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Clean, Safe,


American Foundry Group’s finishing department renovation greatly improved operations. NATHAN P. VANBECELAERE, MANUFACTURING ENGINEER, AND SERGIO CHAVEZ, GENERAL MANAGER, AMERICAN FOUNDRY GROUP, MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA, DIVISION


O


klahoma-based Ameri- can Foundry Group’s Muskogee Division


produces up to 2,200 tons in steel castings each year, primarily sup- plying the pump and valve industry. Te work ranges in size from 40 to 6,000 lbs. During the late summer and fall of 2012, the time was right to invest in a complete renovation of the cleaning and finishing department in Muskogee. Te ultimate goal of this conversion was to construct a facility that was clean, safe and productive, to aid in maximizing throughput in the finishing department while reducing lead times. Te approach also would support developing a more efficient workflow, as well as improving air quality, lighting and emissions removal to make for a more suitable work environment. American Foundry Group found it


necessary to overhaul this department because it was a source of poor quality, and it was negatively impacting deliv- ery dates due to inefficiencies. It also was becoming an unsafe environment in terms of injuries and air quality. The department was dealing


with compiled clusters of dissimilar castings due to the lack of space and material flow. Many of these cast- ings were stored in baskets outside of the cleaning room, leaving them outdoors. This could require cast- ings to return to shot blast multiple times before finishing. Also, there were too few cranes, which made it more difficult to maneuver cast-


ings about each station and to and from the work booths. These were air hoists that had a tendency to leak hydraulic oil over time. Quality was becoming a concern due to the lack of lighting and dissimilar alloys being grouped together. Figure 1 shows images of the previ-


ous working conditions and setup of the cleaning and finishing department. Images 1A and 1C display the condi- tion of the old arc/weld booths. Tese pictures reveal some of the air quality and lighting conditions of this depart- ment, as well. Image 1B shows the old grind booths. Image 1D is a look at the large floor grinding booths.


Productive Steel Finishing Engineering Development


Each booth was designed keeping in mind the balance between spacious and space efficient. Te weld and arc booths will see a wide variety of shapes and sizes of castings funnel through each day. To ensure the booths were designed to suppress emissions to their full potential, they needed to be upgraded in a way that would exceed air quality standards to meet that of the Department of Environmen- tal Quality (DEQ) for the state of Oklahoma. Improving air quality also makes for a much more appropriate work environment for the employees in and around this department.


Louvers were added to the weld booths to deflect sparks from and direct debris into the filters. January 2015 MODERN CASTING | 35


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