Stainless Foundry & Engineering (SF&E) is nearing the end of a multi-phase, multi-year operations throughput improvement project. The goal: maximum optimization for an above-and-beyond customer experience. Production efficiency efforts have focused on reducing lead times for commercial sand and investment castings, as well as high specification products, which we are well known for. But in 2019, when we were presented with a unique opportunity, we found our new processes could also aid in the development and launch of a new alloy.
In late 2019, we were approached by a potential new customer, sharing some challenges they were experiencing with a different foundry. The potential new customer detailed they needed someone to manufacture hundreds of different abrasion-resistant pump and valve parts for the mining industry.
“After many capability overviews and tours of SF&E, they alerted us of their strategy to move 100+ patterns in 2020 and spend $1,000,000. We were very excited, but we knew we had to lock in a process to satisfy producing that many new parts with a relatively new alloy,” said Mitch McCaffery, Director of Sales & Marketing.
SF&E has an expertise in pumps and valves. We had some past experience with high-chrome white iron, but nothing related to the volume this customer was detailing of introducing to our foundry. So, we got to work engineering a better pattern receiving and re-rigging process in the front end, as well as a top notch quality production process in the back end.
At the time, SF&E primarily poured carbon steel and stainless steel, which is a different setup – both in the lab and on the floor. This project was going to take some trial and error, expert analysis, and investment in iron-specific equipment.