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cast pieces, some of them often are not just right for Rowe’s facilities. And other times, work that was done in the past is no longer a good fi t. “We’ve increased our size ranges, our mold capacity and our melt capacity, and maybe now this job doesn’t fi t our foundry quite as well as it did ten years ago,” he explained.


T e key to ensuring a casting


is done right and produced at the optimal production cost and speed is communication with the metalcaster. “It’s very important that they have


a review to discuss all those initial parameters with their supplier, because they need to know that it fi ts the loca- tion where they’re putting it and to


understand why it fi ts. And the tool- ing requirements need to fi t,” Kuehnel said. “Sometimes a customer running a smaller job doesn’t have the capital to lay out in a foundry that requires extremely expensive tooling. So you’ve got other variables that need to be dis- cussed, going into the design phase.” Molding and coremaking are the


two biggest areas in the initial process of determining whether a job fi ts and where it can go, according to Kuehnel. If the original supplier’s core equip- ment is made for a specifi c brand of machine, moving a job from one metalcaster to another requires fi nding one with similar equipment. Other- wise, the buyer will incur additional costs for retooling the coreboxes. “We all say we can pour that cast-


ing. T at doesn’t necessarily mean that the pattern will fi t my molding line,” Kuehnel said. “T ere may be pattern adjustments that have to be made, or the tooling may have to be remounted so that it fi ts my molding equipment and the core equipment as well. It must be communicated in advance or else you will fi nd out once the move has been made. T en it’s too late, and people wonder why the right questions weren’t answered.”


Volume Opportunities, Obstacles


Many iron casters are ramping up


production to open up capacity. But it doesn’t necessarily solve the capacity challenge for all customers, particu- larly those buying low volumes. Benton Foundry, Benton, Pa.,


recently fi nished a fi ve-year expansion plan, reaching 275 tons of molding capacity per day, adding a customer learning center and revamping its sales and marketing focus. T e company is


@ 36 | METAL CASTING DESIGN & PURCHASING | Sept/Oct 2012


ONLINE RESOURCE


The American Foundry Society, Schaumburg, Ill., provides a directory of U.S. metalcasters, which visitors can search by process, alloy, casting weight and location. See metalcastingdesign.com.


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