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Worldwide recognition for innovative approach

Recognition for communicating a clear message is how the WFC Best Paper (Technology) Award winner describes her feeling after winning a prestigious award from the World Foundry Organization. 

Having picked up the Best Paper (Technology) Gold Prize at the 74th World Foundry Congress (WFC), Cathrine Hartung from Elkem Silicon Products says it was totally unexpected and a “pleasant surprise” to be recognised for her and her fellow authors’ efforts. “It is really an honour to be recognised as there were so many good presentations and papers. It is a clear message for us that the work we do is of value and of interest to the industry,” she told Foundry Trade Journal.

Although Hartung presented the paper titled ‘Performance comparison of Ca, Ba inoculant vs Ca, Ce inoculant in spheroidal graphite iron castings’ at the WFC in Busan, South Korea in October, she acknowledges the “team effort” taken to present the findings in a clear and concise manner. “Although it was easier for me to attend the WFC from Norway, we work as a team and my colleagues and co-authors Leander Michels and Eivind G Hoel deserve as much credit.”

Hartung, who is a senior R&D engineer in the foundry innovation department of Elkem Silicon Products, has been with the company since 1999 and has thus developed an experienced eye with a good understanding and appreciation of customer needs. “I work on various research projects and technical customer support on special issues or needs for our global customers. I have seen a lot and worked on many different projects with cast iron since I started at Elkem.” She says that whilst many of the challenges remain the same, there are always new ways of looking at them. The team supports markets with technical issues and sometimes Hartung is looking at similar things but with the benefit of new technologies and innovations.

“With cast iron, of course, we are always looking at strength to weight ratio, trying to make stronger materials and improve consistency. Fatigue, impact properties and machinability are important issues for our customers as well as improved wear resistance which makes parts last longer. We work to find solutions packages for various challenges. One of our main tasks is also to help make cast iron as cost effective as possible and to use as little of our products as possible, as this is the most sustainable solution for the customers and for Elkem.

“Another challenge is on the metallurgical side where customers are having to deal with poor quality scrap. We witness that more and more trace elements that were once considered exotic are now becoming more normal and the foundries will have to learn to deal with this. Elkem is working on multiple projects related to understanding the fundamental aspects on how these trace elements work as well as on developing practical solutions for the foundries.”

Hartung says the expertise at Elkem enables the foundry team to “see and anticipate” what will come next. It is the company’s ability to share knowledge between colleagues and customers to offer support and practical solutions that Hartung says elevates the company.

Hartung’s paper is published in the printed version of the Dec 2022/Jan 2023 issue of Foundry Trade Journal.