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northwestern foundries\' \'survival tips\' for the 21st century.

by:QY Precision      2019-12-14
In the round table discussion, four foundry workers detail the path that the foundry must follow in responding to offshore competition and the requirements of its customers and regulators.
The success of any foundry in the 21 st century will depend on its ability to adapt to change.
Whether the industry is facing a shortage of overseas competition, regulations or Labor, The Foundry needs to evaluate its environment and develop solutions to provide its operations with the opportunity to produce high-quality castings at competitive prices.
To gain an insight into how the North West region foundry works to ensure growth and survival, Hyundai Foundry held a round table discussion at the AFS Northwest Region conference in Tacoma, Washington.
The round table was attended by Brad Van der Linde, Pacific MAKO Operations Manager (
Pacific bronze Co. , Ltd. )
Langley, BC, Canada; Cameron D.
Girton, molding and melting manager, Spokane steel foundry (
Spokane industries
Spokane, Washington;
Ron DeFrancisco, maintenance manager, Columbia Steel Foundry
Portland, Oregon;
And Stephen Morel, general manager of the Ballard model and brass foundry in Seattle.
The northwest region of the industry is different from the rest of North America due to the size and customer base of its plant.
Although 80% of the population in the United States
According to the foundry source catalogue, the US foundry employs less than 100 workers, and 90% of the foundry in the Northwest employs less than 100 workers.
Coupled with the fact that the area has little to do with the automotive industry, the production of the North West foundry is usually low and efficient --oriented.
This round table discussion revolves around two issues. -
Overseas competition and government regulations-
This is the biggest obstacle that the region must overcome in the coming years.
Here are the ideas of the round table participants on these issues.
According to de Francisco, the overseas competitors of the Northwest Foundry are China.
\"Unfortunately we are in the Pacific rim, so China is in our back door,\" he said . \".
\"Compared with Mexico or South America, we feel much more pressure from China.
More complicated, in terms of overseas casting goods dumped on our land, we have not received any help from the government.
With the casting price that Chinese foundry can offer, the job competition is very fierce.
Their prices make up for the lack of quality.
\"According to van der Lind, the North West Foundry has no quality advantage to hang the baton for longer.
\"The problem for us is that the quality problem is just a short-lived problem --
He said: \"The advantage of tenure.
\"Chinese foundry will improve their process and production. Then, U. S.
Canadian foundry will have to find a new way to differentiate itself.
Participants at the Round Table said: \"In order to make yourself different, domestic foundry must improve its operations and services.
Gerton compared the current competitive situation with the post-80 s recession.
\"We all survived in our own way,\" Girton said . \".
\"After the 80 s, we were lucky not to be cut by half due to the decline in oil market and rail vehicle production.
Our advantage is to pursue work actively.
Although it is said that cost accounting is not important.
Many foundries price their castings
The pound base, a commodity, is contrary to the added value of that part.
By focusing on added value, we know what is the loser and what is the winner, and we can adjust the price accordingly.
Although we have lost some jobs, we know that we will not break down the factory or run it at a loss.
This is part of the survival technology that we still have today.
Girton also stressed that Spokane steel focused on the lead time to meet the expectations of customers.
\"We are working to deliver the castings to our customer assembly line faster,\" he said . \".
\"If you look at most manufacturing industries, small companies are betting that they have the ability to beat the competition in the market, except for the high output of the car manufacturing industry.
We feel like we can get into it and have a better connection with the end
Users of casting.
So we will be in line with the overall plan of our customers to be successful and avoid competition ---
Foreign or domestic.
\"According to van der Lind, the success of Pacific MAKO lies in providing value --
\"We added a CNC machine tool workshop, three machining centers and a steering center to our factory,\" he said . \".
\"If you want to attract customers, you need to sell him as much as you can.
We can process, paint, inspect and subassemble-
The house, if needed, will send out the parts of the powder coating.
Whatever the customer needs.
Not much here, so once you have one, you want to keep them as much as you can.
\"One example is the casting of the safety system.
\"It was purchased from overseas to China (
After the success of Pacific MAKO)
Because the price is lower, \"said Van der Lind.
\"However, a year later, it was returned to us because of the low quality.
We offer a full range of products for casting, grinding, machining, powder coating and packaging.
In addition, we are closer to our customers and can better serve them.
\"The idea of further advancing customer service is the solution provided by DeFrancisco and the work being done by Columbia Steel Engineers.
According to DeFrancisco, the biggest advantage of the foundry in overseas competition is to approach customers.
As a result, a lot of manual work was carried out in his Foundryholding.
\"We send our people to solve the customer\'s problems on site and design our products around this problem,\" he said . \".
\"For the mining and aggregation industry, the castings it offers will last longer and provide more hours of work.
Van der Lind said: \"The bottom line for success in competition with foreign countries is to take care of your own business.
\"You have to make a perfect class a product.
If you don\'t make top products
Gap the product and make a profit from it, then you \'d better close the door now and go out as much as you can.
To improve production, quality and ergonomics, we have built a new foundry.
