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The next challenge: change.

"You can't expect to do the same things and get different results. If you can't change something, you've got to learn to live with its problems. If you can't get rid of inclusions in your castings, you'd better find a way to convince your customers that they're nifty."

Consistent with the theme of "The Challenge to Change," consultant Roy Lobenhofer gave this advice to 763 foundry officials attending the 56th annual Wisconsin Regional Conference February 11-12 in Milwaukee.

Sponsored by the AFS Wisconsin Chapter in cooperation with the Northeast Wisconsin and Stateline chapters and the Universities of Wisconsin, the conference featured 36 speakers and drew a record number of 83 exposition booths.

Quality Improvement

Lobenhofer, Mt. Prospect, Illinois, explained the five steps to a successful quality improvement program. These steps involve recognizing the need to improve, making a change, identifying significant (specific) problems, developing solutions with the help of involved employees and auditing to make sure solutions are used.

The biggest step, he said, is seeing the need to improve--a step that has been ignored by many foundries. Using the boiled frog parable, he said, "If you put a frog into boiling water, he'll jump out. But if you put him in cold water and raise the temper one degree on the hour, he'll stay in there until he's dead. In the foundry industry, quality eroded and like the frog, we slipped." Seeing the need to improve, he suggested, careful examination of internal scrap and repairs, customer returns, on-time shipment performance and customers' perception of quality.

Stressing the importance of involving employees, Lobenhofer suggested putting together problem assessment teams of both salary and hourly workers and posting scrap reports every week to let workers know about problems.

"Auditing is not spying," he added. "You're evaluating how well you've taught your employees. If they're not using the solutions, management is not doing a good enough job."

Steel Can Charging

Carl Loper, Jr., University of Wisconsin-Madison, and William Powell, Waupaca Foundry, Inc., discussed the practical usage of steel can scrap sources for alloying gray and ductile cast irons.

"We're finding new sources of metal right in our backyards that for decades went to landfills," Powell said.

Three million tons of steel cans are produced every year for food and beverage in the U.S., and recycling across the board is rising. By 1995, Wisconsin will prohibit all steel cans from being dumped in landfills.

Powell said steel can scrap is a low alloy steel with lots of tin. Because the cans are sealed by crimping, there is no lead or solder. Collected at recycling centers, cans are shipped to foundries loosely, shredded or in bales. They tend to be relatively clean because the homeowner keeps them inside.

In a study on the cans' effects on gray cast irons, Loper discovered that tensile properties didn't change much. Tin helps eliminate ferrite for increased strength and hardness. While using tin scrap, lower strength irons are actually produced at higher strengths, without a change in hardness.

Loper said strength and hardness are improved when using cans up to 0.08% tin. With higher tin levels, however, strength is decreased. Ductility properties can be restored by annealing.

The biggest drawbacks at this point, Powell said, involve finding good can scrap. Problems include no clean channels of obtaining it, few loyalties in the scrap network and disorganized charge yards. He also noted that there's little quality control, and glass, plastics and paper in bales can cause a nuisance for foundries.

Need for ISO 9000?

Discussing the industry's hottest issue--ISO 9000, Ralph Teetor III, Foundry Quality Systems, Inc., South Beloit, Illinois, explained the standard doesn't look at the casting, but how you made the casting.

Talking about the standard's benefits, problems and future trends, Teetor answered the question, "Is there a need to do ISO 9000?"

"It's a question your customers and competitors will answer for you," he said.

Noting that ISO 9000 takes 1--1-1/2 years to implement, Teetor said if you don't think you need it, you must decide, "how much business am I willing to lose before I do?" At any rate, he said, a strong quality assurance system must be in shape.
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Title Annotation:AFS Wisconsin Regional Conference
Author:Lessiter, Michael J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:Program focuses on NAFTA, quality.
Next Article:CastExpo's Chicago.

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