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‘Latest Developments in the Continuous Mixer’

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The annual Chesterfield and Sheffield Branch Technical Seminar took place once again at the Learning Unlimited Conference Centre during April and included a very wide range of technical subjects. Open to branch members and guests, the free event attracted over 50 attendees from a range of UK foundries and suppliers.

Chris Wilding of Omega Foundry Machinery Ltd (the main event sponsors) presented the ‘Latest Developments in the Continuous Mixer’ and also spoke about the use of SMART technology used with no-bake systems to provide remote quality monitoring, preventative maintenance scheduling as well as live condition monitoring. The systems, which can be fitted to all sand mixing and sand reclaim plant can also enable engineers to access the machinery remotely to diagnose faults and reset operating conditions.

Paul Madin, Welding Consultant, and formerly group welding and fabrication director Sheffield Forgemasters, gave a presentation entitled ‘Welding – Casting Metal on a Miniature Scale’. SFEL now has ASME NPT status, which allows the company to fabricate components within the heart of nuclear power stations, so Paul was able to give a very interesting insight into the wide range of projects with which he had been involved and the need to control the microstructure during welding.

‘Microstructure, Defect and Mechanical Properties Simulation and the use of Simulated Properties by Design Engineers: FE Service Condition Analysis’ was the topic tackled by Dave Hall Prof MICME and Russell Gray EngTech Prof MICME of Maxima Engineering; MAGMASOFT® representatives for the UK and ROI. It was clear from their presentation that as simulation software continues to improve, it can provide vital information to both designers and foundries as they work together to optimise casting design and manufacturing considerations, by accounting for residual stresses and mechanical properties of the finished casting. Indeed, as they explained, some information such as residual stress levels in castings are difficult, if not impossible, to measure practically. These can now be predicted by the software tools, making simulation a very valuable cost saving and risk reducing tool in the designers toolkit.

This was followed by a short presentation by Dr Pam Murrell FICME, Cast Metals Federation, who spoke about the Casting the Future Foundry Training Centre, part of the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills.

The event finished with a very practical and accessible presentation from Richard Heath, Prof MICME Health, Safety & Environment Officer for the Cast Metals Federation, entitled ‘Helping Foundrymen do the Housework.’ This presentation has been developed as part of a wider initiative on behavioural change, being offered through the SHIFT initiative (Safety and Health in Foundries Target) aimed at raising awareness of the importance and benefits of housekeeping to employees and their companies. Over 160 foundrymen from the around the UK have so far attended free training sessions delivered over the last few months with the aim of changing attitudes - why do we do things at work that we would never dream of doing at home, such as leaving tools lying around and gas burners lit all day. As Richard explained, ‘the benefits of an organised and tidy workspace do not just make the working environment safer and more pleasant, they also affect the bottom line – it’s a win-win!’

As Steve Illingworth Prof MICME, representing the branch council, thanked all the speakers and sponsors of the event, he also thanked all those who had organised the event and looked forward to welcoming Members to next year’s seminar.