You can\'t stop outsiders from being players. -
You have to manage your own store.
\"Every casting area in the United States has government regulations. S.
Canada also faces regulations.
Whether they are concerned about air quality, emissions or ergonomics, the foundry is forced to comply, pay a fine or close down.
During the round table, participants increased their tendency to regulations and their impact.
Their belief is that the foundry must treat government regulations as it does with current and potential customers ---
Through Education.
There is a consensus that lawmakers do not understand the impact of their rules on the foundry industry.
\"At the local level, the foundry needs to be the voice of legislators,\" Morrell said . \".
\"It\'s a minority now (
Several large foundry)
The voice of Washington.
This needs to change.
Most people must make decisions.
\"The goal of a local-level foundry needs to inform their members of Congress of their broad impact --reaching laws-
Environment, trade or other-
\"There are businesses in their area,\" Girton said . \".
\"What happened was that Congress passed the general laws, and OSHA and EPA were left to explain them and put their teeth in it to apply.
We have to feed back to Congress how strict some of these laws have been enacted when the original intention of the law should not be strict.
It depends on jobs, votes and the local economy.
The goal is not charity, but a fair handshake.
\"Another angle that Gerton has put forward is to educate the future leaders of our country about the benefits of metal casting.
\"Spokane steel performs local PR,\" Girton said . \".
\"We have been touring elementary, junior and high schools in Spokane to help our image.
We took them over and let them see how clean our sand is.
We took them to the scrap pile and talked about the oldest recycler in the foundry industry.
We took them to transport to show the beautiful casting that appeared in a pile of scrap.
The goal is to show what life would be like for these students without casting.
\"While the regulations will not go away, the problem is that compliance costs may close small foundries.
\"For a small foundry, upgrading its environment and automating it requires a lot of money compared to sales,\" Morel said . \".
\"It may be difficult.
However, this requires your commitment because you are here for tomorrow and not today. \"The United StatesS.
The Canadian founder\'s argument goes further and discussions show that better environmental regulations are one of the biggest potential remedies to overcome overseas competition.
\"These regulations make it more difficult for us to compete in price,\" Girton said . \".
\"Therefore, more emphasis is placed on providing additional services to customers such as machining and painting.
Girton continued, \"to combine the cost competition with China with the government regulation proposed by EPA, OSHA and WISHA (
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, USA), U. S.
To meet demand, the foundry owner will be forced to open a foundry in Mexico or import it from China.
\"The result of this shift will be the loss of jobs in the United States. S. and Canada.
According to the participants at the Round Table, The Foundry needs to wake up quickly.
\"Be proactive, not passive, and be prepared for regulations,\" DeFrancisco said . \".
\"We know the government\'s rules will always be in the game.
We just need to be one step ahead of them.
We survived the post-80 s recession and are still running.
We know there will be another recession.
We must be prepared.
\"While most of the discussions at the Round Table focused on the obstacles that need to be overcome by the foundry and the idea of addressing them, the participants stressed that their Foundry was on the right track.
They believe that every business can thrive as long as they follow their own advice, regardless of overseas competition, customer and government requirements.
\"Innovation is the bottom line for the survival of small and medium-sized foundry.
\"Invest in yourself and adapt to the needs of your customers,\" says Vanderlinde . \".
\"We modified an automatic match plate forming machine to convert patterns while bumping --squeeze.
We will perform 5-piece or 500-
Piece runs on the same machine.
It drives me crazy when people say, \'This is what we do all the time.
What if you do something wrong?
Girton believes that the success of the foundry is based on openness and flexibility: \"If we are still doing what we were doing five years ago, then maybe someone is doing better.
We can\'t crawl in the hole. we want to survive.
We must be willing to change because change is inevitable.
We must recognize the competition overseas, the environment and our labor problems and succeed every day.
All of this cannot be done overnight, but we cannot wait for a change in the \"best time. \" Cameron D.
Girton, molding and melting manager, Spokane steel foundry (
Spokane industries
Spokane, Washington.
Staff: 140 molding: Nobake, green sand, investment.
Pour metal: Low-
Carbon, stainless steel and high, low
Alloy Steel and wear-
High Endurance-allow iron.
Service industry: industrial, oilfield, military and wear parts.
Ron DeFrancisco, maintenance manager, Columbia Steel Foundry
Portland, Oregon.
Employees: 350.
Look: Nobake and green sand. Metals poured; Carbon, high-and low-
Alloy, stainless steel and manganese steel.
Service industry: mining and aggregation.
Brad vandlinde, business manager, Pacific (
Pacific bronze Co. , Ltd. )
The City of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Employees: 40.
Molding: Nobake, green sand, permanent mold and Shell.
Pour metal: all kinds of aluminum, copper-base alloys.
Service industry: employment.
Steve Morrell, general manager, Seattle Ballard pattern and Brass Foundry: 20.
Molding: green sand, nobake and permanent mold.
Pouring metal: gray iron and various aluminum and copper-base alloys.
Service industry: Marine, wood and electronics.
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