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Monthly archive for November 2009

Casting Design – We Have An App For That

KirkWhen a part design comes in for us to quote, most of the time I receive it to process.  I pull the part file in, log it and review it for manufacturability.  I have done this for a while and I’m rarely surprised at what people are trying to manufacture, but do enjoy seeing the creativity and uniqueness in each design.

More often than not, Graphicast receives part designs to be produced on a CNC machine (if this sounds familiar please look into our DRPS  program).  This scenario can build into the part costly to produce features and design intent.  Once imbedded in the design, these can affect other parts, if not the overall functionality of the unit the part is in.  Far too often, the final manufacturing process is not considered during this early design phase and real problems like space, cost, functionality, and manufacturability become serious issues downstream.  It’s these same problems that caused Albert Einstein to have the hair he had.

Good designs don’t just happen, they are carefully thought out.

Ok, I might not have an “App” for casting design, but I welcome any casting design questions you have.  I would be glad to help, discuss or review any design or manufacturability situations you find yourself in.  Please feel free to contact me directly (sales@graphicast) or respond to this blog so that others can learn from you insight as well.

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Cast Metals Education

GaryAn enjoyable benefit to exhibiting at a trade show is talking to engineering and trade school students who are allowed to attend. For the most part, they are courteous and wait until there is a lull in booth activity before approaching to learn more about your specific casting process. These young men and women are not only our future for manufacturing, but future customer’s as well! One such school is Trine University in Indianna. Check them out at www.trine.edu . As they say, great education also depends upon excellent educators and teaching tools. Perhaps your organization, in some way, can support these fine institutions.

Acres of Seats

Val ZanchukI had the pleasure earlier this week of visiting one of our key customers, Weber Aircraft, in Gainesville, Texas. Weber is the preminent supplier of airline seats to the major airframe manufacturers and airlines. Although we take an airline seat for granted, beneath the fabric is a sophisticated structural engineering masterpiece  (even the fabric is a highly engineered structure!). escutcheonThe seats meet rigorous safety standards and are custom engineered to each airline’s specifications and features.  We make the seat escutcheon, the curved plate at the end of the armrest that your fingers grab if you’re a white knuckle flier. We were able to see hundreds of seats in various stages of production during our plant tour. Weber has a well established lean manufacturing culture and is a strong believer in continuous improvement. We are pleased to be part of their success.

How Does 3D Print Technology Affect Your Business?

KirkFor some,  3D printing has great interest. There is a fascination in developing a solid 3D component on the screen and then watching it get created in thin air.  For others,  it’s the fact that this “thing” did not exist 2 hours ago and now I have one in my hand.  How cool is that?  Technology has come a long way, so much that 3D printing has become incredibility popular.

For those of you that find this technology interesting or would like to know how it fits into our manufacturing process at Graphicast, please see my comment on the LinkedIn, CNC Machining / Manufacturing Network group.

Apple Pie and Continuous Improvement

Val ZanchukI found out in today’s Concord Monitor that I baked the 4th best pie in their pie baking contest. The top five got their recipes highlighted, so my ego was somewhat satisfied, but I would have been more satisfied if I had finished 1st. However, it was my first entry, so I can’t complain.

My pie baking started several years ago as I began my quest for the perfect apple pie. After much research into apple pie filling recipes, pie crust recipes, thickener chemistry, and baking temperature opinions, I started down the path. Many pies later, I’ve got it down to a science. I weigh my ingredients to ensure consistency. I’ve settled on the right combination of apples to give the proper structure and apple flavor permeation.  My wife, who never ate the crust, devours mine. Yet, I still keep my eyes open to new suggestions. I still try recipe variations. I am still  searching for perfection.

I’m on a continuous improvement program for my pies, just as we are for your castings at Graphicast. We’re always looking to improve our process, finding better techniques to manufacture your parts, upgrading our measuring equipment, and training on new software.  Just like the quest for pie baking perfection, manufacturing perfection is a goal that may never be reached, but that doesn’t stop us or frustrate us. We take satisfaction knowing that we’re getting closer every day.

Happy Thanksgiving.  If you’d like to try my pie recipe,  look for the pie link on the Monitor’s homepage under Extra Information.

The Intrinsic Value of Bad Show Food – Design 2 Part Marlborough MA November 4&5

KirkThe economy being what it is these days, there have been questions about how good show attendance will be.  Do people still have jobs?  If they do, is enough staff in the office to “squeak” out and get to a show?  Or is it the opposite, is it so slow people attend because it beats pretending to work all day?   Will those people have any $ to kick off a project?

Getting out there, seeing what’s new, different or flat out better is so important.  Making connections face to face and “seeing it” as opposed to “looking at it” from the screen at your desk has a value much greater than the mileage check and reimbursement for that over priced, over cooked, tasteless piece of pizza you’re going to grab at the show.

The Design 2 Part show in Marlborough Massachusetts was GREAT…!!!  I arrived yesterday at the Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center and it was packed (see my tweet from the show).  There were very few slowdowns in foot traffic. In fact, attendees were walking the show mostly right ’til the end.  The mood was upbeat, connections were being made, and it might have been one of our best shows for leads taken in.  It sure looked like a economic recovery to me.  I had a chance to talk to one of the show personnel (the D2P  people are always great to work with), and she said they had over 1700 attendees walk through the door, and with a few hours left, would certainly hit their goal of 1800 people.

If you had a snapshot of this show you would be hard pressed to say there was an economic slowdown here.  How have your shows been?  What have you seen at the shows you’ve been to?  Let me know what you’re seeing and what shows you’re going to next so I can see you there…!

From the CEO – How’s Business?

Val Zanchuk
We’ve just closed the books on October, and it was the best month we’ve had since last October. While the recession may be over, the recovery is taking its time. Our sales are moving upward, but slowly. We’re seeing activity from a range of customers, and a lot of rush orders, which is telling us inventories are being replenished and sparks of recovery are igniting sections of our market. I’d like to conduct an informal and very subjective view of the economy from your perspective. Please leave your comments and opinions for all of us to see. Let’s see if there’s a consensus on the direction of the economy and the confidence you have in any recovery.

Taking Innovative Casting Technology to Your Bottom Line™

Graphicast Inc.

PO Box 430 36 Knight Street,
Jaffrey, NH 03452
phone: 603-532-4481
fax: 603-532-4261