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Material Handling: Go With Flow


Every metalcasting facility is unique, but a department-by-department examination may highlight ways to improve operations and reduce costs. A MODERN CASTING STAFF REPORT


mega facility with volumes in the millions, the question of modern- ization is not an “if ” but a “when.” Machinery fails. Maintenance gives way to replacement. Upgrades need to be made. Projects can be as simple as swap- ping out an old welding machine for a new one. Tey also can involve many more moving parts, such as a new molding line, which requires engineering and logistical planning far more advanced than simply stick- ing a plug in the wall. Every improve- ment project requires planning and engineering to ensure it fits into the broader facility-wide material flow and handling. Misplaced equipment or poorly designed material flow can increase labor, safety risks and costs—inef- ficiencies that may be avoided by rethinking the facility’s layout. Making changes in addition to a specific instal- lation will increase the cost of that project, but that one-time cost, ideally, would be recovered by eliminating daily cost increases related to unneces- sary material handling procedures. If a metalcaster misses an opportunity to improve the flow of material, the


N 34 | MODERN CASTING October 2015


o matter the size of a metalcasting operation, whether it’s a small, family-run shop or a


bottleneck in handling and flow will be a drain on profits that continues until the proper action is taken.


Foundry Layout Design considerations for met-


alcasting equipment are different for every plant, but almost every site needs to consider available square footage, building size and configuration, place- ment of existing equipment and the relationships between departments. “A lot of existing installations have been put together over years


and generations, where one thing is added here and another there,” said Wil Tinker, president, Tinker Omega Mfg. LLC, Springfield, Ohio. “Each project for existing facilities is one that balances pri- mary objectives with what’s possible within a project’s budget.” Ideally, the layout between


melting, molding, coreroom and cleaning-finishing departments should provide a continuous process flow from the material entering the plant, through each department


Minimizing the distance from melting to pouring operations can reduce energy consumption.


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