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Mechanization of Cleveland West facility bolsters Ashland's commitment to quality.

Modernization of Cleveland West Facility Bolsters Ashland's Commitment to Quality

State-of-the-art developments for controlling product consistency and quality are the newest features at Ashland Chemical Co's Cleveland West Facility. An expansion and modernization project at the facility resulted in a new reactor building that is fully integrated to control production from the charging of raw materials to the discharge of the finished project.

The new department was dedicated to Anton (Tony) Dorfmueller, Jr., retired group vice president of Ashland Chemical Co.

"We felt it was time to take advantage of new technologies available in resin production equipment," said Jim Sparks, vice president and general manager of Ashland's Foundry Products Div. "We designed the facility to be a state-of-the-art production unit to provide a higher quality and more consistent product for the foundry industry. The new facility has increased the efficiency of our operations.

"Because Tony Dorfmueller was so instrumental at Ashland with his contributions to the foundry industry as a whole, we felt it was appropriate that we honor him in a special way by dedicating the facility to him."

Jack Matson, plant manager at Cleveland West, said the new reactor department will enable Ashland to better serve its customers. "We are investing in the future by building the new department," he said.

The new department's asset is the computer system that allows full automation in production.

"The computer system finds raw materials in tank farms, weighs them into reactor vessels, prompts the operator, monitors process conditions and adjusts controls so the same reactions go on from batch to batch," Matson said. "The repetitiveness enables us to ensure consistency and quality of product."

Completed in the spring of 1989, the one-year construction project took eight months to design. Nash Tanagho, the senior project engineer for the Cleveland West facility project, said the 8000 sq ft reactor department in-house by Ashland Chemical's engineering team.

"The reactor department was designed to optimize plant production and workers' time, so we can utilize Ashland processes to be consistent and provide the best product," Tanagho said. "Safety features are built into the reactor's design. The layout enables ease of control and monitoring."

The facility was recognized as the exceptional construction project in the Cleveland area for 1989 by the Cleveland Builder's Exchange. The Exchange presented Ashland with its 1989 Craftsmanship Award.

Customers also have given the facility positive feedback on the accuracy and quality of products since the reactor was built. "Customers who have toured the facility are impressed," Matson said. "They say they have not seen anything like it. They are impressed with the skill of the engineering department in the design of the reactor as well as with the skill of those operating the equipment."

Sparks said the expansion came in response to the growing needs of the foundry industry. "We felt we would need the additional capacity in the years ahead due to the growing demand for our products in the industry," he said. The expansion can continue based on market demand, according to Tanagho.

"The design allows room for one additional reactor," Tanagho said. "We could expand without interruption to production or quality control."

With consistency and quality control as the focus of the new reactor department, Ashland Chemical appropriately dedicated the department to Dorfmueller.

"Tony was very instrumental in helping our division achieve the success it's had over the years," Matson said. "He only accepted a quality product delivered exactly when the customer expected it. His concept has been built into the fabric of the whole plant."

Sparks said Dorfmueller has been involved in the foundry industry worldwide for more than 30 years, and he has received many honors and awards from various industry organizations.

A pioneer in the modern foundry industry, Dorfmueller formerly served as president of the American Foundrymen's Society and as secretary of the Foundry Educational Foundation.

Dorfmueller joined Archer Daniels Midland in product sales in 1955. He moved through the company until he was named a vice president of the foundry products division in 1965. In 1987 Ashland Chemical acquired Archer Daniels Midland, and from that date Dorfmueller moved from vice president, International and Foundry Products divisions, to group vice president, worldwide operations. He retired in 1988 after 33 years with the company.

While he was at Ashland, Dorfmueller developed a business strategy that greatly expanded the Foundry Products Div's presence in the foundry chemicals market.

He also led the development of innovative mold and coremaking technologies which helped revolutionize the worldwide foundry industry.

With Dorfmueller's role in expanding foundry technology, it is only fitting that Cleveland West's state-of-the-art addition is dedicated to him.

PHOTO : This bronze and granite plaque stands in front of the new reactor building at Ashland Chemical Foundry Products Div's Cleveland West facility. The plaque honors the contributions former group vice president Anton Dorfmueller made to the company. The inscription says, in part: "He charted the course."

PHOTO : Elevated operating and service platform near the top of the two reactors.

PHOTO : Gary W. Felton, manager, special projects, operates the new reactor facility's distributive control system. All reactor processes are completely computer controlled.
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Title Annotation:Corporate Member Profile; Ashland Chemical Co.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:company profile
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Previous Article:Small foundry can gain efficiency by computerizing operations.
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