cores, sand molds, melting and pouring iron, and cleaning castings.
The group first viewed a Power Point presentation of the foundry, then dressed in safety clothing including metal shoe covers, fire suits, helmets, goggles, fire-resistant gloves and remote headsets. Andy Austin and Guy Mitchell, John Deere Foundry specialists, were the guides, and told the group a lot of interesting information. They saw liquid iron being poured; in order to be melted, it gets as hot as 2800 degrees.
Appreciation of the staff and employees of John Deere for taking time out of their busy day to show the students how this amazing place works was expressed by Fordyce and the students. "It's one thing to read about it and see pictures of it, but it becomes real when we see it operating in person," said Fordyce.