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.)

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.
Switched On to a New Revenue Stream 
United Cast Bar is benefitting from adopting Firm Frequency Response (FFR), a revenue generating scheme that is part of National Grid Plc.’s Demand-Side Response (DSR) program — a business-focused package that promotes “intelligent energy usage” to save on total energy costs and reduce carbon emissions by increasing, decreasing or shifting electricity consumption.
Filling the Market’s Need for Porosity Sealing 
The steady rise in the volume of aluminum castings being produced, in particular automotive engine and powertrain parts, has spurred a significant expansion in the variety of products and systems for sealing those parts, to address inherent porosity.
Customized Controls Revamp for Ford Aluminum Foundry 

Cologne Tool and Die is a Ford Motor Co. subsidiary in Germany that, in addition to manufacturing (and repairing) stamping tooling and dies produces aluminum diecastings for automotive transmissions and engines. Aluminum is melted in and poured from a series of StrikoWestofen dosing furnaces. A recent effort to improve the furnaces’ productivity and availability, and to reduce energy consumption, is being credited to a reline and process control system revamp.

U.K.’s Forgemasters Lands U.S. Navy Contract
Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd. has a $30-million award from the U.S. Dept. of Defense to supply steel castings as part of the Columbia-class submarine program, a series of nuclear-powered vessels in line to replace the current Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.
Expanding the Scope, Reach of Dust Control 
Steelmaker voestalpine Stahl adopted a system for capturing particulate in the emissions of combustion gases. In normal operation, it cleans 610,000 m3 of off-gas per hour at temperatures up to 130°C. The maximum capacity is 700,000 m3/hour.
Learning and Unlearning
Memory and desire frequently fill the role of understanding, so that when presented with new information we reflexively deny the truth of something that is plain to see.
Two Automotive Diecasting Plants Expanding
Two automotive aluminum diecasters are planning to expand operations in the coming months, evidence of continued demand from domestic and transplant automakers for lightweight components.
Boeing Orders Titanium 3DP Structures for Testing
Norsk Titanium will supply Boeing with 3D-printed, titanium engineering test articles for commercial aircraft structures, to demonstrate part-to-part repeatability and to optimize the operations processes necessary to enter into long-term production of structural components for fleet aircraft.
Auto Parts Group Rebrands, Emphasizing ‘Unified’ Metal Forming
Metaldyne Performance Group is consolidating its various legacy brand names to promote a unified manufacturer of powertrain and suspension parts for automotive, commercial, and industrial vehicle markets.
OSHA Cites, Fines Coke Manufacturer After Worker’s Death
OSHA cited Tonawanda Coke Corp. with two repeated and six serious violations of workplace safety standards, and proposed fines totaling $175,200 for those violations, following an inspection into the circumstances of a worker’s death on January 6 of this year.
Alumalloy Metalcasting’s Second Stage of Growth
Alumalloy Metalcasting Co. is a medium-sized Ohio foundry supplying aluminum cast parts and finished subassemblies to global manufacturers of heavy trucks, autos, and industrial equipment. Secondary machining generates 40% of its revenue.
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