Robert Brooks

Foundry Management & Technology

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.
Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

EJ Planning New Foundry in Michigan
EJ —the group that produces and distribute municipal and infrastructural castings in North America, Europe, and Australia — is laying plans to relocate from its original location in East Jordan, MI, to a new foundry at a greenfield site.
Construction Starts for Transplant Auto Parts Plant
Construction has started in Franklin, KY, for Fritz Winter North America LP’s new ferrous foundry and machining complex, a nearly $200-million development.
Shiloh Draws DOE Funds to Study Micro-Cooling for HPDC
Shiloh Industries Inc. — which produces aluminum and magnesium diecastings, among various other parts for automotive bodies, powertrains, structural and seating components — is among the new recipients of research grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program.
MPG Closing Brillion Foundry, Two Weeks After Buying It
Metaldyne Performance Group issued a shutdown notice for Brillion Iron Works in Wisconsin, purchased for $14 million less than two weeks ago, citing "a severe downturn in the heavy truck, mining, agriculture and industrial markets".
GE, Siemens Invest, Re-Commit to Metal Manufacturing
General Electric and Siemens — two of the most influential engineering and manufacturing groups — are renewing their commitment to metal additive manufacturing with significant investments — raising the profile for the emerging technology in the production critically engineered parts.
OSHA Cites Aluminum Diecaster in Machine-Safety Accident
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued four citations for workplace safety violations at General Aluminum Manufacturing Co. in Conneaut, OH, following a March 23 incident in which a worker suffered a crippling hand injury.
Real-Time Progress Toward Lightweight Iron Castings 
MPG Casting vice president Jay Solomond detailed trials underway at two of its foundries have resulted in significant weight and thickness reductions for cast ductile iron differential case. “It’s a multi-phase process,” he explained. “Step one was pouring multiple castings to trial weight and thickness reductions to help ‘bookend’ the process. Step two was taking a part … currently in production and optimizing the design and chemistry. Step three will be to produce and validate the design.”
Overcoming Time and Space
Changing reality is something that we media types have in common with our manufacturing readers: they’re trying to overcome the challenges of time and space in their businesses, as are we.
Accuride Accepts Private Buyout, Sells Brillion to MPG
Accuride Corporation agreed to be acquired for an estimated $424 million by Crestview Partners, a private equity firm, and to sell its Brillion Iron Works foundry to Metaldyne Performance Group for $14 million.
Allegheny Technology Inc. Idling Some Titanium Operations
Allegheny Technologies Inc. is idling a titanium sponge production operation indefinitely, and scaling back some titanium hot working operations, in a strategy to improve operating efficiency, increase operating income, and reduce capital obligations.
CGI Production Rising on Engine Series Output
SinterCast AB, the developer and licenser of foundry process technology for compacted graphite iron production, reported improved results in its latest quarterly (2Q 2016) statement, with CGI series production levels rising to offset disappointing totals from the previous quarter. The group emphasized that the ramp-up of several new series production programs during the second quarter ensured a sixth consecutive quarter of volume topping 2 million “engine equivalents” (i.e., 110,231 short tons.)
AMRC Adds Large-Dimension Cutting for Molds
Britain’s AMRC Castings installed a customized, large dimension five-axis CNC machine to be used in cutting polystyrene for casting molds. The operation recently completed a new steel foundry operation, able to cast parts weighing up to 1,300 kg (1.43 tons.)
OSHA Cites Foundry Following Accident, Death
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued six citations and $105,000 in penalties to Stahl Specialty Company following a fatal accident at its aluminum foundry in Warrensburg, MO, in which a worker was crushed by moving core machine ram.
Columbus Steel Castings Sold, No Restart Expected
Columbus Steel Castings has been sold at auction, fueling the expectation that the now-idle operation will not return to production but will have its assets sold piecemeal. Reich Brothers Inc., a specialist in commercial and industrial equipment asset sales, bid $29.7 million.
Metalcaster Adopts 3DP, Keeps its Focus on Casting 
Reverse engineering is another credible application of various 3D manufacturing technologies, and for foundries seeking to understand how to apply these or to justify the investment, a recent project for Britain’s Castings Technology International (Cti) is instructive.
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