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Category Archives: Chicago White Metal Casting News

CWM Discusses Impact of Proposed New Regulations on Job Growth During Plant Tour with Congressman Peter Roskam

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House Majority Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, a Wheaton IL Republican who represents the state’s 6th Congressional District, toured suburban Chicago businesses recently— later highlighting their plights before members of the local media.

At Chicago White Metal Casting in Bensenville, President and CEO Eric Treiber told the congressman the 240-person company has an employee who dedicates more than half of his time to complying with government regulations.

Regarding proposed new federal regulations Treiber said, “It’s a challenge to remaining competitive and profitable. It means trouble for new jobs and we’re not going to be able to invest in new equipment, new training.”

At a breakfast with the Greater Elgin-O’Hare Association of area businesses, Roskam described the federal government’s interactions with the economy on three broad levels — through legislation, spending and regulation.
“The final area is on the regulatory side, where new regulations can be unnecessary job killers,” Roskam said.

“Everyone is looking for remedies, everyone is looking for solutions on how to create more growth. We’ve got to grow the economy, not just cut government. We can do this.”

(View Video of CWM plant visit by Congressman Roskam.)

Special Report: A Newly Mobilized CWM

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Using Past Recessions to Come Out Strong,
Well-Run Supplier Companies are
Doing it Again

Now that the worst of the most recent serious recession is over, those manufacturing companies that have made it through are likely significantly leaner, more competitive and poised for growth. The efficiency-optimizing, cost-reducing and working-smarter strategies that were required may also have prepared us to flourish when the economy expands.

Those companies that were able to use this period as an opportunity to take a fresh look at their entire production and service operations and execute specific enhancements in critical areas can now look ahead with greater confidence. And if your company hasn’t yet accomplished this, it’s not too late to take stock and initiate action.

Founded in 1937, Chicago White Metal Casting (CWM) was fortunate to have been able to emerge from many previous recession periods with added strength in its Al, Mg and Zn die casting production and related service offerings to OEM customers.

Coming Out of Past Recessions
When thin-wall zinc die casting was being introduced in North America as a lighter-weight alternative to advancing plastics applications, the company was an early adopter of the new approaches to die design and production techniques for zinc.

Despite the fact that magnesium die casting alloy had an extended struggle to establish acceptance by U.S. industry, after extensive research of Mg production in Europe, CWM embraced the alloy and was the first North American custom die caster to install the then latest development of a fast-cycling hot-chamber magnesium die casting machine in its production department in 1978. Today the company operates one of the largest and most advanced custom hot-chamber facilities for precision magnesium die cast components.

When it was clear that CNC machining was becoming the preferred choice for more cost-efficient and flexible post-casting precision machining of die castings, investment was made in an in-house CNC machining department. The differences in the CNC post-casting machining of complex, high-tech die castings, as opposed to CNC machining from billet stock, are significant. Special expertise in CNC preplanning and machining center fixture design is critical to the cost-effective machining of die cast parts.

Routinely involved in delivering simple subassemblies, management saw opportunities among its customers for a move to more comprehensive turnkey programs for complex mechanical and electro-mechanical enclosures. These projects can now incorporate custom parts produced in processes other than die casting as well as procurement of all stock components, with single-source responsibility. The assembly cells for these contract manufacturing services are now housed in a 16,000 sq. ft. air-conditioned facility.

Making the Most of the Tough Years
Not every company is in a position to make additional investments in facilities, equipment and personnel training during tough economic times. On a strict short-term return-on-investment basis the decision is usually to hunker down.

However, if the resources are available and the company is committed to a goal of growth over the long term, this period can be an opportune time to make such investments: equipment may be available at more attractive negotiated pricing; personnel time may be available for training in advanced new skill sets.

Since 2008, CWM has been able to upgrade its capabilities and resources in nearly every area of its OEM customer project workflow: including improved techniques for distributing engineering information; in-house prototyping equipment and die casting die design software and procedures to optimize die construction; the rebuilding of die casting machines to the latest electronics and controls; and new, larger and more flexible CNC machining centers to accommodate a wider range of requirements.

DC2 “Die Cast Design Center”
CWM developed a Die Cast Design Center (DC2), a key focus of our overall website, to be a unique resource of die casting design guides, engineering bulletins and reference resources for OEM product designers, engineers and purchasing specialists. The Design Center is especially useful at the time this information is most needed, in the project planning stage. It now contains over 70 PDF documents that can be downloaded 24/7. Also available for instant viewing are 5- to 15-minute “Design for Die Casting” webinars. An on-site search engine now makes it easy for visiting OEMs to locate specific subjects. The volume of Design Center downloads by OEM managers involved in new product designs and redesigns attests to the usefulness of the resources offered.

In-House Component Prototyping
The latest fused deposition modeling (FDM) machine is now being used to produce rapid prototypes in tough ABS plastic for form, fit and function analysis, and for early general planning guidance for tooling, both in die cavity design and trim die design. FDM models also provide early planning guidance for required die cast part painting and machining operations. When metal prototypes are required, in-house CNC machining of the appropriate alloy is available.

Die Cast Metal-Flow Process Simulation Software
The most advanced die cast process simulation software, the Magmasoft® system, is now in routine use in the CWM engineering department. Die designs can now be optimized based on accurate 3D computer predictions of metal flow in a proposed cavity design, in advance of die construction. Once the Magmasoft® analysis is complete, the process data can be used as input into shot-cycle process monitors on the selected die casting machine. The results are enhanced part quality, reduced porosity, improved die life and lower cycle times.

