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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2005
his will be my last contribution as Chair of the NCMC, so I guess it gives me the authority to reminisce a little. I will still contribute to this great Australian magazine in the future, so the industry will still have to put up with me, albeit my comments will more likely be from the sideline. It will give me the opportunity to talk about some of the more interesting traits of human beings, a subject about which I have a great affinity. One of the areas of my involvement in the Cast Metals Industry that I came to really appreciate was the number of "real" and grounded human beings involved, and I believe there is a reason for this. I can think of no other industry that is faced with so many process variables, many of which cannot be understood by our two -- dimensional view of them. There is no other single process where one has to first make the material using many naturally occurring and varying ingredients before one begins to process and finish the basic product. Plastic component production is probably the closest, however its raw materials are well evolved, consistent and refined before they are shaped into a product. In a world that does not like surprises, the Cast metals Industry is famous for delivering them, and with it a great dose of humility often comes to the people involved, big egos are shredded, and the resulting humility is the seeding platform for "real" people. How many times has a foundry-man (Cast metals man just does not sound right!) thought a job was well under control with a great deal of successful batches under their belt, only to be faced with a reject rate on the next batch that makes one weak in the knees? Naturally, this usually occurs immediately after one bragged how well the job was going, and the two-dimensional control parameters can all look fine, as it is the unseen and unknown synergies that still keeps the Industry in "the art" and not total science. To keep the people perspective in balance, there are still people in the Industry who only see the negative and threats, and having served 40 short years in this intensely interesting Industry, I have heard all these comments made historically over and over again during this period. It is so important that these mindsets be exchanged for something more positive, but grounded in reality so the challenges, and there are plenty of them with Globalisation, are met head on. Technology is advancing rapidly, and I firmly believe a truly three-dimensional understanding of the processes is not that far away, with the maturing development of expert computer systems. These systems now well developed in the fields of Medicine and crop disease diagnosis and they must soon have practical application in the Cast Metals Industry. This will allow the Industry to understand the three dimensional synergy of variables and move closer to science and the resulting improved process control. I look forward to catching up with everyone at the "Molten Engineering" Conference at Penrith, please help the organizers by finalizing your registration (something I am yet to do). Keep smiling, Doug Harland CHAIRMAN, National Cast Metals Council of Australia NATIONAL CAST METALS COUNCIL -- CHAIRMAN'S REPORT Some not so final words! By Doug Harland, National Cast Metals Council Doug Harland T 6 www.metals.rala.com.au