Technology Changing Image of U.S. Foundries

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Richmond Industries has aquired a DMG Mori Seiki dual spindle lathe with live tool capabilities. Time saved is impressive, resulting in more competitive pricing for the foundry.

This new lathe will increase the efficiency of our machining requirements dramatically,

The stereotype of the American foundry— steaming liquefied metal, dark, cavernous surroundings and sweating bodies— has quietly changed with technology, particularly in the tooling of smaller, complex parts for industrial equipment. The process of casting, notably the pouring of hot metal into molds, is still fundamentally the same, but there is literally some real cool stuff going on.

A case in point is something new that is available for customers of Richmond Industries, Inc., who operates in a 40,000-square-feet facility in Dayton, NJ. It’s the DMG Mori Seiki dual spindle lathe with live tool capabilities. That means that it can create multiple complex parts out of what is known as a round blank or metal bar and, with each bar feed, it runs unattended. Time saved is impressive, resulting in more competitive pricing for the foundry.

“This new lathe will increase the efficiency of our machining requirements dramatically,” understated a Richmond Industries spokesperson about its NLX2500SY model, “in some cases reducing our overall machining time by half.”

You’ll be impressed by the video stream on the Richmond website. Seeing is believing, and the seven-minute demonstration of this remarkable lathe has attracted some 63,000 views on YouTube, mesmerizing even those who know nothing about metallurgy, machining and tooling.

The addition of the DMG Mori system is known in the business as a machine shop upgrade, but it is truly revolutionary in the business. The foundry industry rises and falls with the health of the economy and there are often casualties in the falls. Any technology that lowers costs to customers and is more cost-efficient for the manufacturer makes each foundry more competitive.

Richmond Industries, for example, casts metal parts, simple and complex, from just a few ounces to up to a ton. The alloys include the ABCs of non-ferrous metals, aluminum, bronze and copper, and many other combinations. There are two separate sand mold casting systems, and these molding lines are supported by six modern induction furnaces with power supplies from three independent Inductotherm systems. All of this requires the effort and expertise of some 35 employees.

Since opening for business in 1959, Richmond Industries has seen many changes in the foundry business and has evolved with the demands and technology. That includes raw casting, pressure testing and machining in their various forms. After the tooling, samples receive customer approval before proceeding with production.

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Jennifer Williams
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