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Handling changes spells success in the '90s.

With its theme of "Quality Through Education," the 55th Annual AFS Wisconsin Regional Conference and Mini-Expo held February 13-14 drew 739 foundrymen to Milwaukee. Nearly 40 speakers discussed ways of coping with the changing times foundrymen face in conservation regulations, safety, new technology and quality.

Discussing CAD-CAM-CAE systems, John Wyatt, Kohler Co., addressed concerns with this new computer technology. Myths surrounding computer-aided technology have forced firms into believing they can't be competitive without it. Not so, according to Wyatt, who said the "rocks of reality" show that this new technology has made no widespread improvement in data integration, hasn't improved overall designs and, at the moment, draftsmen are the only ones benefiting from this technology.

Wyatt related the story of the archer who kept asking for more arrows in his unsuccessful attempts to hit the target. Wyatt said that all types of "arrows" have been developed for CAD in recent years, including features for drafting, design, surfacing, solids, parametric molding, etc., to assist engineers in design.

"No technology will do any good if we hold the bow backward," Wyatt said. "It must be implemented properly to hit the target." Wyatt suggested following concurrent engineering, managing engineering data, benchmarking, checking costs/benefits and training.

One area of computer technology coming into its own in the metalcasting industry is computer simulation. Lothar Kallien, Magma Foundry Technologies, described developments in simulation techniques for investigating the mold-filling sequence and the solidification history of steel castings.

In addition to describing simulation methods involving modular techniques, Kallien discussed the use of fluid flow programs to eliminate shrinkage defects in steel castings. "The application of newly developed filling and solidification simulation methods and easy-to-handle software codes shows that numerical simulation methods have become so powerful that they can be used in the foundry environment," said Kallien. New simulation methods also shorten lead times in putting a casting into production, he added.

New Technology

James Allen, Bar Code Resources, spoke on the benefits of installing bar code data collection technology in foundries. He said foundry officials will realize the amazing amount of time saved by bar coding, especially when searching for items.

"With bar codes, errors occur fewer than once in 35 million times," Allen said. "You'd have a better chance winning the lottery than finding an error."

Collecting data via bar codes provides information in machine-readable form and eliminates time-consuming paperwork and keyboarding. Current bar code data collection systems are a compilation of printers, standards, interface options, scanners and data collection devices technologies. Scanners now fit in pockets and new products will soon be available that can scan codes of up to 30 feet.

Allen said two types of collection systems are suitable for foundry use. Batch data collection systems are used for production recording and physical inventory counting. The RF linked data collection systems are used for receiving, putting away, picking, cycle inventory counting and shipping purposes. Foundry bar coding is growing in acceptance due to today's heat- and dirt-resistant labels, making it possible for use in harsh environments.

Waste Management

Covering steel foundry waste minimization and recycling was Robert Zayko, RMT, Inc. "The days when foundries filled up holes in the back of the plant and around town are gone," Zayko said. "With changing regulations and increasing costs, foundries must follow a number of options in waste control in order to survive."

According to Zayko, the key is knowing more about your waste than anyone else. If your foundry is illegally disposing waste, company officials face penalties--including potential jail sentences. "Officials must take direct responsibility," he said. "You can't say, 'Gee, I didn't know we were doing that' anymore."

Zayko also noted that there are "bounties" out on foundries that dump illegally, and citizens can cash in on over $10,000 by turning in violating foundries.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Foundry Society, Inc.
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Title Annotation:1992 American Foundrymen's Society Wisconsin Regional Conference
Author:Lessiter, Michael J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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Next Article:'Lifelong learning' - step 1.

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