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Measured a great success

Record-breaking numbers attended the EICF Workshop held in Brno in May, where 155 attendees heard fourteen presentations from industry experts and suppliers tackling the subject of ‘Inspection Capabilities for Tomorrow’s Foundry.’

EICF chairman, Steve Irwin, Rolls Royce, welcomed delegates to the event saying: “Events like these are great for networking, particularly when there is such a good level of attendance. The topic we have selected has proved popular – casting is often described as a black art, mysterious and difficult to control, but this is nonsense. Metals and materials obey the laws of physics. What it is though, is complex; no two castings are exactly the same and there are many variables. During the event we shall hear from a range of companies all working to quantify, measure and control this process.” He also thanked sponsors for their support – gold sponsors, Ross and Catherall; silver sponsors, Lanik sro and Remet UK; as well as supporters the Blayson Group, IMC and Imerys Refractory Materials.

This sentiment was echoed by keynote speaker Prof Ing Milan Horácek, CSc, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, who reminded delegates that whilst investment casting is the oldest casting process, it is also the process that has seen and continues to see the greatest level of innovation and technological development. Globally the process increased by around seven to eight per cent last year, he said, with customers valuing the accuracy levels achievable, particularly for small parts, and also the design freedom that it offers.

With a full day of speakers on topics ranging from surface inspection and optical metrology of parts, to process variation and risk reduction, a recurring theme was data. Old systems were described, by Dr Steve Leyland, Unipol, and Dr Rajesh Ransing, Swansea University, as static. With dynamic systems there is now much more information available and the opportunity to have in-line and real-time data with iterative loops to allow processes to operate within set control parameters, with parameter logging. Delegates discussed Industry 4.0 and the impact this is already having and will continue to have over the coming months and years. Through the effective and more importantly, relevant use of data, the risk of producing scrap castings can be reduced but this also means that there is “nowhere to hide,” said Leyland. 

Alongside the workshop, delegates were able to network in an adjacent exhibition area, and choose from a selection of industrial works visits to either the aluminium investment foundry Alucast sro, PBS Velka Bites or to filter and core manufacturer Lanik sro. 

Of course, no visit to the Czech Republic would be complete without a trip to a brewery, and delegates were welcomed for an evening at the Starobrno Brewery, enabled by gold sponsor Ross and Catherall, with each delegate being offered a commemorative glass beer mug to take home.

Next year’s EICF European Conference will be held in Porto, Portugal, between 22nd and 25th April 2018.