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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2006
METAL Casting Technologies March 2006 51 THE REAL PERCEPTION The beers were now really starting to clear Fred's thinking and perception of what's really going on here. Maybe it's because of the heat, noise, dirt and smells which has prompted the protagonists to suggest we stop using the word FOUNDRY. Maybe if we dropped the word (foundry), the heat, noise, dirt and smell will go away. It's already been tried, and didn't work. In the 70's the RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Foundry School) changed its name to the 'George Thompson School of Metallurgy' in an attempt to 'socially clean up the image' of the FOUNDRY industry. The name change didn't have any affect, except that the whole place eventually shut up shop for good. Well let's have a closer look at those 'socially unacceptable' points. WHO NEEDS TO BE EDUCATED? If we listed all the jobs that 'Smell, Dirt, Heat and Noise' apply to, and changed their names, there would be mass confusion. What would we call a Circus for example? If an industry has an 'image' problem, then the industry has to 'educate it out of itself' and demonstrate to the rest of the world that their perception is incorrect. Changing the name won't change the basic structure. The S.S.TITANIC would have sunk even if it had been called the S.S.BATHTUB because the basic structure needed attention. Conversely the same applies, as according to William Shakespeare 'a rose is a rose and smells like a rose, and by any other name is still a rose. FOUNDRY -- HIGH SOCIAL STANDING Some of the world's greatest heroes and social giants have come from the foundry industry. Isambard Brunel is considered one of, if not the greatest, engineer of all time, who was finally laid to rest in a cast iron coffin of his own design. Brunel was a great advocate for cast iron in engineering design in the 1800's during the European industrial revolution. He designed the 'S.S. Great Britain', which was unique as an iron clad, steam driven passenger liner, more than twice the size of any ship in the world at the time. Brunel claimed that the FOUNDRY industry at Coalbrookdale UK. was the engineering centre of the world. Joseph Benedict Chifley son of a foundry blacksmith, and with no academic education, became one of Australia's best loved and remembered Prime Ministers of Australia 1945 - 1949. Initially he was a steam train driver from country NSW and was well acquainted with foundries and the engineering maintenance department of the NSW railways. Ben Chifley maintained his clear thinking and ability to work under stress and relate to all classes of society was due to his early days in the driving and maintenance of locomotives. ANYHOW -- WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? The problem is, there is no problem. Foundries (generally) don't have a problem with casting quality. Foundries (generally) don't have a problem with productivity meeting customer requirements. Foundries, if there is a problem, it's to do with the ENVIRONMENT - WORKING CONDITIONS. This can easily be fixed by spending MONEY, investing CAPITAL, putting PROFITS back into the business. SHOCK, HORROR & REALITY Shock, Horror, Blasphemy, wash your mouth out I hear all the foundry owners say. Money is the stuff profits are made of. It buys cars for salesmen and bigger cars for managers and pays taxes and wages. MONEY is the reason you are in business, and if you can't find some profit to spend on the ENVIRONMENT of your activities, then you probably shouldn't be in the foundry business. THE ANSWER!!!! In 1968 the NSW Department of Occupational Health (pre EPA) introduced rulings on acceptable maximum noise levels for industry. New plant and equipment and soundproofing insulation were progressively adopted by industry to comply. The foundry industry has not achieved the lower noise results that others have. About the same era, the NSW Government also invoked the Dust Diseases Act which spruiked many affected industries to clean up their operations. A notable one under fire was the timber processing manufacturers with fine sawdust and shavings in the workplace. As a result it is now rare to visit cabinet makers, furniture manufacturers, door makers or patternmakers and have to walk through a cloud of airborne dust in the workplace. They invested in their future and the future of the industry. WHAT DO WE DO NOW? If there is any project that the AFI state and National bodies should be looking into for the short and long term future of the FOUNDRY industry, then this is it. An education programme (including Politicians) to clean up the industry and the name FOUNDRY will look after itself. Fred the foundryman had run out of beer, so he went home.● Isambard Brunel