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Computers changing the face of patternmaking.

Patternmaking gradually has changed in the last half century, but this is nothing compared with the impact that the computer has made on the industry.

According to L. Phipps, Phipps Patterns, Inc., Decatur, Illinois, CAD/CAM has arrived not only for the larger shops but for small patternmakers as well. His presentation contended that the computer is the greatest tool ever added to the patternmaker's workplace.

Phipps painted a gloomy picture for status-quo patternmaking, adding that shops resisting the trend to greater accuracy and faster pattern turnaround will go out of business.

He cautioned that computers and related machinery and equipment must be selected carefully with due regard for customer interface, system costs and operational expenses. Phipps also listed several advantages for upgrading, what each computerized system can do and the extent of added expenses.

Quality took center stage in the presentation by J. Krejci, Navistar International, Melrose Park, Illinois, who made a strong case for close-tolerance tooling and the use of the coordinate measuring machine (CMM) as an essential foundry patternmaking tool.

He discussed the many quality control, engineering and production advantages of CMM--a computerized layout machine that includes reverse engineering, part dimensioning and verification, production process control and data creation of a proposed part.

The pattern shop in 2000 was the subject of E. Hamilton, Rainhart Co., Austin, Texas. He predicted the following: wood--there will be far less used as it gives way to alternate plastic materials; chemicals--applications will escalate as familiarity and availability increase; adhesives--new synthetics will obsolete most current glues; accuracy--stricter dimensional requirements will dictate closer tolerances than possible with many of today's hand-held tools; inspection--dollars spent on inspecting patterns might better be spent on precision pattern tooling; precision machinery--its use will be essential as availability and versatility improve.

Attracting first-class young minds will be the key to the needs of 21st-century patternmakers--and that means educational improvement made possible largely through the efforts of the Foundry Educational Foundation, Hamilton said.

His advocacy of improved education for patternmakers was echoed by W. Gabelhausen, Caterpillar, Inc. Gabelhausen said upgrading patternmakers' training is vital for America to stay competitive in today's global market.

He cited India as devoting enormous resources to train patternmakers to keep up with that nation's foundry expansion. The U.S. must do the same to assure a place in the global foundry market, Gabelhausen warned.
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Title Annotation:96th AFS Casting Congress Milwaukee; automation
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Previous Article:Technology continues to evolve.
Next Article:Computer modeling leads topics.

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