Welcome to our annual Plant Engineering issue of Modern Casting. This is the third year in a row we have published an October issue dedicated to examining ways metalcasters can and are re-engineering their facilities to enhance production and improve efficiencies.
As manufacturers, this is your goal every day. Increase output. Eliminate waste. Increase revenue. Decrease cost. Bolster profit. In a perfect world, you would achieve these improvements without spending a dime. In reality, your facility must balance the investments in time, equipment, materials and technology with the projected enhancement in productivity to ensure a sufficient payback.
The features in this issue provide ideas focused on both technology and process advancement.
- In “Fall River Foundry Packs One-Two Punch,” this metalcaster saw an opportunity to fill a void for its customers by broadening its production capabilities with a new automatic molding line for 0.25-2 lb. nonferrous castings. “Being a job shop, flexibility is obviously something we prioritize,” said Brennen Weigel, Fall River’s president and CEO. “We wanted to broaden our capabilities, so we could meet more of our customers’ demands. We saw a real need for this new automatic mold line.”
- The feature “Material Handling: Go With Flow,” focuses on optimizing plant performance by ensuring equipment installations are executed with the consideration of how they affect the entire plant’s operation. “If a metalcaster misses an opportunity to improve the flow of materials, the bottleneck in handling and flow will be a drain on profits that continues until the proper action is taken.”
- “Flexibility, Automation in Small Metalcasting Facilities” looks at two case studies of metalcasters that utilized automation solutions to ensure consistency and repeatability. “Changing operating conditions are forcing firms to be flexible in handling variations in demand and product and uncertainty and changes in the environment. Such factors have affected manufacturing companies for a long time, but their influence has escalated during the past 20 years as a result of advances in manufacturing technology and demand for mass customization.”
As your metalcasting facility considers ways to improve efficiencies and advance production, look to the advice of the experts quoted in this issue and the case studies that are showcased. The challenge for our industry in the future will require every plant to maximize production from limited resources to ensure competiveness in the global economy.