In Chapter 2, Melting and Handling, Diran Apelian discusses what he considers the most critical components in the overall metal casting operation: the melting of the metal and the process of liquid metal handling. By comparing and contrasting industrial practices, as well as research and development activities observed during site visits in both Japan and Europe, Prof. Apelian has reached many interesting conclusions. In addition, in this chapter he relates his observations of Japanese and European activities to those found in the United States.

Japanese R&D on New Cast Alloys and Materials, Chapter 3 written by H.W. Hayden, reports findings on active R&D efforts in the Japanese casting companies directed to the development of new cast alloys and materials, new ceramic and cermet materials for application by the foundry industry, and major new process/product developments such as amorphous metals and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) effects on the continuous casting of steel rolling ingots. This chapter also presents initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and R&D on new materials and process/product technologies that were discussed in visits to Japanese universities, research institutes, and industry. In the many industrial visits, the WTEC team observed a range of approaches to R&D. Some of the organizations were entirely involved in production. Others were involved in both process and new product programs.

The next chapter, Metal Mold Casting by Diran Apelian, discusses casting technologies in which the mold cavity is made of a metallic material. In order to establish a context for this discussion, he first makes several observations regarding metal mold castings in the United States. He then proceeds to give detailed observations of these technologies as found in Japan and Europe during the panel's site visits.

The fifth chapter, Japanese and European New Cast Product Development by Paul H. Mikkola, reports findings on new cast products being developed in both Japan and Europe. Product development in both of these areas is driven by the casters' motivation to increase their business or to add to the value chain for the companies involved. In no case did we find governmental assistance to companies in the area of process development or in new cast materials and alloys.

Sand casting historically has been the most popular casting method, producing by far the greatest tonnage of castings used in any country. In the United States, the application of new sand casting processes has occurred at steady rates. In Chapter 6, Specialized Sand Casting Technologies, Thomas S. Piwonka assesses the current state of innovation in the field of sand casting in Japan and Europe. In addition, he gives an analysis of the U.S. standing in this field compared to Japan and Europe.

In Chapter 7, Current Investment Casting Technology, Thomas S. Piwonka looks at the U.S. precision investment casting industry, which developed during the Second World War. He goes on to examine the Japanese investment casting industry, which began after World War II and then developed initially at a slow pace. He goes into detail regarding two foundries visited by the panel, the Nakatsugawa plant of Daido Precision Parts and the Yamagata Seimitsu Chuzo foundry built by CADIC Corp.

Advances in Manufacturing and Processing, Chapter 8 by Dennis Bertram, assesses the state of manufacturing in Japan: how the Japanese use foundry processes, specialized equipment, alloys, human resources, and the collective knowledge of the R&D people to fulfill the casting needs of the customer.

In the last chapter, Employment, Environment and Energy Issues, by Thomas S. Piwonka, the issues of employment, the environment, and energy -- important to all manufacturing enterprises -- are scrutinized as they concern the casting industries of Japan and Europe. These issues underlie much of the competitiveness of any nation's foundry industry, so it is instructive to see how the Japanese and European foundry industries cope with them.

Appendices to this report include biographies of the WTEC panelists (Appendix A), site reports for each of the visits the team made in Japan and Europe (Appendices B and C, respectively), and a glossary of terminology used throughout the report (Appendix D).

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Published: March 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian