Shelby C. Bauer–2021 Steel Intern Scholar
I spent this summer with an internship at Regal Cast, Inc., a sand casting foundry in Lebanon, Pa., and subsidiary of PRL, Inc. They mostly produce ferrous castings, ranging from 10 lbs. to 12,000 lbs., for military, nuclear and numerous commercial industries, though they also pour a few non-ferrous alloys as well. Much of my summer included working hands-on in the molding and closing departments. I also shadowed the melt department, which included argon oxygen decarburization (AOD) operations, and witnessed multiple pours a week. These experiences helped me to learn about the basics of sand casting, which sometimes greatly varied compared to my investment casting knowledge from last summer.
With the molding department, I was exposed to setting up rigging for the mold, which included runners and risers. Working with the patterns pre-molding allowed me to observe the patterns and ask questions about their setup and design. By the end of my summer, I was able to understand the basics about the geometry and placement of gating and why chills are used. In the closing department, I learned how molds are prepared to be poured. Included in this department were core placement, mold cleanup and securing the mold. On the molten metal end of the foundry, witnessing the melts and pours for castings gave me an appreciation for the teamwork and awareness that is required to safely and efficiently get the metal tapped at a temperature around 3,000°F, into one or more sand molds as fast as possible.
Some of my projects, all smaller, focused on making the foundrymen’s jobs easier. For example, I had to design and model a material hopper for part of the molding process so that the machine it fed could be placed closer to the molding area. Fortunately, I was able to see the hopper fabricated and placed into production. I also spent time redesigning a grinding gauge for our upgrade shop, which was quoted at 1/3 of the price of the original gauge design. Finally, I was tasked with writing procedures for some of the processes in the foundry. I provided a different perspective on what I felt should be included and in what manner because I, like someone else who will need to one day use these procedures, was initially new and unfamiliar with the processes.
Going into this internship, I hoped to build on my knowledge of the foundry industry, and I feel I have far exceeded my expectations. I would like to thank Regal Cast, PRL, and all the people I have worked with, both in the engineering department and on the floor, for an educational and hands-on internship. This experience, coupled with my initial exposure last summer, tells me that the foundry business is a manufacturing industry that fits me well.