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Carley Foundry’s customized stopper-rod pouring automatically draws aluminum from below the melt’s surface in the holding furnace, then transports it to the permanent mold machine for pouring.

throughout its permanent mold shop. In another area of the facility, a bottleneck was jamming operations at the bake-out oven, which burns core resin off castings. After a group of castings were baked in the furnace, the parts would have to be dug out of a pile of burnt-off sand, which made changeovers slow. Carley Foundry’s engineers incorporated holes on the casting shelf through which the sand could fall. The sand is then carried to dumping hoppers via a conveyor, leaving the castings as easy picking from the oven. The core department features

robotic core dipping and trimming equipment also designed by Carley Foundry’s engineers. “We were making these particular

cores for Honda that were complicated and had so many places to trim,” Oeh- rlein said. “We were doing it manually with a high error rate.” One market-ready solution was trim-

the time, the pouring system was only available when incorporated with a robot. Carley Foundry was interested, but adding robots throughout the shop would have been a signifi cant cost. The metalcaster’s engineers worked on fi nding a less expensive way to apply the stopper-rod pouring to its casting operations. “We thought maybe we could use it

with our own manipulator,” Oehrlein said. “Eventually, we hooked it up to a smart bridge crane system so it could travel much further.” While a robot might have a reach of

10 ft., Carley Foundry’s bridge crane system can transport the stopper-rod crucible 30 to 40 ft. A single stopper-rod crucible on the bridge crane also can draw metal from several furnaces and feed a handful of machines. Carley Foundry began installing

the automated pouring devices six years ago and now operates fi ve

Visit www.moderncasting. com to view additional photos of Carley Foundry’s operations.

MODERN CASTING / January 2011

ming with a diamond stylus in a 2-axis machine for cutting templates and parting lines, but the complex core still would need to be set in the machine in different positions for complete trim- ming. Carley Foundry’s engineering staff was familiar with robotic technology and the use of multiple axes and worked with a vendor to create a 3-axis solution that

made it possible to trim a core with one single position on the tool.

Growth After Recovery In 2009, orders from Carley Found-

ry’s largest customer began drying up when the company faced fi nancial diffi culties. The loss coincided with another customer making a planned move of all of its manufacturing back to Japan. That year, the metalcaster’s business dropped 40%. Carley Foundry, like most metalcast-

ing facilities, leaned heavily on its sales team to bring in new business, which has been an integral part of its identity. “We aggressively go after new proj-

ects,” Carley said. “We do a lot of new tooling, and as new people join the company, they are surprised by the diverse processes we do.” By 2010, Carley Foundry recovered

to 15% below its peak in 2008, which Carley attributes to gaining new cus- tomers, as well as seeing existing cus- tomer orders picking up. “We have a good customer base and

have been able to diversify,” he said. “If we are busy in one place and slow in another, we can shift workers over.” Currently, no single customer,

which includes companies in the aero- space, medical and military markets, accounts for more than 10% of Carley Foundry’s business. The company is near what it was at its peak before the recession, and Carley is exploring the value in adding more space and equipment for potential new sales. He has 12 engineers to keep busy. MC

Carley Foundry’s engineers designed a robotic core-trimming system to reduce the amount of scrapped cores that resulted from manual trimming.


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