red   Q-FOUNDRY and Venera Technologies Announced Integration
    Q-FOUNDRY and Venera Technologies recently announced integration between the Q-media FOUNDRY Automation Software Suite and Pulsar Automated Content Verifier. Available immediately, the new integration support enables Q-media FOUNDRY users to seamlessly incorporate Pulsar's file-based content verifier system that automates and simplifies QC, including adaptive bitrates content produced for HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Smooth Streaming.
Pulsar's complete set of options are fully integrated into the QmF visual workflow designer and dashboards, providing users with a simple control mechanism and excellent visibility into QC issues.
“We are very pleased to expand Q-FOUNDRY'S array of supported industry-leading QC tools with the new Pulsar support, giving our media customers access to one of the fastest and most cost effective file-based QC systems on the market” said James Heliker, Director of Software at Q-FOUNDRY. “Automating quality check and control at every stage of the content life-cycle is essential for maximizing workflow pipelines while minimizing human intervention."
“We are very excited to have Pulsar integrated with Q-FOUNDRY's Q-MediaFOUNDRY”, said Fereidoon Khosravi, Senior Vice President, Americas Business Development at Venera Technologies.
“This is great news for customers of Venera Technologies and Q-FOUNDRY. This seamless integrated solution provides customers with access to state of the art QmF file-based workflow system with advanced QC features of Pulsar automated content verifier system”.
red   Kunkel Wagner Enters New Markets
Kunkel Wagner is a technology leader in the foundry industry and proves a strong innovation track record in product and process development across R&D and engineering. 74 active patents and patent applications in 20 different manufacturing processes and components substantially strengthen KW's international product portfolio.
KW was established in 1907 as a pattern making company and has considerably contributed to the global technological advancement of the foundry industry and has developed a wide range of foundry equipment over the past 100 years.
KW is striving to become the leading technology and service company in the foundry industry, delivering expert solutions and the best customer service throughout all markets.
Further, KW is committed to retain excellence in the quality of their products and services, with focus on customer satisfaction and market leadership. Their mission is to enable foundries throughout the world to realize their fullest potential, help them best meet their own customer demands and to successfully accomplish those tough environmental challenges they are faced with.
Focus is set on strengthening engineering and R&D in Germany, moving production to local markets, expanding their product range with brand new products in new markets, focusing on service and capitalizing on their global know-how.
red   3D Printing Boosts Casting Operation
    Dating back some 2,000 years, sand casting is the epitome of established and traditional manufacture. However, the process is being given a boost by the current buzz-technology, 3D printing.
The installation of a large ExOne S-Print HHS at Shropshire-based family owned and run Grainger & Worrall, has allowed the company to modernise and offer an even faster turnaround service. While it did not come cheap, the £500,000 sand-printing equipment is being used to support its growing Rapid prototyping business by producing sand cores and doing away with the need for hard Tooling.
"We see ourselves as a provider of prototype, small batch and low volume castings," says Edward Grainger, director of Grainger & Worrall. "These are high integrity, high complexity structural castings that customers usually want quickly, as it is part of a development or design programme.
"We are not mass manufacturing parts; we are making complex geometrical tools where there are significant challenges.”
The proportion of business split across the company can vary, but currently the split is around one half in prototyping, with a fifth taken by motorsport and then series production accounting for the rest.
The majority of this prototype work is automotive-focused, with development driven by the push to reduce CO2 emissions. This means reduction in both size and weight, leading to a corresponding increase in unit loads, cylinder pressures, output torque and power density. As a result, the prototyping area takes a lot of work that is described as, 'R&D and risky'.
red   GM China Begins Operations of Magnesium Alloy VSC Machine
    The GM China Advanced Technical Center (ATC) in Shanghai announced the operation of its Vertical Squeeze Casting (VSC) machine, the first in the world designed for developing next-generation magnesium castings. This marks a breakthrough in lightweight materials research by General Motors.
The new technology will make it easier to manufacture vehicle parts from magnesium, which is the lightest metal currently available for the mass production of automotive materials. A part made from magnesium alloy is 30% lighter than a part made from aluminum alloy. GM estimates a vehicle's fuel economy will improve 7% for every 150-kilogram reduction in weight.
The VSC machine was jointly designed by GM's lightweight materials research teams in Detroit and Shanghai. It was built in collaboration with an equipment manufacturer in China. Designed to improve casting integrity through the application of high squeeze pressure during the casting process, its fully enclosed magnesium melting and transferring system can significantly improve the performance and quality of the castings. It maintains the molten metal surface essentially isolated from oxygen, which would otherwise produce oxide inclusions.
“The expected benefits of squeeze castings also mean we can use castings to replace some forged components at lower cost,” said Jeff Wang, lab group manager for the materials research team at GM China Science Lab. "Our efforts to promote magnesium alloy applications will not only meet customers' needs for better fuel economy and better performance at an affordable cost, but also take advantage of the ready availability of magnesium in China." China now accounts for more than 80 percent of global magnesium output.
red   Omega Installs A Mobile Drier at Sheffield Forgemasters
    Sheffield Forge masters International Ltd. reported it is the first foundry in the U.K. to adopt a state-of-the-art mold and core coating technology, improving the quality its large, high-integrity castings and establishing more efficient production processes. SFIL is a multi-faceted engineering group with specialties in several critical energy markets, including nuclear power plants and offshore drilling platforms.
