Science at the Foundry with John Greene

Tuesday, August 24, 2021 | Blackbird TV

John Greene of FL Sales Inc. joins David to discuss foundry laboratories, and the science found at foundries.

About this segment of Blackbird TV

Guest: John Greene, President, FL Sales Inc.. To learn more about our guest, visit, or call 440-498-8484.

Recorded: September 28, 2020

Published: August 24, 2021

Segment transcript

The laboratory in a foundry is an interesting place What are they doing in there? Oh, a myriad of different things you can do anything from testing the tensile strength of the metal, meaning how hard it is to pull apart and break. You can be testing your sand, your molding sand, you can be testing your core sand for a lot of different things. They test it for sand strength permability. There’s just a long, long list of things that are done in the lab. You have a spectrometer which would be testing for all of the elements in your metal when you pour it. So there’s a lot more that goes on. I mean, when you think about a foundry, it’s one of the oldest, you know, industries. I mean, they’ve been casting and pouring metal for centuries And then there’s this laboratory. So there’s a lot that really goes into this that that may not meet the eye. How do they test for those kinds of things? Five hundred years ago, before they had an instrument or a spectrophotometer or these other things, or do they just it was it was it more of an art than a science then? It was more of an art and a learning curve. You know, let’s just take swords, for example. I mean, there were certain makers of swords back many, many, many years ago. They were very brittle. So they had to learn how to not make them brittle. They did that by trial and error, basically. Now, I mean, you have such sophistication in a foundry, for example, they test the metal as it comes to the foundry for radiation. They’ve got X-ray radiation detectors as they bring the metal into the foundry. They have a different mix of metal, depending on what you’re making. You don’t just use iron. You might use iron scrap. You might use returned. You might use some pig iron. You might use ferrosilicon or thermal Molly or all these different additives to get different features in your metal from strength the durability, to even some flexibility so that they don’t break on you. It’s almost like baking. Right? Yeah. I mean, they’re precise mixes, quite honestly. You know, you have to get to a certain temperature. In almost all the foundries, the first thing they do is they take a sample of the molten metal before they pour it in the mold and make sure that all the qualities and the quantities are exactly where want them to be. You know, whether it be 20 percent of chrome or five percent of. chrome And that’s why a spectrometer is very, very needed in a foundry operation. Really interesting stuff. It’s fascinating, and to the average Joe walking down the street looking at that manhole cover, which is an example of a casting. You wouldn’t even think that they’d have to have that much technology behind it. When they first imported those castings from China, that was the problem they had, is they didn’t have quality, you know, like Neenah Foundry, which is the biggest manhole cover manufacturer, I believe, in the world, I think. I’ve been to their foundries. They have all the sophisticated laboratory equipment that you could even imagine. Interesting stuff. John Greene, FL Sales, thanks for your time. Thank you, David.