(Thanks to Foundry Management and Technology for this post May 7, 2016 by G. Srivastava and R.C. Kothari.)
Part 3 of 4.
You’ll be surprised to learn how much commonality exists between the circumstances of a farmer and a foundryman.
We invite you to spend a few minutes on a journey through the past and present, to prove to you that farmers and foundrymen are very much alike, and that each merits every consideration for easy and assured availability of resources and respect. To justify this we have deliberated closely on similarities between their two different avocations, with the purpose of persuading foundrymen, and to add a moment of levity to the otherwise a dry routine of challenges we face every day. We hope it will bring some amusement to you, too.
Mr. Srivastava and Mr. Kothari are both degreed professionals at work in the foundry industry in India.
Product yield measures output
The most important parameter for both the undertakings is yield. In farming, the harvest is measured as tons per unit area, and in metalcasting it is measured as the percentage of metal forming the finished part from of all metallics used in its production. There are other productivity parameters that are measured too, but the yield is the maximum contributing factor in the viability calculations.
Both farming and metalcasting, unfortunately, have yet to arrive at truly reliable scientific and technical bases for documenting knowledge and solutions. In spite of extensive research, logical reasoning and standardization over a long period, the stakeholders have to live with approximation, something similar to fuzzy logic. To illustrate: while calculating two plus two, instead of arriving at a perfect four one gets something close to four, and this approximate value becomes the rule of the game. A stage of reaching a perfect enduring solution is yet to be achieved in both agriculture and metalcasting. The efforts to achieve a perfect solution are continuing — but neither can that outcome be predicted.
Though the applicable science or technology remains unclear, in spite of all the research and trials — to-date and ongoing — anyone who knows the intricacies of these undertakings, and their effects on quality and productivity in the respective fields will prove to have the greatest advantage. The techniques that to an outsider seem simple to master are, in reality, the sum of the knowledge of where, what and how things can go wrong. Those who have this knowledge, or take help of knowledgeable advisors have done better, and gained substantially. Spending money for scientific and technical knowledge is always a wise and sustainable investment, with quick and finite results.
Both farming and metalcasting have long relied on a large labor force to complete operations. Over time, however, involving industrialization and modernization, each endeavor has kept focusing on creating ways to reduce the labor component. It has helped to reduce labor, but to a limited extent, but both activities will remain labor-intensive. The systems that are viable and acceptable by are semi mechanized.
Reliance on human involvement
Fully automated technologies, even if created, cannot be made financially viable – except perhaps in developed countries where labor cost is quite high. Due to the high level of human engagement required for these activities to succeed, there still remains the possibility human error. A major part of a manager’s function relates to avoiding these mistakes, and keeping their influence on the process to a bare minimum.
Lowest end of the supply chain
For both farmers and foundrymen, the produce of their work represents nearly the lowest end of their respective supply chains. A farm’s produce is the start of the food supply chain …
Prime producers, but last in consideration
Castings may be seen at the lowest end of an Industrial supply chain. In most cases, the product of both farming and metalcasting cannot be used in their basic form: they must be processed further, thus the subsequent different steps in the supply chains, before they can be made really useful and ready for utilization.
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