Business is booming all over the American manufacturing industry, and Eagle Alloy is no exception. We're happy to announce that we're looking to take on multiple new hires in our Muskegon, MI foundry.
Eagle Alloy isn't your average foundry. Sure, we do a lot of casting–we pour stainless steel, carbon steel and nickel alloys–but our company culture is what really sets us apart. We believe in fostering an open and inclusive atmosphere for all of our employees, and we're proud of our stellar reputation within our industry for consistently delivering quality work.
If you're looking for jobs in Muskegon, MI, now is a great time to join our growing team of manufacturing professionals.
Eagle Alloy has been practicing lean manufacturing for close to a decade. Beyond the benefits to productivity and efficiency imparted by lean tools, Eagle companies have come to see lean manufacturing as part of their company culture. The inclusiveness, creativity and quality improvement they’ve been able to foster has paid off dividends, both in workplace atmosphere and customer retention.
Lean implementation makes a more dependable supplier
Almost all the way back at the beginning of Eagle Alloy’s lean journey, about six months into their implementation of cellular manufacturing, the company was already seeing a noticeable productivity boost. They came into contact with a potential customer—we’ll call them Company A—who scheduled a shop tour at Eagle Alloy. Company A was already a successful manufacturer, but their casting supplier had recently gone bankrupt and they were looking for a replacement.
Permanent mold casting is a type of metal casting involving reusable molds. Whereas other casting methods, like sand casting and investment casting, use disposable molds, permanent molds last much longer and can be used to produce hundreds, or even thousands, of identical parts.
Every project can be matched with the ideal casting method. For non-ferrous castings with medium-to-high volumes, permanent mold casting offers a long list of advantages.
Every manufacturer bringing a cast product to market must decide on the right casting process to use. Casting methods like shell molding, greensand casting, investment casting and airset casting all have their own sets of benefits and drawbacks. The right choice depends on the quantity being cast, the size of the part, and the requirements for dimensional accuracy, surface finish and material.
While it's not as widely used as shell molding or greensand casting, airset casting has plenty of advantages, and can be the perfect option for the right product.
Wings of Mercy is a charitable organization based in West Michigan that flies patients to their medical destinations who would not otherwise be able to travel there. Pilots and plane owners donate their time for each mission.
In 1991, Mark, Wayne Jarvis and I chose to offer our company plane to fly patients that Wings of Mercy would refer to us. Since then we have flown over 246,000 miles (about 10 times around the world) and over 1400 hours in the air. We have flown 361 flights since 1991 for Wings. Most flights are to Rochester, MN where the Mayo Clinic is located. We have also flown patients to Denver (a pediatric asthma specialist), Raleigh, NC (lung transfer specialists), Baltimore, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts, as well as many other locations. Wings of Mercy, and their 30 other planes and pilots, fly about 225 charitable flights per year.
The history of lean manufacturing dates back at least to the 1700s, when Eli Whitney developed interchangeable parts in order to deliver a massive order of muskets to the American Army.
It wasn't until 1988 that John Krafcik coined the phrase "lean manufacturing" in his research as an MIT student. For most of the 20th century, lean manufacturing was tied closely to industrial innovations in the United States and Japan. While it wasn't called "lean" for many decades, American and Japanese automakers laid the groundwork for the tools of lean manufacturing that we use today.
Turning has been practiced by machinists for centuries on many different materials. Originally, turning acted on wood to create complex, cylindrical designs for use in tools, handles, furniture. Today, turning is a vital part of the metal manufacturing process, and a major technique used by precision CNC machine shops in the United States and around the globe.
Turning is the process of rotating a workpiece and bringing it into contact with a cutting tool. As the workpiece turns, the rotating motion forces the cutting tool to strip away material. The cutting tool itself can move linearly, either parallel or perpendicular to the axis of the spinning workpiece. Cuts made in turning, and the resulting shape of the workpiece, are determined by the motion and shape of the cutting tool.
Our new blog series What Precision Machine Shops Do focuses on the processes, equipment and knowledge involved in modern machining. We'll take a close look at key metal removal techniques like milling, turning, facing, boring and tapping, along with the many products and parts that work as a result of these processes.
For the most part, we'll be discussing CNC machining, or Computer Numerical Control machining. For a brief introduction to CNC, explaining how it developed and how it differs from non-CNC machining, check out our "Introduction to CNC Machining" blog post.
All metal casting processes have their own unique characteristics. When designing a new part for casting, the most appropriate process should be determined by a number of factors, including:
- Tooling costs
- Labor costs
- Design characteristics
- Desired appearance
The goal of the manufacturer and the supplier should be to find the optimal balance that produces the lowest per-part cost at a given quantity, while meeting or exceeding all quality requirements.
Here, we compare investment casting to three metal casting processes: shell mold casting, greensand casting and permanent mold casting.
In modern metal casting, steel and aluminum are two contenders for the top choice. Thousands of manufacturers around the world rely on both metals to produce strong, light and corrosion-resistant metal parts and products.
You'll find hundreds of different grades and alloys for both steel and aluminum, and each has its specific advantages and disadvantages. For this comparison, we'll focus on differences between aluminum and steel alloys in general, rather than zooming in on differences between specific alloys.