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.)

CGI Production Stable, Revenues Up for SinterCast
SinterCast AB licensees’ series production of compacted-graphite iron (CGI) stabilized during the third quarter (July-September) of 2016, marking the seventh-straight quarter with output “at or above the 2 million engine equivalent threshold” (i.e., 110,231 short tons), though it added that the quarterly total was 5-10% lower than during Q1 or Q2.
Palmer Mfg. Supplying Parts for IMF Equipment
Palmer Manufacturing & Supply has started engineering repair and replacement parts for no-bake foundry equipment designed and manufactured by IMF s.r.l., including sand-mixer blades.
British Center Prepping Europe’s Largest Ti Casting Foundry
Britain’s AMRC Castings, part of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing at the University of Sheffield, reports it soon will start up the largest titanium melting and casting operation in Europe, one capable of producing 500-kg (1,100-lb.) castings, described as some of the world’s largest aerospace titanium castings. “We plan to create a world-class titanium casting capability in the U.K., developing the skills base necessary to enable companies to reap the rewards of carrying out a process that is very, very challenging,” according to AMRC Castings’ commercial manager Richard Gould.
Diecast Tooling Developer Expanding R&D, Production
HTS International Corp., a developer of tooling for diecasting and injection molding, plans to build a global headquarters and manufacturing center in eastern Tennessee, a $21.4-million capital program that would employ about 200 new workers over the coming four years.
Nothing Will Change
The ordeal we have been having for 18 months reveals the defects of our civilization, and maybe its demise. One day we may realize what we’ve lost.
American Axle Buying MPG for $1.6 Billion
American Axle & Manufacturing is buying Metaldyne Performance group in a $1.6-billion cash and stock deal that creates new, global Tier One automotive supplier with powertrain, drivetrain, driveline design and manufacturing.
Brembo Starts New Aluminum Foundry in Mexico
Brake system specialist Brembo S.p.A. started up an aluminum foundry near Monterrey, Mexico, a project estimated at $39 million when it was launched in 2014. While the new plant is designed to produce brake calipers for automobiles, the company’s president announced plans to start building a second foundry for cast iron discs for brake rotors.
GM to End Ductile Iron Production at Defiance
General Motors is phasing out ductile iron production at is Defiance (OH) Casting Operations, indicating the production crankshafts, engine blocks, and cylinder heads is no longer a “core” product series as the automaker embraces more light-metal powertrain designs.
Gibbs Die Casting Expanding Casting, Machining
Gibbs Die Casting in Henderson, Kentucky, will invest $10 million to install new equipment and renovate its workspace, reopening some idle capacity and adding more finish machining capability. The project is expected to result in 46 new full-time employment positions.
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.
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