America’s premier producer of municipal castings, US Foundry, has dramatically improved blast operations thanks to a process control program implemented by surface technology experts Wheelabrator Plus. The program, with buy-in and execution by Finishing Superintendent Lane Jackson, achieved annual savings of $64,000.
Established in 1916 and headquartered in Medley, Florida (Miami), US Foundry manufactures its entire product line in the Sunshine State, supplying towns and cities across America with manhole covers, catch basins, curb and gutter inlets and grating products.
The gray iron castings are not usually painted and are surface-finished in an automated shot blast line.
In 2013, the Finishing team at US Foundry discovered increased levels of abrasive waste in their media blast system and sensed that they might be buying too much abrasive for their machine set-up. Wheelabrator Plus analyzed the line for them and quantified the abrasive waste – at a staggering $64,000 per year.
Lane Jackson said: “I knew we were having a consumption problem. We were buying more abrasive than we should, but didn’t know how big and where the problem was. When we spoke to Wheelabrator Plus, they immediately knew what our natural abrasive consumption should be and saw the huge discrepancy between that and what we were buying.”
Following thorough analysis of the line, the Wheelabrator Plus team came up with a solution: a number of adjustments to the machine, a change in abrasive type and a new part would fix the problem, increase throughput capacity and bring abrasive consumption down to an optimum level.
US Foundry’s decision to go for the changes was aided by the clear benefit calculation the team from Wheelabrator Plus were able to produce, having identified and quantified all points of waste in the process.
Joe Craig, Productivity Manager at Wheelabrator Plus, said: “At that point in time, US Foundry had a clear choice: spend $14.000 on the improvements or waste $64,000 annually on additional abrasive.”
Doing the math helped US Foundry make an informed, confident decision that resulted in a corrective strategy that will save the company $64,000 year after year.