The SFIL manufacturing complex at Sheffield, England, includes electric furnace melting and casting for ingots, foundry and forging operations, as well as large-dimension machining capabilities.
The 10,000-metric tons/year foundry pours ladles of carbon or stainless steel up 100 metric tons, for products with maximum dimensions of 16X7.6X4.6 meters. It is able to produce castings weighing up to 350 metric tons, and engineering, Patternmaking, ultrasonic testing, and heat-treatment of finished products are done on site.
Forgemasters' new mold and core coating process is a two-part system consisting of two computer-controlled coating preparation plants, that deliver water-based zircon slurry coatings with consistent viscosity and density; and a dedicated core and mold drying oven, supplied by Omega foundry Machinery Ltd to control the drying of the coating.
The new process allows Forgemasters to apply coatings of uniform composition and thickness to its molds, used to form large, complex steel castings, which reduces preparation time, improves casting surface finish, and makes it easier to remove refractory from the casting.
Previously, SFIL used a manual preparation and coating method which led to inconsistency's in coating quality and thickness.
red   Foseco Offers New Insulating Material for Dosing Furnaces in Aluminium Foundries
    The application of energy-saving dosing furnaces in aluminium foundries is best available technology today. Foseco is now able to supply a new, multi-part and highly insulating lining made of INSURAL, which is delivered ready to install and provides a high longevity. Installation of a new INSURAL lining can be done in 3 to 4 days with no ongoing hydrogen issues. While linings cast in situ have to be dried for several weeks before all the combined water is removed.
Through the low wettability of INSURAL, the furnace cavity is easy to clean and the liquid metal is protected against unwanted impurities. In addition, due to the dry installation no sintering process is necessary and the good insulation properties lead to energy savings up to 17 %. Additional benefits are the extreme low build-up of Corundum, due to the absence of joints, resistance to cracking in the area of the heating tubes and simple removal when relining is required.
Additionally Foseco also offer INSURAL dosing tubes, INSURAL or Clay Graphite filling funnels, ISOPRIME protection tubes for the heating elements, EKATHERM thermo element protection tubes and ZYAROCK launders for insulation and prevention of Oxide build-up.
red   USA - Grede Foundries Uses New Alloy
    Grede Foundries in St. Cloud is one of two sites using a new ductile iron alloy called SiboDur to produce durable lightweight chassis, power- and drive-train components for heavy-duty truck applications.
Grede Foundries unveiled the SiboDur components recently at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. According to the company, the metal has a unique chemistry and process that competes favorably with aluminum in weight reduction. The high-strength characteristics of SiboDur also provide cost, fatigue life and "manufacturability" advantages over other materials. Heavy-duty truck manufacturers use SiboDur in parts with high stress and torque requirements including steering knuckles, differential cases, control arms, hubs, brackets, engine mounts, crankshafts and suspension links. SiboDur was developed by a Swiss company, and Grede has the exclusive license to produce the alloy in North America. In addition to St. Cloud, it is being made at a Grede facility in Reedsburg, Wis. Grede has estimated annual revenues of $1 billion, is headquartered in Southfield, Mich., and has 4,700 employees at 14 foundries and three machining operations in North America.
red   South African Foundries have Higher Costs than Bric Counterparts but Enjoy Greater Govt. Support
    Although South African foundries pay more for electricity and certain raw materials than Brazil, Russia, India and China, the industry enjoys strong support from government. This is according to delegates who attended the fourth annual BRICS Foundry Forum held in India during February.
John Davies, CEO of South African Institute of Foundrymen (SAIF) says that although foundries worldwide recorded growth of 2.3% in 2012, the majority of countries with foundry industries reported contraction (20 of 37). “South Africa was one of eight countries which reported contraction greater than 10% while 11 countries showed growth in their foundry industries during this period,” says Davies.
The BRICS Foundry Forum in India was attended by 11 South African delegates and was funded by the National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN), a dti initiative. Each year, the Forum conducts and shares research conducted amongst BRICS countries. This year, the focus was on high pressure die casting, which is most commonly used in the automotive industry.
Some of the common challenges experienced by BRICS countries in the past year include skills development, human capital resources, energy costs and frequent power interruptions. “BRICS countries account for 60% of the global foundry market. The foundry market in China is the largest of the BRICS countries, having produced over 42 million tons at its 30 000 foundries in 2012. South Africa produced 374 000 tons at its 180 foundries. To put this in perspective, the worldwide production in 2012 was 100.8 million tons and there were almost 51 000 foundries,” says Davies.
The scale of the foundry industry is reflected in the number of universities which offer foundry degrees: 205 in China versus six in South Africa. “The education levels of participants in the foundry industry vary greatly worldwide, so it is helpful to compare our industry with other developing countries. It remains a challenge amongst BRICS countries to attract suitably qualified young people to the metal casting industries. Wages seem to be the major factor as well as defined career development,” explains Davies.
