http://www.albarrie.com/albarrie-environmental-services/dust-collector-maintenance-services/

Castings Equip Amazing Work in Chile

Metalcaster, Supplier to Metalcasters

Astronomers from all over the world share resources in the Atacama desert of Chile, the driest place on the planet. Its lack of airborne water vapor is among the factors that make this region one of the best places for telescopes to view the night sky, and it is home to many of them. VLT

MUSE instrumentation on the Very Large Telescope The technology employed by the European Southern Observatory at Paranal is under continuous development. A telescope dubbed the VLT (for “very large”) uses cryogenics, lasers and other specialized equipment to enable unprecedented feats of astronomy.

New metal castings on the VLT include two 3D print-enabled components. Using a printed thermoplastic pattern, German firm voxeljet AG produced a complex, investment cast sensor arm for use with the telescope’s MUSE instrumentation. Metalcaster ACTech GmbH investment cast a ductile iron “spacer” component using a laser sintered pattern.A team of astronomers prepares to begin MUSE Science Verification observations as the new instrumentation debuts.

The MUSE instrumentation is on its second generation, recently installed on the VLT, which has now undergone a series of successful tests performed to ensure its operation. "It enables us to see a greater field, allowing the study of multiple objects at one time," explained Cristian Esparza, VLT telescope and instrument operator. The culmination of approximately 10 years of research and development, MUSE exponentially increases the VLT users' ability to study everything from black holes to entire galaxies.

Check out the view from the VLT site in this video.
The VLT is moved into position as the night’s work begins.


Mr. Prucha Goes to Washington

Metalcaster, Supplier to Metalcasters

President Obama hosted a group of manufacturing representatives at the White House, yesterday, including the American Foundry Society’s Tom Prucha, vice president of technical services. president 022014(Thanks Katie Matticks, AFS technical and information services coordinator, for the headline!)

The event detailed new steps to advance manufacturing in the U.S., strengthen defense and create jobs. Four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes connecting business with research universities facilitate those efforts, and more of the sites are coming.

“We know these manufacturing hubs have the potential to fundamentally change the way we build things here in America,” said President Obama.

AFS plays a significant role in many of the technologies he discussed, including research and development in metals and the products those alloys are used to manufacture. The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, Canton, Mich., is focused on the application of innovative lightweight metal production and component manufacturing technologies. "The AFS will champion the role of the metalcasting industry as a key metals manufacturing sector in this effort," said Prucha. AFS also will participate in other hubs of the national manufacturing innovation network.

View President Obama's speech at: www.whitehouse.gov/video

black sabbathAnd here are some details you probably already know that pertain to the secret project he mentioned about three minutes in: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZJPYo-YUkA


Metalcasting in the Movies

Metalcaster

Industrial processes show up often in the entertainment industry, and metalcasting is no exception.hobbit

Peter Jackson provides some good examples in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and most recently in the second installment of The Hobbit—The Desolation of Smaug.  [Warning: spoilers]  It includes a fully fledged foundry in highly animated action, with dragon-lit forges melting untold tons of gold to produce a gigantic cast statue of a dwarf.  As it is being poured, exiled king Thorin Oakenshield rides a wheelbarrow down a rushing canal of molten metal (at 1,948 F or more), proving you can’t make that believable no matter how moody you look while doing it.  

What are your favorite examples of metalcasting in the movies?  Email dkapel@afsinc.org or comment below.  


GM Quality Goals Touch Casting Suppliers

Metalcaster

Alicia Boler-Davis, senior v.p. of global quality and customer experience for General Motors, presented the automaker’s latest initiatives to the Motor Press Guild in Los Angeles, this month. Among the topics discussed was the latest drive for “no defects” in GM products.

Liability for recalls that result from flawed components is being shifted to part suppliers, as we reported this summer. (See “GM to Recoup Recall Costs from Suppliers.”) Boler-Davis’ comments shed some light on the subject.

GMAliciaBolerDavis“We’ve developed a plan to improve the ‘Built-in-Quality’ levels at our plants around the world,” she said, “working not only in-house with our product design, engineering and manufacturing teams but also with our suppliers. … We’re changing our mindset. We’re looking for longer-term partnerships with our very best suppliers based on higher levels of collaboration and cooperation.”

GM is introducing a Supplier Quality Excellence Award. The company also will be training suppliers’ development engineers on the company’s quality tools, techniques and terms. An initiative called “Strategic Sourcing” will engage top suppliers earlier in the vehicle production process.

“We gain better access to new technology, the suppliers get a longer-term contract with GM and the result is better technology, better quality and lower overall costs over the long term,” Boler-Davis said.

The overall impact on casting suppliers remains to be seen as GM reaches for its goal to provide the best customer experience in the industry.


Metalcasting Pride on Display

Metalcaster

eaglemural3

This summer, a team of Muskegon, Mich., artists dubbed “The Walldogs,” Jay Allen, Robert Valadez and Nancy Bennett, were commissioned to paint a mural downtown celebrating local working people. The city evolved over time from a lumber town into manufacturing, with a long history of metalcasting.

