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.)

New LIFT Project Targets Lower-Cost Aluminum MMCs
A new research project launched by Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) seeks to develop more cost-effective manufacturing methods for aluminum metal-matrix composites (MMCs.)
High-Volume Auto Parts Foundry Gets a Robotic Revamp 
When GF Automotive made the decision to rebuild its ductile iron foundry in Mettman, Germany, about five years ago, robotics were a critical element of its vision for increased efficiency. The plant was already more than a century old, so the estimated $46.5-million project centering on a robotic pouring and handling was a that much more novel.
Assessing the New Role for Robotics 
Metalcasters understand that robots bring greater consistency and safety in demanding tasks – and lately they’re learning how flexibility and productivity work to their advantage, too.
Purpose-Built Grinding and Finishing for Aluminum Diecasting 
Automakers are relying on higher volumes of component parts in lighter materials, in particular aluminum and nonferrous alloy diecastings. Most machining centers for grinding or finishing near-net-shape castings are “over-designed” with unnecessary capabilities that may increase the operating costs and extend cycle times. Makino’s a40 horizontal machining center is purpose-built for aluminum diecastings.
It’s Not Really About You
We must evaluate more, and learn to value things and ideas that we can hold on to longer. We’re not doomed because we demand too much, but we’re in trouble because we don’t demand enough good things, truthful things that will last and by which we can improve our legacies. We should demand that opportunity.
O'Fallon Casting Expanding, Streamlining Operation
O’Fallon Casting, a nonferrous investment casting operation in O’Fallon, MO, started construction this month for on a 25,000-sq.ft. expansion that will establish a 75,000-sq.ft. operation within 16 months. The foundry indicated its intent to schedule the expansion project around its current work schedule, noting it will maintain its on-time delivery schedule.
South Carolina Jobbing Foundry Closes
Crown Casting Industries, Hodges, SC, closed on September 30, according to reports. A local official, confirmed the news, indicated 28 workers were left unemployed by the closing of the iron and bronze jobbing foundry.
Jensen International Bought by Star Pipe Products
Star Pipe Products, a supplier and distributor of pipe products for water works and construction and municipal use, acquired the assets of Jensen International, including the Jencast iron foundry in South Coffeyville, OK.
Iron Foundry Closing, Rival Acquires Assets, Order Book
Cast-Fab Technologies, a gray and ductile iron foundry in Cincinnati, will cease operations in November 2016, according to a WARN notice filed with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. The letter makes it clear the closing is permanent and will leave 97 workers unemployed.
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.
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