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facilities, expert buyers suggest asking: • What type of castings do they do best?


• What are other designers and purchasers saying about them?


When you’ve narrowed your Ask your supplier the right questions up front to ensure the casting comes out as planned.


ized, the more information presented up front, the better the chances of the pro- cess running smoothly. When the cast- ing needs are fi nalized, the procurement strategy can be developed. According to purchasing experts, your strategy should


include the following objectives: • Quality and performance requirements for the cast component, including the end-use and importance of the component in the end-use.


• Quantity of components and potential for future need.


• T e total cost of the project, including ideal and maximum budget.


A schedule for the working


relationship also should be part of the plan. Include benchmarks in the schedule to keep the metalcaster and yourself focused and moving along. Clearly defi ne communication as part of the working relationship. Both par- ties should have contact information for everyone involved in the project.


2. Contact potential suppliers, gather information & request quotations.


Once the casting and procurement


strategies are defi ned, start searching for a metalcasting facility. Do your research. T e key points to consider are the type of metal, casting process and component weight necessary for your casting. To help narrow potential casters, look into casting association guides. You may not want to return to


• A clearly-defi ned timeframe for the project, including some leeway for unforeseen obstacles.


the same facility time and time again. Consider previous suppliers, but also the possibility of a new supplier. Your current caster also may be able to refer you to a supplier that is better able to fi t your needs. Look into facilities that specialize in the type of casting you require. When searching for metalcasting


search to a handful of facilities, the next step is to make contact with the potential casters. This is a great opportunity to tour each facility. Reference a supplier checklist to be sure the supplier is up to standard. Check for green light signals of a


good operation during the visit: • Strong sales fi gures. • Shop fl oor has work in place and machines are busy.


• What does their background say about them?


• Plant tour is open and questions are answered easily and comfortably.


• Walkways are clear and work- places are tidy.


• Workers are using safety equipment.


It’s important to have the groundwork laid before your castings are ready to be shipped. 40 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | Mar/Apr 2012


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