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Metal casting extended assessments

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Abstract

In 1997, the Industrial Assessment Center program of the U.S. Department of Energy initiated Extended Assessments as an option for some of their in-plant assessments. Intended for larger, more complex manufacturing facilities, the multi-day Extended Assessment allows the plant assessment team to explore more complex recommendations with the intent of encouraging major process and equipment changes. In this paper we describe the results of Extended Assessments at plants in the Metal Casting Industry, one of the DOE Industries of the Future. We visited five plants, two foundries and three die casting plants, with combined annual sales of $134 million and a combined annual production volume of 35,300 tons. Our recommendations offered potential savings to each plant of an average $417,000 or 1.5% of average gross sales. A number of generalizations can be observed based on our assessments in the cast metals industry. First is that many of the smaller firms in this industry have been slow to adopt innovative technology. Off the shelf technologies are available that will help these firms reach the 21st Century. The concept of remelt of metal or `scrap' in the plant is an operation that can be improved. We found approximately two pounds of metal melted for every pound shipped. Finally, many opportunities exist outside of the core plant operations to reduce operating costs.

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