The extent of automation in Japanese die casting plants is comparable to that in the United States. Cellular concepts predominate. Robots are used to remove gatings and to spray the die with release agents. Parts are generally placed directly into vertical stroke trim presses. In some cases another robot that removes a large casting from the trim press also articulates the casting in front of a stationary grinder to remove additional flash and then palletizes the part.

Ferrous operations are generally less automated than in the United States. Iron pouring was manual.

Automation was observed more at the larger foundries and those owned by original equipment manufacturers. One steel foundry, owned by a heavy equipment manufacturer, plans to automate its high labor finishing operations.

A new investment casting plant the WTEC team visited was highly automated in order to get lowest variable cost for thin wall stainless steel turbocharger castings.

Published: March 1997; WTEC Hyper-Librarian