Spokane Industries is a company that includes a steel foundry, a ferrous investment casting foundry, and a metal fabricating business. Its operations cover more 240,000 sq.ft. of production space in Spokane, WA, and its customers span a range of manufacturing interests: aerospace, construction and agriculture, transportation, aggregate processing, and general manufacturing.
Those customers rely on Spokane for more than castings: they count on the company to address their own design and production problems.
The Spokane Steel Foundry division is the core operation of Spokane Industries, having supplied commercial and industrial customers around the world for over 50 years. Some of its current customers were among the foundry’s original accounts, even ordering castings from their original patterns.
Today, the foundry’s products include durable wear parts for impact crushers, and a variety of high-specification castings for construction, mining, manufacturing, transportation, aluminum, and defense manufacturing. Decades of growth have established Spokane Industries as an environmentally sound and technologically advanced organization, working with customers using technological resources that include Magmasoft® process optimization software. By adopting Magmasoft (www.magmasoft.com), Spokane quickly discovered how the software’s ability to simulate the casting process from start to finish not only was invaluable as an engineering tool, but one that enhanced the entire business.
“Having Magmasoft has improved our ability to reduce the number of samples and bring quality products to market faster through meeting specifications, tolerance, and metallurgy, most often on the first run,” CFO Ken Vorhees reported.
“This is a very powerful tool, giving us the ability to see virtually the entire casting process before we have invested significant time and materials,” added Tyrus Tenold, president of the foundry division. “We now catch problems before they become problems. By the time we are ready to run the part, we have confidence we will have a quality part on the first run, in most cases.”
Using the software to run detailed process optimization for the casting process means that Spokane can identify process issues anywhere in the production sequence before the first run. Thus, foundry engineers discover a casting’s potential problems before an order arrives at the melt deck. They’re also able to resolve them faster than any competitor not using simulation technology.
Having licensed Magmasoft two years ago, Spokane now has recorded some significant changes in its casting process. “We use the software to help customers refine their designs, as well as to convert many of their weldments into castings,” according to Rod Grozdanich, technical director. “Being able to simulate the entire process helps a lot, in that regard.”
The simulation program has been established now among the foundry’s marketing tools, supporting its message about advanced production technologies, and demonstrating its claim to work the latest technology and equipment.
“By having Magmasoft, we find that our customers expect more of us,” explained Antonio Melendez, design engineer. “We are confident that we can deliver, and have always lived up to and exceeded the challenges our customers have given us.
“It has become common that when we go back to a customer with a design change that affects them—costs them more money, like adding a riser—they want to know why. Magmasoft gives us that credibility and additional technical support for our case,” he detailed
David Jolin, quality assurance manager, noted examples of current and potential customers requiring Spokane Steel Foundry to run a casting design through a solidification program. “There have been times where we have been told directly that in order to be awarded a particular job, we’d need to show them simulation capability,” Jolin said. And he added, “We are seeing this as a requirement more often nowadays.”