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Continuous Improvements, Cost Savings at McConway & Torley


Substantial cost savings can be achieved by a proper work culture where all the departments work towards the common objective. SAMRAT KOMARAGIRI AND OHANNES MANGOYAN, MCCONWAY & TORLEY, PITTSBURGH


M


cConway & Torley LLC (Pittsburgh) is as old as the American railroad


industry itself. Te facility in Pittsburgh has an


expansive history, one of more than 130 years. Tis plant began rebuild- ing in the late 1970s. Modernization occurred on a yearly basis. Investments to address some of


the critical issues in coremaking and molding practices were added on the budget and now, things are moving fast. Generally, the older the company,


the larger the extent of improvement needed. Te first challenge is updat- ing the technology. Following closely behind is having a skillful workforce. In terms of technology adoption, metalcasting facilities are perhaps the slowest of all the industries, partly attributed to the demand from the markets that buy its products. As a railroad facility, McConway & Torley tends to react to the same production pace and quality requirement specified by the governing organization, such as changes to the allowable centerline shrinkage or chemistry requirements. Tat being said, when a product


does not change in years, there are some hidden advantages: 1. Pouring a single grade of steel is


less problematic. 2. Fewer heat treat recipes and more consistency in the process is


34 | MODERN CASTING October 2016


achieved, giving the flexibility of implementing new practices, say, in the molding or pattern shop. 3. Small variations are easily notice- able in the cleaning room. 4. Te plant has better control over


scrap and revert utilization. On the other hand, when a prod-


uct/process does not change in years, disadvantages abound: 1. Te mindset of the employees


becomes stagnant unless new technol- ogy comes along. 2. Treating training programs in


an “out of sight, out of mind” manner with no real dedication of time and attention to the problems is not the answer in the face of changing tech- nology and adversity. 3. Rapid employee turnaround


into different departments, leads to assumptions on the learning curve of an employee. 4. Cosmetic touch-up to parts


are given more importance than real soundness of the casting. 5. A barrier to communication/


Table 1. Rate of Increase Corresponding Time


12:15 12:16 12:19 12:25 12:42 1:36


' Time (min) 0 1 4


10 27 76


cooperation exists due to a false sense of product knowledge.


Notable Improvements and Results Prior to implementing continu-


ous improvement projects in the heat treat area, the heating rates were not being controlled accurately (Fig. 1). As a consequence of this uncontrolled heating rate, temperature unifor- mity across different sections of the casting was compromised. For the section thickness size of the parts that McConway & Torley currently produces, this rate would mean the center sections would not achieve the temperature that the outside sections would as quickly, resulting in quench cracks. Tis effect is even more pro- nounced in winter months. To overcome this problem, the heat


treat cycles were modified in such a way that there is now two soaking times, shown in Figure 2, before sub- sequent quenching operation. Te first holding cycle ensures the thick section also attains the same temperature as


Temperature (oF) 337 395 625 995


1216 1668


Rate of Increase (oF/hr) 0


3480 4320 3948 1953 1051


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