|Cast Products, Inc.
Getting Ready for the New Millennium
When Mike Medlen, Vice President and General Manager of Cast Products, Inc. of Athens, Alabama wanted to expand and improve the firms foundry production operations, he and a group of his employees went to the Cast-Expo trade show in Philadelphia for ideas. One of the products they found that could meet their molding requirements was the new FBO Flaskless Molding Machine produced by Roberts-Sinto Corporation of Lansing, Michigan. According to Medlen, "Flexibility in mold production, lower scrap rates and precision quality of the castings were key factors in the selection process."
"We installed Robert-Sinto's FBO 20" x 24" Flaskless Molding Machine about 3 months ago and the installation was a breeze. We are now producing about 100 molds per hour. Our cycle time is 31 to 33 seconds per mold depending on the mold parts and we are running 1 to 22 parts per mold. This is the production rate we had as a goal when we purchased the machine so naturally we are very pleased."
Flexibility in Casting Production Very Important
Medlen continued, "Cast Products is very unique in the way we operate... we are not a job shop. We design and produce our own products. This includes product engineering, pattern design and production, casting production, testing, assembly and shipping. To support this operation we have nearly 100 employees and we handle almost everything in-house. We have our own pattern design department to produce tooling for our castings as well as tooling for rubber and plastic components. Our automated CNC equipment is used for precision machining our castings. We produce many multi-component assemblies that include a series of aluminum castings with the addition of rubber, plastic, glass or other materials. We market our own products through an in-house field sales force and distributors located throughout the United States."FBO Cuts Scrap by 50%
Bill Walker, Foundry Manager commented, "The quality of the mirror finish products that we produce for our customers is very critical. Even a speck will scrap the part. For this reason, it was important that the FBO had to improve the cosmetic quality of our parts to reduce scrap. The quality of the FBO castings is now so superior that it has reduced flashing problems, improved surface quality and cut our scarp rate by about 50%".Operator Training
Walker said, "The FBO is very simple to operate and I've found we can train a new operator in one day which covers all the basics of the machine. The self diagnostics on the touch screen make it very easy to learn. To date we have trained four operators." Pattern Conversion... No Problem
Walker continued, "Because we have our own pattern shop in-house we can also quickly produce patterns to a customer's order when necessary. The other machines we have include patterns such as 13" x 13", 14" x 14" and 16" x 16". We have been able to convert these patterns to Roberts-Sinto's FBO 20" x 24" with no problems. To date we have converted about 20% of our existing patterns. I've been in the foundry business for over 30 years and I have to say the FBO is one of the best flaskless molding machines I've ever seen." Production Doubled with 50% Less Labor
Medlen said, "One of the things that surprised me was the production results of the FBO. Our sales were up 38% so it was really important that the FBO enabled us to double our production. We were able to accomplish this with 50% fewer people in the foundry department. This helps keep us competitive in our market."Practically No Spill Sand
Medlen continued, "We were planning on adding to our sand screening operation to support the higher volume of the new FBO."
"Then we found out we didn't need it, plus we could even cut down on our existing sand screen operation. I feel the elimination of the use of bottom boards was also an improvement in the design of the mold handling process of the FBO."New Innovative Equipment Paves the Way for Growth
Basil Wheeler, President of Cast Products said, "We have expanded our foundry operation with new equipment including new electric furnaces in both foundry buildings, a new mold handling line that we designed and built in-house and of course the new FBO 20" x 24". When Mike suggested the new FBO, I was skeptical at first. I had one bad experience with automated molding equipment but I have to say the FBO has performed admirably. I have been very impressed with the smoothness of operation. It has produced cleaner castings then I would have thought possible."