Eagle Alloy was lively and bustling on Thursday, October 4th. That's no surprise: our Muskegon, MI campus is regularly buzzing through three shifts a day, five days a week. But this particular day brought in a larger crowd than usual: in celebration of Manufacturing Day 2018 we opened our campus to local schools and community representatives for a demonstration of modern metalcasting.
The goal of Manufacturing Day is to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, and we wanted to support that goal any way we could. By inviting students to witness our work firsthand, we aimed to provide an introduction to modern metalcasting and manufacturing. After nearly 40 years in business, we understand the importance of letting young people know about the exciting potential of metalcasting careers.
We invited teachers and students from four local high schools as well as students and administrators from Muskegon Community College. The Muskegon Chamber of Commerce sent a representative, as did a local news outlet (check out their video of the tour here). Attendees donned safety glasses and headed into our production facility for a demonstration of the work our engineers do, and the things our engineers need to know.
Top: Eagle Alloy engineer demonstrates solidification simulation; bottom: Eagle Alloy engineer demonstrates inspection using a handheld laser scanner
Our intention was to illustrate the level of technology used in the metalcasting industry today. Eagle Alloy's approach to metalcasting takes advantage of state-of-the-art software that helps us detect and correct casting issues before sampling. We also utilize advanced quality control methods, including X-rays, MPI and laser scanning to ensure that our products conform to tolerances both inside and out. Eagle Alloy staff demonstrated all of these technologies, as well as one of our newest additions to the shop floor: a robotic grinding station.
We at Eagle Alloy get to witness these awe-inspiring processes nearly every day, but for many of the students in attendance, this tour was their first exposure to metalcasting. Watching them take in the presentations, from the spectacle of steel pouring to the technical side of product design and inspection, it was clear that the experience left an impression.
Hopefully the students who joined us for Manufacturing Day will leave with not only a better idea of how the metalcasting process works, but also with a sense of the challenging, rewarding careers that metalcasting offers. I could tell them all about my own 30-plus years of experience with Eagle Alloy, and how there's nowhere I'd rather be, but it's better to let them see for themselves. For me, that's what Manufacturing Day is all about.
Jeff Cook is Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Eagle Alloy in Muskegon, MI. While enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, he began working at Eagle Alloy in 1986 as a snag grinder on 3rd shift after his father told him to “Get a job!” Jeff is past President of the American Foundry Society. His passions include educating young people on the careers and advancement available in the metalcasting industry.