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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2007
92 www.metals.rala.com.au Back to the -- is after the truth and anyone reporting a result as accurate, when it is known not to be, is guilty of a lie. Then again there is the Casting Inspector who wants analyses altered to pass the specifications; this is obviously so dishonorable that it needs no more than a mention in passing. Yet the temptation to the young chemist is great, especially when urged so to do by the Foreman or the Superintendent. It takes real courage for an employee or the Company itself to risk the loss of a large tonnage of scrap castings rather than "adjust" a simple chemical or physical certificate, yet in the long run, that Company which adheres to an honorable attitude, despite temporary set-backs or losses, will establish the better business. Metallurgical Section. The Metallurgist has, to some extent, similar difficulties as the Chemist, but, because he is not so secluded, it is perhaps a fact that the temptations are not quite so great or so frequent. The work of the Metallurgist is more in the open; the whole foundry can see the results of what he does. Nevertheless, let us take a case of a large casting made under his direction; it is found to have shrinkage spots by the risers, because the pouring temperature was incorrect. Whom shall the Metallurgist blame? He himself decided on the pouring temperature, or the Molder who, he might say, made the risers wrongly? Possibly only the Metallurgist knew that the trouble was caused by the wrong pouring temperature, yet in common fairness he must take the blame and not seek to transfer it to other shoulders. THE INSPECTION DEPARTMENT Let us now turn to the matter of inspection. This should be welcomed by both Supplier and Purchaser of castings alike, but to be of any value it must be unbiased and independent. This applies equally to inspectors inside or outside the producing company. If a professional inspection company is employed and paid for certain independent tests upon which to base their acceptance or rejection of the product, then such tests should actually be made by them (the inspection company) at their own charges. It is not honorable to take figures provided by the manufacturer alone, no matter how high a reputation he may enjoy, except in special cases where it is so understood by all three parties concerned, namely, the buyer, the inspection company, and the supplier, that such figures are acceptable. The uprightness of the inspection company is involved in the matter of unfair discrimination as between two or more manufacturers whereby a lower standard is accepted from the company that is specially favored, to the detriment of those actually maintaining the standards specified. Regarding this matter of inspection, it does not imply that it must be mechanical, using only the actual letter of the specifications, but rather that -- so it be done honestly -- there may be some latitude on the part of the competent inspector in making minor adjustments in the specifications with full agreement of all concerned. OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT Over all these activities we may expect to have a Vice- President of Operations. On him lies the chief responsibility for setting a high standard of honesty and integrity, and this is not by memos or by words, but by example. Nothing is really believed until it is embodied and manifested in the daily life of the man. This man is the one to whom the President looks for presentation of the whole picture of the manufacturing end of the business and unless his reports are unbiased and factual, unless the President can have faith in them because he has faith in the man presenting them, many an injustice may be done either to individuals or the Company. It is for him to determine that justice is done to all with malice towards none. ACTUAL EXPERIENCE In the many years that this writer has operated four foundries: (a) a jobbing foundry servicing a shipyard producing all types of metal castings for ships from cast iron and steel equipment parts to bronze ship propellers, (b) a production foundry producing refrigerator and air- conditioning compressors and round-head domestic sewing machines, and making jobbing castings for various equipment parts, (c) a jobbing ferrous foundry producing cast iron, low-alloy and high-alloy steel parts for mills, and lastly (d) a production foundry producing automotive 4- cylinder gasoline engine blocks and cylinder heads, he has come to realize that the most important single factor in the production of metal castings is the integrity of the workforce. No amount of high technology could sufficiently overcome the value of this integrity. It has been his experience that when he instituted a strict monitoring and feed-back system focusing on the "honesty" of the people actually doing the work in his fourth foundry, which was highly mechanized using the green-sand-mold and shell-core process and induction melting, the rejection rate was effectively halved. The previous 5% rejection rate was quite acceptable to top management as the established standard rejection rate for such castings was about 5-6% in the company's major foreign partner's own foundry. However, the monitoring system this writer instituted on operations, focusing on personnel integrity, produced a 2.5% rejection rate after six months which became the norm thereafter for this type of castings. Fantastic, but true! ●