“Foundries that want to remain competitive casting suppliers must adapt to changing developments in the industry, and react to domestic and international challenges deriving from increased automation and lower labour costs,” says Allan Bruggeman, CEO of Matt Cast Supplies.
“Productivity is a crucial factor for every business, and it must become one of the most important objectives for foundry operators. Effective productivity can be achieved by a) lowering the break-even point; b) using labour more efficiently; c) maximising automation and d) adapting and using available new technology.”
“This might sound like a tape recording but it is ever more central to a foundry surviving or not. We do not have any control on three of our most expensive inputs – power supply, raw material and labour costs – and they are continually rising at rates that are not sustainable. And this is not only reflected in the foundry industry.”
Matt Cast Supplies have invested in a new Endeco Omega Spartan 3 PLC controlled continuous sand mixer
“A business owner has to look at other areas of the operation and one area is modernising your equipment and production processes.”
“Modernising your foundry operations must include every stage of the production process, from raw sand handling and selection of the binder system and sand mixers to shakeout and sand reclamation.”
New Endeco Omega Spartan 3 continuous mixer
“Over the years we have addressed our needs and requirements in the foundry, as we could afford to invest in new equipment. Installed in March 2018 is our latest investment – a new Endeco Omega Spartan 3 PLC controlled continuous sand mixer.”
“While our existing mixers were coping with our requirements we now recognise how unproductive and inefficient they are, since we installed the new Endeco Omega Spartan 3. The new installation now offers us numerous benefits that we are realising and we wish that we had made the investment earlier.”
“With our old equipment we were taking six hours to mould and set our daily requirements and now this same operation is taking us three hours. Because the machine is PLC controlled we have complete control of the process. Sand temperatures are monitored and adjusted automatically and before we start the process we know exactly how much sand, resin and catalyst to use and what the moulding time will be,” explained Bruggeman.
The Endeco Omega Spartan 3 PLC controlled continuous sand mixer filling moulds
“The Spartan 3 is a six-ton per hour mixer and comes equipped with an auto blender, giving us four catalyst options and two sand selection options. This allows us to automatically adjust sand temperatures, resin and catalyst input amounts.”
“Besides the increase in productivity we are now making sizeable amounts of savings in material costs. Additionally, our mould quality and strengths have improved dramatically and the knock on effect has seen a stable supply of moulds to the melting department and resulted in reduced stripping times.”
“There are also health and safety benefits, which enhances our ISO 9001 accreditation, and we will be able to increase our capacity because of the extra machine and manpower time that is now available.”
“The downside is that the efficiencies and productivity are putting pressure on the other departments in the foundry. One noticeable area is our sand reclamation facility, but this is a positive sign and we are looking at investing in this department in the near future.”
Matt Cast Supplies started its operations in September of 1999 in a small rented factory in Germiston, Gauteng with a total employee complement of four people producing four tons of castings per month. Matt Cast was established to produce components almost exclusively for the well-known pump manufacturer APE Pumps.
“But we soon found,” said Bruggeman, “that to be able to manufacture in the range of materials that they (APE) required, we needed to expand into other industrial sectors in order to make our business viable, as well as to make the products cost effective to manufacture.”
“Due to the rapid growth of both companies the factory space that we were occupying at the time soon became limiting. We purchased larger premises in Germiston South, moved in April 2003, and we are still here today but more importantly with a varied client base. The factory has 1 800m² under roof and is situated on 3 300m² of land, which can allow for expansion in time,” continued Bruggeman.
Because the Endeco Omega Spartan 3 is PLC controlled Matt Cast Supplies have complete control of the sand mixing process. Sand temperatures are monitored and adjusted automatically and before they start the process they know exactly how much sand, resin and catalyst to use and what the moulding time will be
“When we moved we installed a larger induction melter and a second no bake moulding line. This gave us the capacity to produce castings ranging from one to 900 kilograms. Box sizes vary up to 1 800mm.”
“Essentially Matt Cast Supplies is a jobbing foundry casting a range of materials. Initially we focused on casting special materials for the pump and valve industry, but today we cast components for a variety of industries. Over the past 10 years we have grown our materials manufactured to include 27% chrome iron, cast iron, cast steel and special steels, SG iron, stainless steel and special alloys.”
“We have expanded our customer base to include companies that require castings for wear and grinding parts as well as gears, bushes, liners and a vast range of engineering components, including the rail industry.”
“Besides our local customers we have also expanded our customer base to include Australia, Canada and Europe,” continued Bruggeman.
From humble beginnings the company has grown to where it is now able to produce 60 tons of castings a month on a single shift basis.
All castings are made in sand moulds using the no-bake resin system and the furnaces include a 350kW 500kg induction melter, a 200kW 250kg induction melter. The two no-bake moulding lines are supported by a core shop with core shooters and a comprehensive fettling shop.
Over the past 10 years Matt Cast Supplies have grown the materials cast to include 27% chrome iron, cast iron, cast steel and special steels, SG iron, stainless steel and special alloys. They have also expanded their customer base to include companies that require castings for wear and grinding parts as well as gears, bushes, liners and a vast range of engineering components, including the rail industry
The manufacturing capabilities have been complemented by the installation of four heat treatment furnaces as well as a 3000s Birlec spectrometer. Casting to various BS, ASTM and DIN specifications, Matt Cast Supplies also has an in house metallurgist to certify products and issue certificates.
The company currently employs 40 people, some of whom have been with the company from the early days.
“In addition we pride ourselves on the fact that we have a unique computerised tracking system where all castings are tracked and every melt is recorded giving us full traceability of all castings produced,” stated Bruggeman.
“We are constantly getting pressure from our clients to be cost competitive so we have to be innovative in all our thinking and operational procedures to meet their demands. Investing and modernising the equipment in your foundry is one way of doing it. We have just been reminded of that again,” concluded Bruggeman.
For further details contact Matt Cast Supplies on TEL: 011 873 2279 or visit www.mattcast.co.za