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As the vacuum is held on the mold for V-process, the loose sand grains (held between two thin lay- ers of plastic film) are rigid and reflect the face of the pattern.


and foremost,” Ingram said. “Ten we attacked the guts of production.”


Unique Molding A&B is a sand casting facility.


Its greatest tonnage emanates from the nobake department, which pro- duces castings up to 5,000 lbs. The facility employs green sand molding on squeezers (10% of production is green sand) for a few low running aluminum jobs, for its copper-base business, and to produce chills for the aluminum nobake and V-process molding operations. Tis V-process line (for more


information on the V-process, see the sidebar, “V-Process Molding?”) is a difference maker for A&B. One of only a handful in operation in the U.S., V-process is a unique vacuum molding technology that allows metalcasters to pour zero draft castings with exceptional surface finishes and inexpensive tooling. Tis inexpensive tooling allows it to become an option for low production runs and prototype components. Zero draft appeals to designers that like the


In the preparation of a pattern for V-process, the plastic film already has been drawn to the pattern face as the gating aids are applied.


90-degree angles of fabrications. While the V-process has been


installed at A&B since the 1980s, the facility under-utilized the process. “Te molding loop previously served as a storage bench as much as anything else,” said Dave Somers, Plant Super- visor. But with the re-evaluation of assets under new ownership, coupled with the drive to separate A&B from the competition, this molding process becomes a potential crown jewel when marketing casting capabilities.


“For many metalcasters, investment in unique capital equipment to dif- ferentiate from the competition can be a non-starter, especially for a firm our size,” said Vik Sahni, General Man- ager of Operations. “We are fortunate to already have this game changer in place. Now we have to maximize our efficiencies and sell it.” Ingram believes the focus on


streamlining production has begun to maximize molding efficiencies in both the V-process and nobake areas of the


December 2012 MODERN CASTING | 33


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