State-of-the-Art Inspection Equipment
The latest programmable inspection technology is now being used for all first-article inspection and in-process control checks. This new unit, the Scheffield Pioneer CMM machine, with PC-DMIS CAD++ software, allows for inspection programming directly from the CAD model. This system allows complex parts to be measured accurately and quickly, with operator error virtually eliminated.

Post-Casting CNC Machining Center Expansion
The CNC department now numbers over 30 CNC machining centers, with leading edge precision at high spindle speeds. The newest units are more advanced and very flexible in order to facilitate production on a wide range of part sizes and volumes. Equipped with pallet and tool changers, these units allow for machining of multiple parts and operations and offer efficient programming and extreme accuracy and repeatability to assure highest quality parts with shorter lead times. More complex projects, with multiple components, can be managed and completed with a single setup.

Lean Manufacturing Practices to the Next Level
As part of its program of aggressively pursuing best lean practices, CWM has formalized lean manufacturing in its production procedures, incorporating continuing in-house training. The program is based on in-depth investigations of the successful lean programs in place at its largest customers, with successful backgrounds in the formal application of lean manufacturing principles. The program has demonstrated its continuing effectiveness in revealing improvement opportunities.

Ready to More Fully Meet Customer Needs
Your company will have its own strategies and priorities to broaden its appeal to potential customers as it moves into the post-recession economy. That time may not be here just yet, but enhancing its strengths is essential to putting your organization in the best position to be ready to meet the most demanding needs of your customers. ##

Go to: CWM DC2 Die Cast Design Center

Go to: CWM Home Page

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Sheffield Pioneer 8.10.6 CMM Unit to QA Dept.

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CWM’s Quality Assurance Dept. recently installed a Sheffield Pioneer 8.10.6 CMM machine, paving the way to acquiring the latest in sophisticated inspection software technology— PC-DMIS Cad++.

This advanced software integrates directly with 3D CAD modeling, allowing for inspection programming prior to the availability of the die cast product sample. Lead time is greatly reduced in providing a first article inspection report.

Complex parts can be measured very quickly with extreme accuracy and operator error is virtually eliminated.

USA Today: Manufacturing Returning to USA?

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This special August 2010 report in USA Today states that General Electric is moving important production from China to a newly renovated factory in the USA, resulting in 400 jobs. The story highlights a growing band of U.S. manufacturers—including giants such as GE, NCR and Caterpillar—that are reversing the inexorable offshoring movement, bringing return of some new production to the U.S. from far-flung locations such as China.

Other OEMs that were buying components overseas are switching to U.S. suppliers. Ford Motor said August 4 that it was bringing nearly 2,000 jobs to its U.S. plants by 2012 from suppliers, including those in Japan, Mexico and India.

Many reasons for the shifts were reported, often called “onshoring” or “reshoring.” Chinese wages and shipping costs have risen sharply in the past few years while U.S. salaries have stayed flat, or in some cases, fallen in the recession. Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturers have been frustrated by the sometimes poor quality of goods made by foreign contractors, theft of their intellectual property and long product-delivery cycles that make them less responsive to customer demand. Several cite the drawbacks of tying up valuable capital in huge overseas shipments, and want to bring assembly closer to engineers, suppliers and customers, concerns that mounted as makers slashed costs in the downturn. Others are simply weary of midnight phone calls—and multiple annual trips—to Asia.

For complete USA Today story, View & Download T39 .

Also see book review, “Poorly Made in China,” below.

Book Review: “Poorly Made in China”

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Paul Midler, with a background in Chinese studies and history– and hands-on experience working for years in China with Chinese supplier manufacturers– has written a valuable new book, “Poorly Made in China,” with insights into the current world of OEM offshoring there.

Any North American OEM considering offshore sourcing will want to be familiar with the information this interesting businessman-author documents.

For the review of the book, “Poorly Made in China,” from Modern Casting magazine, View & Download T38.

New Appointments Expand CWM Services

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Five new members of the CWM family were announced by President Eric Treiber:

Tom Oshgan, Senior Staff Engineer. Tom served as CWM R&D Engineering Mgr. from 1984 to 1987. He returns to help supervise our Project Engineering Team, develop new tooling sources and provide customers with technical support and design assistance. A degreed Mechanical Engineer, Tom has over 35 years of experience in design and program management with companies including Motorola Communications, ITW Automotive Controls, Fabrik Molded Products, and Eaton Automotive Controls.

Guadalupe Perez, Quality Planning Manager. As our new Quality Planning Manager, Guadalupe draws on decades of quality management experience, including 26 years with Admiral Tool & Manufacturing Co. in Chicago and three years at National Power Corp. He holds two bachelor’s degrees— one in business from Northeastern Illinois University and another in liberal arts from Loop College.

Max Gondek, Sustaining Engineer. In this newly created position, Max is responsible for managing existing tooling systems and helping the manufacturing team address any tooling performance issues. He also supports the production
staff in resolving cycle time and quality issues. A skilled designer, Max holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University.

Donald Simmons, Systems Technician. Focused on keeping our information technology systems running smoothly, Donald works in the MIS department and reports to Network Information System Manager Kalpesh Patel. Donald has a bachelor’s degree from DeVry University in computer information systems and is currently working towards his CompTIA A+ and Network+ technical certifications.

Elizabeth Besch, Support Staff. Elizabeth, who had been serving in a temporary position through Azimuth Staffing, has become an official member of the CWM team. She provides invaluable administrative support to all our departments and helps manage the reception desk.