The equipment available at training centres and universities, which must have incurred huge capital expenditure, impressed Colin Smit, foundry technician at Mitak. “Clearly India is willing to spend money on infrastructure aimed towards learning and creating a skilled workforce,” he comments. “It was evident that local foundries have made significant investments along with government to counter the shortage of skilled manpower – an issue with which foundries worldwide are grappling.”
Carl Reinhard of Casting Services conducted an analysis of the Indian foundries visited during the trip. Most South African foundries operate with labour costs at around 30% of total annual sales. “Given the Indian foundries extremely low labour costs in comparison to South Africa, Indian foundries enjoy a cost advantage of up to 24% over SA foundries ”, he says.
red   Spartan Light Metal Products gets Toyota Supplier Award
    Spartan Light Metal Products, a supplier of aluminum and Magnesium custom die castings was recognized as an Excellent Quality Performance Award winner at Toyota Motor engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.'s (TEMA) Annual Supplier Business Meeting (ABM).
Spartan Light Metal Products is pleased to be recognized with the Excellent Quality Award from Toyota. There were only 17 Toyota suppliers to receive this prestigious Quality Performance Award. Spartan was one of only three wholly US-based companies to receive this quality award. Spartan's Hannibal, Missouri plant has also distinguished themselves by their excellent safety record by recently celebrating having over six years without a lost time accident. Currently celebrating 18 years, ABM allows TEMA to discuss business objectives with direct and indirect suppliers in preparation for its upcoming fiscal year. Each year, TEMA recognizes suppliers who exceeded the company's expectations in several categories.
“Toyota works closely with each supplier partner to build our vehicles to the high-quality, safety and reliability standards our customers expect,” said Robert Young, TEMA's purchasing vice president. “We are pleased to award those in our supply base who go above-and-beyond. This event emphasizes our mutual commitment with supplier partners to continuously improve to build “always better cars” in North America.”
In the U.S. alone, there are about 60,000 supplier jobs dedicated to Toyota across more than 30 states. In addition, Toyota collectively spent over $32 billion on parts, goods and services last year in North America.
red   Ashland Inc. and Clariant Announce Agreement to Sell ASK Chemicals Joint Venture
    Ashland Inc. and Clariant recently announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell their joint venture, ASK Chemicals GmbH headquartered in Hilden, Germany, to investment funds affiliated with Rhone, a London and New York-based private equity investment firm. The enterprise value of the transaction, before debt and assumed liabilities, amounts to EUR257 million. After adjusting for debt and assumed liabilities, total pre-tax proceeds to the sellers will be EUR149 million, which includes EUR128 million in cash and a EUR21 million buyer note. Proceeds will be split evenly between Ashland and Clariant under terms of the 50/50 joint venture. The transaction is expected to close prior to the end of Ashland's fiscal fourth quarter on September 30, 2014, and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
With 1,800 employees in 25 countries, ASK Chemicals is a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer. Its portfolio encompasses an exceptionally broad and innovative range of foundry resources such as binders, coatings, feeders, filters and release agents, as well as metallurgical products including inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting. In 2013, ASK Chemicals generated annual revenues of EUR513 million.
"The sale of Ashland's equity interest in ASK Chemicals will allow us to focus on our core specialty chemicals business as we reposition the company for sustained sales and profit growth," said James J. O'Brien, Ashland chairman and chief executive officer. "At the same time, the divestiture will give ASK Chemicals an opportunity for new investment as it works to build on its position as a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer."
"The divestment of our stake in ASK Chemicals is part of our continuous active portfolio management to reallocate capital towards our more profitable growth areas," said Hariolf Kottmann, Clariant chief executive officer. "In the joint venture we have successfully combined the activities of Ashland and former Sud-Chemie businesses. Now we release it to a new owner who will focus on growth perspectives."
Rhone commented: "We are proud to succeed Ashland and Clariant in the stewardship of ASK Chemicals. We are excited to be partnering with ASK Chemicals' management team, and look forward to working with them to further develop the business in this new phase of ASK's expansion, leveraging on its leading technology platform, long-standing customer relationships, global manufacturing base and talented personnel.”
red   IBM Admits Cloud Foundry Demand “In Its Infancy”
    IBM has admitted demand for the open source initiative Cloud Foundry is "in its infancy", but predicts the collaborative venture will catch and keep developers with the quality of its cloud computing technology. The firm signed up to the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) project last July, and recently was announced as one of the founding members of a forthcoming independent organisation, the Cloud Foundry Foundation, which will oversee the neutrality of the initiative.
Cloud Foundry has emerged as the cloud computing equivalent of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) counterpart OpenStack since its creation in April 2011, and lets developers develop and deploy applications on its PaaS platform. IBM is just one of numerous tech firms to bet on the initiative, and last week announced a $1bn investment to develop its PaaS capabilities.
UK and Ireland CTO of cloud computing, Mark Tomlinson, told CBR: "We're putting a lot of our hopes on Cloud Foundry. The consumption model on Cloud Foundry is very attractive for the developer community because you just build your application and deploy it.
This is a compilation of news from Various dailies, magazines, Trade publications and press releases.