Meeting focuses on foundry concerns.
This is the opinion of Ray Wit, president of CMI International, Inc., a speaker at the East Coast Regional Conference (Lancaster, Pennsylvania, October4-6).
Witt contends that existing and future environmental regulations are the greatest threat to foundries because other countries will not follow the U.S. environmental lead. He cited the proposed 99% reduction in auto emissions and the 40 mpg floor for cars now gaining congressional support. According to Witt, these proposals will have a ripple effect that will further damage foundry business prospects, cripple domestic car producers and favor foreign car imports.
GM now sells 10 cars per employee compared to 45 for Toyota. GM will have a third fewer employees by 1995. Asia, generally, and Japan, in particular, is where America's real competitive challenge lays. Most European foundries can't really compete here, but Japan, through its peculiar management style, its import restrictions and its aggressive sales here in our open marketplace, poses the greatest long-term threat to the foundry industry," he said.
Can U.S. foundries compete? According to Witt, they can, but to do so effectively requires seeking niche markets, improved customer communications and technical expertise and constant efforts to improve product and processes.
"If an unproductive Congress is a good Congress, we've had a damned good Congress,' quipped Walter Kiplinger, AFS vice president for government affairs, who added that a crisis-oriented legislature appears reluctant to go home out of fear of its constituents.
He said that all politics are local, and asked the conference attendees to get involved politically in their states as a sure means of making industry problems visible to politicians at all levels.
Nonnan Patterson, George Fischer Foundry Systems vice president, discussed foundry equipment markets and developments and reported that there has been a precipitous decline in the number of North American foundry equipment manufacturers over the last decade. For instance, he said, Germany is now a paramount supplier of mold machinery, Spain is a top producer of coremaking equipment and Poland is a leader in flask production. Similarly, he reported that the Japanese have vigorously pursued jolt-squeeze and vertical flaskless molding and they offer a two-station machine with an 18 sec cycle.
Patterson also appealed for a faster U.S. conversion to the metric system, noting that this country is one of only three not using the system, the others being Burma and Liberia.
Frequent wax room problems encountered in investment casting patterns and their solutions were covered by John Argueso, vice president of M. Argueso & Co. His presentation included wax handling during wax meltdown, conditioning and injection stages. Temperature control, melting procedures, melting tank configuration and agitation were treated separately, since each contributes significantly to final casting dimension and surface finish
Richard Rohe, general manager of Hartley Engineered Control Systems, reported on advances in the use of programmable logic controllers (PLCS) to monitor more precisely the many variables in a green sand system. According to Rohe, PLCS greatly enhance sand conditioning to a point far beyond that possible with older electro-mechanical sand controllers. He said that older systems could guarantee +/- 0.25 moisture, whereas newer PLC systems lower this to +/-01 to yield superior sand compactibility.
The quality of purchased foundry materials was addressed by Peter Meyst, member services manager of the iron Casting Research Institute. He said that scrap standards were developed nearly a half century ago and now are obsolete in terms of today's locally available scrap mixes. Scrap, Meyst pointed out, is not a manufactured product with all of the built-in safeguards that implies, but the castings made from it are approaching quality levels normally associated with aircraft castings.
He listed the scrap quality characteristics that are quantifiable (gross contamination, cleanliness, environmental contaminants, density and safety) and identified the two scrap grades as industrial (premium mix of steel and some castings), and obsolete scrap, a classification that contains virtually everything else.
Among the many technical presentations was one by Gene Muratore, QIT Fer et Titane, Inc., who discussed the efficiency of effective gating systems required for ductile iron. His advice: pour fast, pour clean and use an economical gating system that utilizes space simply and symmetrically. This, he said, will minimize temperature loss and inoculant fade, limit oxidation in the gating system, reduce turbulence and subsequent slag development. Other factors affected by gating design are pour basin and sprue well configurations and placement, pouring time/rate, determination of choke area and the application of efficient gate and sprue runner systems.
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|Author:||Kanicki, David P.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1992|
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