When Olson Aluminum was looking to expand, it sent out a team to visit metalcasting facilities using the equipment and technologies it was considering installing in its facility in Rockford, Ill. The ability to see the equipment in a production environment helped Olson Aluminum’s staff visualize how to set up their own new molding operation.
In nearly every conversation I’ve had with metalcasters who recently expanded or made a significant capital investment, visits to other foundries were key to making their purchasing decisions. Sometimes it’s tough to let others in to sniff around your operation—there’s uneasiness in sharing solutions you feel give you an advantage over your competitors. But sharing is needed to advance the industry and put everyone in a better position to make money.
One related foundry story has stuck with me over the past several years. With less than a year as foundry manager under his belt, Kevin Leffew was tasked with researching and facilitating the installment of a complete new stainless steel nobake line at Urschel Laboratories’ captive facility. He grabbed the Casting Source Directory and started cold calling metalcasters pouring stainless steel to ask them for advice. Lucky for him, the advice came pouring in.
“I found this industry is the absolute best for quality people,” Leffew said back in 2007.
Take a look at the Foundry and Diecaster group forum on LinkedIn. The advice, industry experiences, and offers of help abound.
The metalcasting industry is full of knowledgeable individuals who understand sharing solutions and ideas doesn’t make their company weaker, but it does make the industry stronger. Are you planning on a major investment, having trouble with process control, or trying to decide on a mold cooling method? Ask your peers. And if you have insight that can help advance your fellow casters—share it.
--by Shannon Wetzel, digital managing editor
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