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Practicing the fundamentals.

I recently picked up the game of golf. As a teenager, I caddied six days a week during the summer as a means to stay outside and earn money. However, I never became interested in the game itself.

Whenever I was asked to play, I usually gave an excuse about a lack of time or the high financial cost involved with playing. In reality, I knew my true disinterest in playing stemmed from my lack of skill.

As a caddie, I played at least once a week to hang out with my fellow workers. The problem was that I was horrible. I assumed, like basketball or baseball, I could just show up and play a respectable round of golf. I knew I wasn't Greg Norman, but my athletic ability would surely translate to a respectable level on the fairways and greens. As anyone who plays golf knows, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Golf is a game of fundamentals. To ensure a consistently good golf swing with quality results, a player must do all the little things right. This requires regular practice and attention to detail. As a teenager, I was much more into the "grip it and rip it" frame of mind than the analytical approach. Move ahead 20 years and my approach has changed.

I now appreciate attention to detail. I now know the importance of adhering to the fundamentals. I now find golf to be a challenge worth my attention, time and money. I still am not any good, but I appreciate the game and its intricacies and relish the challenge of overcoming them every time I step on the course.

This tale of my personal growth isn't meant to provide my psyche, but instead is a bridge to this issue's feature articles and the metalcasting fundamentals we are relaying to our audience.

On p. 26, our feature on green sand molding is a true return to the fundamentals as the article details some of the key steps metalcasters must follow to ensure proper green sand preparation for molding. While your typical production green sand shop will view this information as basic and not for the experienced metalcaster, I urge every green sand shop to use some of the details presented as a means to audit your sand preparation system.

If your shop falls in line with everything presented, then you can feel secure in knowing your system is fundamentally sound. If your operation is out of line with the framework presented, analyze the differences and justify why your shop does it the way it does. Maybe the alloys you pour require a different level of moisture. Maybe your core return sand is higher than the average so your shop requires greater new clay additions at the muller. Just be sure your shop hasn't altered the fundamentals of green sand preparation by mistake.

On p. 22, we profile an investment caster, Aristo Cast. When discussing the fundamentals of metalcasting, this firm's entrance into magnesium casting comes to mind. First the firm was looking at new markets for growth, so it began with market analysis 101. By analyzing its core strength (short runs and prototypes) and performing some market analysis for opportunities (magnesium automotive castings show an annual growth rate of 14% through 2014), Aristo Cast saw an opportunity for investment cast magnesium prototypes that substitute for die castings while the hard tooling is being manufactured.

But was it technically feasible? Again, the firm turned to basic R&D techniques by reviewing past documentation and performing trial-and-error procedures to determine how and why others have failed and what the key to success was. Aristo Cast was able to find that key and add a new niche to its capabilities.

Is metalcasting an easy process to master? No, of course not. But, like golf, its intricacies are all made up of fundamentals that must be performed properly. Whether these fundamentals are tied to the casting process or management and marketing, we must respect and adhere to the details to ensure continued growth and success.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Spada, Alfred T.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Aug 1, 2005
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