Mineral-Loy adds mechanical engineering graduate to its technical sales department

“Working with sand to form moulds (and cores) comes with numerous additional requirements these days. The operations have to be compliant with current and evolving regulatory standards, they have to fulfil the prevailing commercial standards for process reliability and productivity, as well as finished product quality,” said Mineral-Loy’s Executive Director Rob Duff.

“The traditional foundry is not what it used to be. From the time when we acquired Mineral-Loy 11 years ago, we have seen big changes in how foundries operate and what is demanded of suppliers these days.”

“To survive, foundries are looking to increase productivity, while at the same time reducing costs. Today, in the world of computers and software, especially in design and manufacturing software, there has been vast development. Therefore it’s no good having all this fancy equipment, casting process optimisation and simulation studies, if the raw materials and additives you use leave you with defects and you have to scrap the castings anyway,” continued Duff.

Stellenbosch University Mechanical Engineering graduate Barry West has joined the foundry sales and projects department at Mineral-Loy

“Additionally, foundries are demonstrating demand for complete turnkey engineering solutions from the industry’s technology suppliers, and all indicators are that the trend will continue. The reason for this is simple: The efficiencies foundries gain from a complete turnkey solution are significant. This applies to both the capital equipment investment and the mineral and materials.”

“At the same time, foundries are reducing their staff complement on the technical side and relying even more on suppliers to fill this void and provide them with assistance and solutions, whether it be improving their processes or recommending alternative material use.”

“Just over four years ago we recognised this fact and took a strategic decision to appoint graduates with a distinct technical background to operate as project engineers within our sales departments.”

“Our first two appointments had qualifications in chemical engineering and metallurgy. This was followed by a further two appointments with chemical engineering degrees and another qualified metallurgist. In essence they are project and process engineers within the company.”

“Little did we know that such would be the positive response and demand from the foundry industry that more demands were placed on our graduates. We have acknowledged that even though we had covered our bases in the chemical and metallurgy areas, we were lacking on the mechanical engineering side. After all you cannot make a casting if you do not have input on how the casting will perform when operating in a mechanical situation.”

“This is the reason we have now employed Barry West, a mechanical engineering graduate from Stellenbosch University. The skills set he brings to the foundry sales department includes simulation and finite element analysis, besides some experience with the proprietary design software such as SolidWorks.”

“Barry’s brief is that even though the recipe and ingredients supplied by Mineral-Loy to manufacture a casting might be world class, he will need to offer assistance for process effectiveness and cost efficiencies.”

“The past decade has seen significant progress by developers of additive manufacturing technology to make 3D printing and additive manufacturing amenable to foundry operations. Barry will need to integrate these new processes into the final casting situation.”

“In essence Mineral-Loy is a raw material and consumable supplier. But now we can offer our clients project and process engineering services as well. Barry, in combination with Mineral-Loy’s chemical and metallurgy project engineers, will now be able to offer our clients a turnkey solution.”

“Besides offering the traditional products that the company traditionally supplies, it has been an objective to identify new products. A common goal of efficiencies and product quality in the casting process is essential so that a foundry is able to control the production process and variables in order to keep their customers, and make a profit.”

“We now offer a number of derivatives, sourced locally and internationally, as a result of the demand from industry. These products are filling a gap but require more input from our graduates. This includes inspection at source and educating the user on the technical aspects. As well as now being able to offer an alternative to our established clients, the development has opened up more doors for us in other industries, including steel manufacturing.”

“Additionally, we are currently working on a new project where we will announce the development to the industry once the paperwork and engineering feasibility studies are completed. The potential for this project, which involves mechanical engineering input, could be very beneficial to our supplier and the end users, which are the foundries.”

For further details please contact Rob Duff at Mineral-Loy on TEL: 011 802 4050 or visit www.mineral-loy.co.za