In 2005, Cape Town-based auto- motive product supplier Cape Manufacturing Engineers (CME) acquired a 100-year-old foundry in the industrial heart of Cape Town and, within the space of two years, CME Foundry has doubled its output.
CME Foundry MD Stuart Norris says that, as the foundry predominantly supplies casting products for the automotive and mining sectors, this growth in output can be attributed to the phenomenal boom that has occurred in both these sectors in recent years.
CME Foundry produces high-quality grey and ductile iron castings for the automotive, commercial- vehicle, mining and general engineering industries.
Norris states that this growth in demand can be partially illustrated by the fact that CME Foundry currently exports five containers a week of automotive castings to the UK alone.
As the international market for automotive casting products
continues to grow, CME Foundry recently applied for, and was
awarded, ISO/TS 16949:2002 certification by the South African
Bureau of Standards (SABS), to go with its ISO 9001:2000
accreditation. With the award of these certificates, Norris explains that the foundry is in a good position to further compete seriously on the global market.
Another initiative recently undertaken by the company to improve production efficiencies in order to further compete internationally was the hosting of the world’s lead- ing casting expert, Professor John Campbell, at the Cape Town foundry.
Campbell was the originator of the Cosworth casting process, the first company process based on zircon sand, filled by electromagnetic pump, for the production of heads and blocks, as now used by Ford/Nemak in Ontario, Canada.
He also assisted in setting up the Alcoa Lingotes foundry, in the UK, which was the first Disamatic foundry producing aluminium alloys using an electromagnetic pump.
For the last 12 years, he has been professor of casting technology at the University of Birmingham, and has done considerable ground-breaking research in the area of castings.
Campbell is the author of over 150 research papers in the field of castings in technical and trade journals worldwide, and has registred about 20 patents.
He runs his own consultancy company, Campbell Technology, through which he assists foundries around the world to improve their casting process.
In an interview with Engineering News, Campbell explains that the current pouring method that is used in the current casting process is a centuries-old technique, and has never been improved upon.
He adds that, with this traditional pouring method, there is a randomness and turbulence built into the piping system, which does not allow for the moulding of perfect casting products on a continuous basis.
However, to remove this random characteristic that is inherent in the current system, Campbell has designed a new liquid-metal pouring and filling system.
According to Campbell, this new system has a new structure of pipes and channels to make the pouring process more reliable, as the new naturally pressurised filling system fills the mould smoothly, not turbulently.
Campbell states that, with the traditional method of pouring, it is common for foundries to work between 5% and 15% scrap, but the reliability of the new filling and pouring system allows for 100% efficiency.On
his recent visit to CME Foun- dry, Campbell altered the foundry’s pouring and filling system, which was causing a considerable number of casting defects.
However, with the implementation of the new liquid-metal pouring system, Campbell believes that new standards of excellence will be achieved by the foundry through efficient production of castings and will potentially attract new inter- national orders, further promoting the growth of the company.