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Are you nuts?

This past June, MODERN CASTING posed the following web site question: "If you are not currently using modeling/solidification software on all new jobs, why not?"

While we pose a web site question each month on a variety of technical and management topics, the answers to this one struck me as unbelievable.


* 25.71%--Repetitive jobs/simple gating system so it is not necessary.

* 14.29%--Manpower/skills are lacking to utilize it regularly.

* 17.14%--Technology is lacking to utilize it regularly.

* 42.86%--Cost is too prohibitive.

While the first response is one I can readily understand and agree with because every metalcaster has simple work or families of parts that are simple and/or similar to run, the level of responses to the last three items leave me baffled.

Basically, 75% of respondents said that they don't use casting process modeling/simulation software on all new jobs because of cost. Whether this cost is related to a lack of manpower, insufficient skills or technical efficiency, a lack of computer technology, or all of the above, three-quarters of those who responded don't see the benefit to casting process modeling. ARE YOU NUTS? Except for a few simple and/or similar castings, there isn't a new job your facility could be bringing to production that wouldn't benefit from a run through casting process modeling/ solidification software.

Let's forget for a moment about the hard costs of scrapped castings, such as melt energy and manpower, that are wasted every time a casting isn't manufactured correctly or the cost of reworking tooling when trial and error methods are used to finalize casting designs and gating systems. How about the costs that aren't so hard, such as consistent quality, on-time delivery, speed-to-market, scheduling accuracy and producing a cast component right the first time?

When metalcasters dismiss casting process modeling because of the cost of technology and/or software, the truth is that they haven't done their homework. Systems of all shapes and sizes are available for those with deep pockets and those that aren't so deep. While the less expensive systems aren't able to model as much or as detailed as the more expensive systems, they still provide a framework for eliminating potential errors and defects.

In our August 2004 issue of MODERN CASTING, we ran a feature article, "Keeping Up With Process Simulation Technology," that outlined seven different software packages and case history data where they saved costs for their customers. Did you take a good look at any of these technologies as a way to improve your operation?

My point in this editorial does go beyond just casting process modeling

software. Two of the largest problems in our industry today relate to technology integration. The first is that we don't regularly reinvest in our facilities, especially with new and/or cutting edge technology. These technologies have to be proven to death before most metalcasters will even consider them.

Second, we are hesitant to invest in any technology or process that doesn't increase our mold or melt rate. Are we even considering the benefits of reduced scrap rates and more efficient time-to-market? In recent travels to metalcasting plants, I have heard them all lament the 8-10 week leadtimes being quoted to customers for new jobs. But are we doing anything to improve it? Are we streamlining pre-production to bring castings to the production process?

If you are still waiting for casting process modeling/simulation software to prove itself, I'd say that you are at least a decade behind the times. If you still argue that you can't justify the cost for the technology/manpower, I'd say that you haven't done a true time or cost analysis as to what this software can save your operation. The proof is in the success that every metalcaster using the technology has had.

Our industry is in the beginning of an upswing, so now is the time to seize our future. Don't hang back and wait for others to achieve success. Step up and grab it for yourself.
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Title Annotation:casting process modeling/simulation software
Author:Spada, Alfred T.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Previous Article:Question of the month.
Next Article:2004 presidential decision: who is best for the metalcasting industry?

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