“Muskegon Proud,” is painted on the side of the Russell Block Building on West Western Ave., in the busiest part of town. The 12 x 20-ft. mural took less than a week to complete.  It was designed and mostly funded by local steel casting company Eagle Alloy Inc.’s Mark Fazakerley and John Workman, co-owners of the Muskegon, Mich.-based Eagle Group Foundries.eaglemural2

Mayor Steve Gawron commented to Mlive.com, “This piece of art is such a magnificent representation. I’m a blue-collar boy from a blue-collar town. … The desire to work hard and make a living is alive and well in Muskegon.”

Fazakerley has been involved with multiple renovation projects in the downtown area over the years, helping to repair and/or replace cast lamp posts, fences and fountains.
eaglemural1


Honk if You Love Castings

Metalcaster

ftfasilsmI was given an up-close tour of my car’s brake assemblies the other day.  It gave me a new reason to appreciate metalcasting professionals—and professional mechanics, one of whom said I’m lucky to be alive.

I took that as a joke.

But, for the sake of argument, it’s all thanks to the quality and performance of the brake rotors, wheel bearings and calipers that were dutifully clinging to their last moments of serviceable use. After more than 10 years on mean city streets, bad brake lines were the culprit. The brake drums merely needed to be remachined, no doubt thanks to the quality standards of the metalcaster who supplied them.  You saved me a few hundred, and possibly much more.  

I frequent a reputable shop, and I’ll take their word on that.


Keep Those Home Fires Burning

Metalcaster

backyardmetalcasting.com

Here’s an entertaining website for those who love metalcasting and just don’t get enough of it at work: backyardmetalcasting.com

DIY hobbyists can try small-scale casting techniques in their own backyards (and at their own risk).  Some of the casting equipment projects featured include flowerpot and coffee can furnaces, a mini iron melting cupola, homemade refractories and aluminum flask building. 

Have fun and don’t forget to wear your safety gear!


Sparking Creation Through Castings

Continuing Education/Training, Metalcaster

In an industry that is constantly conscious of its reputation, it’s nice to see when events in metalcasting appear in national, large-scale news outlets. Even nicer when the event involves the younger generation sparking interest as future casters. The icing on the cake: an AFS Chapter picking up on that spark and working to keep it going.

Recently, Calera High School Engineering Academy pre-engineering teacher Brian Copes was chosen by PEOPLE Magazine as one of five teachers of the year, for the spark he’s ignited among his students. In the classroom, Copes inspires his students to create. Under his direction, they created prosthetic legs from used car parts and even traveled to Honduras to fit amputees with the legs. Another trip is in the works for this summer. Check out PEOPLE Magazine’s article and video on Brian Copes! (begins at 3:24).

The AFS Birmingham Chapter also recently donated a metalcasting kit (Foundry-in-a-Box) to Calera High School, providing students with everything from safety equipment and melting units to crucibles and patterns. Working with local metalcasting facilities, these students have already designed and produced their own castings. With their Foundry-in-a-Box, students can work through each part of the metalcasting process in the comfort of their own classroom.

A big pat on the back to Brian Copes and the AFS Birmingham Chapter for rising above and helping to mold the future generation of metalcasters.



Aces for Missouri S&T

Casting Buyer, Metalcaster, Supplier to Metalcasters

The Metallurgical Lab at Missouri University of Science & Technology, Rolla, Mo., is staffed with qualified, knowledgeable Missouri S&T graduate students as trainers and mentors.  They ensure safe, continued operation of the lab facility, which enhances the hands-on education of those pursuing degrees in Metallurgical Engineering.  

The St. Louis Chapter of the American Foundry Society recently donated $10,000 to the Robert Wolf Foundry Account at Missouri S&T, to support the lab’s continued staffing and operation.  The funds were raised through private donations and supplements from the AFS treasury.  In addition, AFS member organizations contributed by sponsoring holes at the First Annual AFS/Rolla Alumni Golf Tournament held June 1.

“The St. Louis AFS Chapter is pleased to make this contribution to ensure the future talent of our industry personnel, and looks forward to future opportunities to support the endeavors of Missouri University of Science & Technology,” said Tom Rhoads, chairman.

The chapter presented the donation at a joint meeting with Missouri S&T on September 20.  Pictured (l. to r.):  Doug Imrie, Southern Cast; Von Richards, Missouri S&T; Tom Rhoads, American Railcar; Barry Craig, MetalTek; Bill Howells, St. Louis AFS board member.


Made in Bodine

Metalcaster

2012 Toyota Camry

Reading St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s article on Bodine Aluminum’s 100th anniversary reminded me of my visit to the aluminum casting facility in Troy, Mo., a few years ago.

Like the story highlights, one of the biggest impressions the plant left me with was its open, organized and informed culture on the shop floor. The place was clean and uncluttered. Plant statistics and performance charts were prominently displayed and updated.  It was my first real look at a true, lean metalcasting facility, thanks largely to its connection with Toyota. And I was impressed.

The visit also drove home a point many consumers still miss. Toyota is a Japanese company, but many of its cars on the road in the U.S. were produced domestically. Cars.com’s list of the 10 most America-made cars includes three Toyota models (the Camry, Sienna, and Tundra) and two Honda models (the Accord and Pilot), along with the Ford F-150, Chevy Traverse, Jeep Liberty, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.

While the argument can be made that foreign-based companies should lose a few “made-in-America” points since their headquarters and many R&D establishments are not based in the U.S., many of the manufacturing and casting jobs are based here and that puts a lot of Americans to work.


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