Thursday, March 6, 2008

Factory #70 Engine Block Pouring

Expandable version 1935.

This and the photo above is actually in the first foundry #20 built by Buick on Oakland Street (Leith St. now).  

First Iron Poured In Factory #20 Foundry.  Factory #20 The Buick Foundry  Factory #20

Expandable version.







This large collection of jumbled castings appear to be scrap. 
This shows how the Buick engine blocks were poured. I don't know the direction because I never ventured in here but Jim Yuill stated the line for pouring was against the west wall.  ....jim yuill said...
The pouring of blocks occurred on 3 and 4 line. The ladles held enough 2600 degree molten iron to pour about 9 block molds. The production speed was 200 molds per hour with 35 employees. A pyrometer man checked the temperatures to make sure the iron was "hot" enough although visual sighting would enable it to be checked as well, "from experience".  ........ Leonard Thygesen remembers...Details for pic of pouring loop, Jim Yuill text below photo. He's correct on all info. I'm sure that is 4 line looking south. Those little containers on floor, lower right, that is where left over molten iron was poured into. The operator knew how many molds he could pour. And not wanting a mold to be half poured, he would stop the pour into the mold and pour excess into those containers.
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Note: Because the engine block required so much iron, the moisture in the mold would finally escape causing a small explosion. Not dangerous, but startling when or if you were not aware when walking past. The sand mixed for the molds was moist, necessary for the cope and drag molds to hold their shape. Cope was top, drag was the bottom.

Back to those floor containers. Don't know any specific name for them... possibly ingots.

Those ingots were reused after cooling. In the winter months I used to warm my hands over those cooling ingots.

Those vertical grooved vents behind the line sucked the smoke and heat off the line. Because of the huge volume of air removed by that ventilation system, the areas on the floor near by in winter would not be very warm, thus the warming of hands.

That ventilation system was much appreciated in summer months!  

One did not linger near that area if both lines were pouring. Sparks would always be flying around this area.

They filled the pouring ladles at the south end of each line. An overhead crane car would deliver the hot iron from the cupola area.

That operator had a manually operated bell he (was supposed to ring) rang if passing over you. Didn't always happen!

The overhead rail ran from the copulas and weaved it's way north and then west to each line. Time was of essence. If the iron cooled too much, it could not be poured but had to be reheated and tested.

Another note. They would take a small sample of hot iron from each new melt from the large ladle, and pour it into a small mold. When cooled they would test it for various properties. Those small triangular pieces 'may' have been sent to  metallurgy for further testing.  That happened for each new melt. Trying to remember, but I'd say they were about 6-8 inches in length. So as to make it easier to break it in half and examine the internal structure. Any other theories beyond that would be conjecture on my part. 

After checking properties this guy would sometimes add some granular substance to get the carbon content right. I'm thinking it was chromium, not sure. 

Back to crane operator. 

That operator had some sharp turns heading to the pouring lines.  If his crane ladle was too full, some would spill out on the 90 degree corners. Pretty sight to see from a distance. Not so pretty up close and personal.

For a new person working in the foundry for the first few weeks, that whole system and area was fascinating to watch when all the lines were pouring.  Working there off and on for two years was as close to HELL as I ever want to be.

All the men involved in the pouring of iron had special dark goggles because that molten iron was so hot/bright it would blind you. Also worn for safety.

That's my remembrance from years 1967 and 1975... Life in The Buick Foundry.







1 comment:

jim yuill said...

The pouring of blocks occured on 3 and 4 line. The ladles held enough 2600 degree molten iron to pour about 9 block molds. The production speed was 200 molds per hour with 35 employees. A pyrometer man checked the temperatures to make sure the iron was "hot" enough although visual sighting would enable it to be checked as well from experience.