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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2006
www.metals.rala.com.au 8 BRIEFINGS "Dean" of Philippine Foundrymen Professor John Hermes D. Bautista, a regular contributor to MCT, is considered by his contemporaries the "Dean of Philippine Foundrymen." He has received from the Philippine Metalcasting Association Inc, the national association of Philippine Foundrymen, an Award of Recognition for 50 years spent in a professional career pioneering new processes and projects involving the metalcasting and manufacturing industries. Most noteworthy of which was the production in the 1970s of the 4-cylinder gasoline engine, literally from scrap, for the Toyota Coronas and Hi-Luxes that his company assembled, effectively placing the Philippines second to Japan in manufacturing technology in that part of the world at the time. He has since retired but continues to teach Manufacturing Engineering courses in the Graduate School of the City University, Production Management courses in the Graduate School of a large private university. He is also the Technical Consultant of the Philippine Metalcasting Association, Inc., the national association of Philippine Metalcasters. He is presently listed in the Marquis Who's Who in Science and Engineering, 2005-06 (8th edition), a Marquis publication of the United States, as one of the world's highest achievers in the fields of science and engineering, and in the IBC Leading Educators of the World, 2005, an International Biographical Centre publication of England, as a noted and eminent professional in the field of education. Heat treatment strengthens high-pressure die castings High-pressure die--cast (HPDC) parts made of aluminium are now able to have their strength doubled through a novel heat treatment process invented by Australia's CSIRO Light Metals Flagship researchers. While heat treatment is commonly used to strengthen wrought and other cast aluminium parts, it has previously not been practical for high-pressure die castings. "Conventional heat treatment processes applied to HPDC components cause major blistering and distortion, that occurs when air bubbles trapped under pressure during casting expand as they are heated. This ruins the parts" says Dr Roger Lumley, leader of a Light Metals Flagship research team. "We have developed a heat treatment procedure that provides large strength improvements and an excellent surface finish, without blistering or distortion" he says. Trials at the CSIRO's laboratories have shown that the new heat treatments can at least double the strength of high- pressure die cast parts. This means parts need not be as heavy as they currently are to do the same task -- a factor that is particularly important in the automotive industry where lighter cars use less fuel and have lower greenhouse gas emissions. "A lot of these components are designed for their loads and basically the stronger the material, the lighter you can make the part," says Dr Lumley. "We would like to think that we could see a 30 per cent weight reduction compared to current aluminium castings". "The die casting industry is very, very cost sensitive, and if you can use less metal per car part, you also save money". "We've done trials on large batches of parts purchased from industry and developed treatments for those parts. That has gone really well. The trials show very few rejects due to heat treatment -- in a recent batch of 575 parts, only one per cent of the parts were rejected due to blistering." Dr Lumley says that while aluminium high pressure die casting worldwide is dominated by the automotive industry, other industries can use the new technique. Example applications include builders' nail gun casings, and even door handles. "Basically anything that requires cost effective mass production of fairly complex high strength aluminium castings can utilise this process," Dr Lumley says. Dr Lumley says the new process could halve the cost of producing high-strength parts, which previously could only be made by alternate, more expensive manufacturing processes. New Company Develops Proprietary Metal Granulation Technique A new UK company has been started to develop and grow products for the specialist blast abrasive market. Pulvis Technology has developed a proprietary technology for the granulation of ductile metal products. Metals can be cut down in to a variety of sizes and accurately classified using precise sieving techniques. The Pulvis technique is being used to produce high quality austenitic blast abrasive. This abrasive offers distinct advantages over its cast competitors because of its dense microstructure and cost effective production methods. Stainless steel media is fully reusable, is clean and does not stain/corrode target substrates like its carbon steel counterparts. These products are widely used by foundries, forges, fabricators, offshore installations and in architectural stone producers. Prof. John Hermes D. Bautista giving his acceptance speech after receiving an Award of Recognition from the Philippine Metalcasting Association, Inc., the national association of Philippine foundrymen.