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Elkem Metals Co credits 'teamwork' for new foundry inoculant system.

Elkem Metals Co Credits `Teamwork' for New Foundry Inoculant System

It was a team effort between the local union and management of Elkem Metal Co's Ashtabula, OH, plant that resulted in the development of a new system for producing fine-sized foundry inoculants, say Elkem officials.

Along with community support, the company was able to secure a grant through an Ohio program aimed at strengthening metals manufacturing in the state.

The system for producing controlled, fine-sized inoculants for production of cast iron was unveiled June 25 at the Ashtabula plant. The new sizes improve the efficiency and lower the cost of the inoculating process that improves the physical properties, including machinability or iron castings.

The new $1.1 million system was partially funded by a grant from the Ohio Steel Futures Program. The state of Ohio set up the program to encourage the installation of new technology that secures or increases employment in steel and steel-related industries. Elkem received a $156,000 grant from the program.

"We are grateful to the state of Ohio for recognizing that this system helps us compete for new business in the foundry industry," said Tim Todd, Ashtabula plant manager. "We also appreciate the help of the AFL-CIO and local leaders in the Ashtabula community whose letters and phone calls helped convince the state of the importance of the grant."

Ed Boardwine, Elkem's vice president/general manager, Ferrosilicon operations, credited the leadership of the plant's United Steelworkers union for spearheading the program that led to the grant.

"Receiving these grants is a competitive process," he said. "With the union's initiative and enormous community support, we were able to develop and build the system. This new product line will help us keep jobs at the plant by making us more competitive and enabling us to serve our customers better."

Elkem produces a range of inoculants that help prevent the formation of hard white iron in castings which can result in severe machining problems.

Typically, foundries add 3/8 in. inoculants to the molten metal in ladles to prevent the occurence of hard spots. The new fine-sized materials allow foundries to add inoculants to the molten metal stream as it enters the mold, according to Elkem. This technique improves the efficiency of an inoculant by reducing the material's tendency to fade when it is held too long before pouring.

"This system allows us to crush lump material directly to the extremely fine sizes needed by foundries for stream inoculation," Todd said. "Before this installation, both Elkem and its competitors screened out material for undersized product. This limits the amount you can produce. Our new system will allow us to meet the foreseeable needs of the foundry industry."

PHOTO : Demonstrating Elkem's new stream-inoculant sizing system are Ashtabula plant manager Tim Todd; Tony Pasanen, president of the local United Steelworkers; and Ed Boardwine, Elkem's vice president/general manager, Ferrosilicon.
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Title Annotation:Elkem Metals Co. develops new fine-sized inoculants for making cast iron
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Aug 1, 1990
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