Author Archive for VGAdmin

Cost Estimator for Specialty Foundry Equipment


Vulcan Engineering Co., an established Manufacturer and Integrator of Foundry Equipment and Systems including Foundry Processing Equipment, Robotics, and Grinding equipment for the Foundry Industry located in Northern Shelby County is seeking an Estimator to interact with Sales, Project Management and Design Engineers to develop cost estimates. The correct individual must have a desire to understand how things work mechanically and control-wise and use this knowledge during the development of estimates. Good communication skills are a must as the successful individual will be interacting with Sales Engineers, Project Managers, Design Engineers, Vendors and Company Management.

This position requires a minimum of 2 years of estimating experience in a design, manufacture and installation environment and also a minimum of a 2-year technical degree. Must have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office with an emphasis on Excel along with basic knowledge of AutoCAD with the ability to read, interpret and prepare takeoffs of both concept and historical mechanical drawings.

Please provide a brief summary about yourself (or cover letter) along with your resume, salary history, and salary requirements via email to or fax to (205) 663-1493. Please be sure to title the subject field as “Cost Estimator

Foundry Systems Sales Engineer

Foundry Sales Engineer

Vulcan Engineering Co., Helena Alabama, is searching for seasoned qualified foundry experienced candidates to expand their Worldwide sales and marketing presence.

Successful candidate must be a confident self-starter with several years of foundry experience. Plant engineering and capital project development experience a major plus. Manufacturing experience also an advantage. Must be able to comfortably maneuver in foundry sites globally developing and discussing upgrades, expansions and improvements in both Green Sand and Nobake processes. Vulcan “solutions” will include not only equipment designed and built within the large manufacturing site at Vulcan… but also the integration and commissioning of all other foundry equipment provided by other OEMs as well.

Must be able to conceive, develop, and promote not only new Greenfield sites, but also modernization and upgrade plans for existing facilities. Total project solution and development requires initial travel to and from foundry sites primarily in North and South America. Occasional limited involvement in other regions on an as needed supportive basis.

Vulcan Engineering supplies a range of specialized “solutions” for the metal casting industry including but not limited to integration of sand coolers, sand handling equipment, mold handling systems, and specialized heavy duty equipment for the metal casting industry. Focus directed not only to experienced design and custom supplied and manufactured equipment, but also the integration and commissioning of the same. On site foundry audits performed with a sharp focus on process controls in Green Sand and Nobake. Although Robotics, Investment Cast, Lost Foam, and large grinding systems are a core portion of the diversified Vulcan line of equipment, THIS position will focus primarily on the development of traditional Green Sand and Nobake applications.

Please provide a brief summary about yourself (or cover letter) along with your resume and salary requirements via email to or fax to (205) 663-1493. Please be sure to title the subject field as “Foundry Systems Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer


sales-engineerVulcan Engineering Co., an established manufacturer and integrator of Foundry Equipment and Systems including Foundry Processing Equipment, Robotics, and Grinding equipment for the Foundry Industry is seeking a Sales Engineer to interact with our North American customers.

The position requires experience selling equipment and systems to the foundry industry or similar experience selling capital equipment/projects to other industries, basic word processing and spreadsheet skills, and travel. An engineering degree and working experience with AutoCAD is a plus. Competitive salary and benefits.

Please provide a brief summary about yourself (or cover letter) along with your resume and salary requirements via email to or fax to (205) 663-1493. Please be sure to title the subject field as “Sales Engineer


Foxall® Offers Major Benefits to Benton Foundry’s Cleaning Operations

Foxalls Installed

Benton FoundryBenton Foundry in Benton, Pennsylvania USA, is a state-of-the-art ductile and gray iron, green sand foundry. Their six automatic molding centers produce industrial castings which can be very intricate with up to 50 chaplets in a four-core assembly. The Foundry has been in production for more than 160 years and the Hall family has been in the foundry industry for nearly 100 years.

In 2006, as a result of significant growth and a desire to further improve efficiency, Benton began evaluating its finishing processes. Benton foresaw the approaching change in demographics, recognizing that finishing room personnel were going to be more difficult to hire and even harder to retain. As an added challenge, one of the reasons for their growth is that they were expanding their market focus, adding a new molding line that would accommodate castings up to 250 lbs. The finishing area was not set up to accommodate castings of that size efficiently, and manually handling castings over 50 lbs. would not be part of the plan.

After successfully working with Vulcan Engineering in the past, Benton began the process of adapting the Foxall® Automated Casting Finishing cell to fit their finishing needs. Several parts were sent to Vulcan for evaluation and testing. Then, Vulcan worked with Benton’s team to fixture, program and grind the parts. President of Benton Foundry, Jeff Hall, stated that, “… a great benefit was having three of our employees at Vulcan for several days getting familiar with the process.”

Once the Foxall® was installed, the desired production was achieved with much more consistent parts. Fixturing and programming could be accomplished easily, quickly and inexpensively. The retention of operators over grinders has been a success, and abrasive costs were also greatly reduced. The robotic grinder’s closed capture ventilation was an added asset. This feature later proved to be an even greater potential advantage in light of the proposed silica regulations.

Foxalls InstalledIn 2010, Benton installed a second Foxall® system. This particular unit was the first unit that Vulcan equipped with Force Control. This technology monitors the force on the spindle, allowing the robot to be programmed to run faster than units without this feature. Also, the use of Force Control helps to protect the robot from mechanical abuse that could lead to costly repairs.

Benton recently added two more units, including a larger Foxall® 636 unit that further exceeded expectations, and significantly reduced the payback period when grinding castings up to 250 lbs. “Generally, the larger the casting, the greater the productivity improvement. On the large end of our production envelope, we have had two operators replace seven floor grinders. In addition to time savings, both casting finish and consistency of grind have improved. The former floor grinders have been redeployed and the grinding room is a quieter, cleaner venue,” said Jeff Hall.

Throughout the industry: floor, bench, and stationary grinding have historically been very labor intensive with positions predominately held by men. Robotic grinding is a game-changer in that regard. Operator fatigue is decreased, safety is increased and fewer personnel are needed. Plus, it is easier to find employees for machine operators than for manual grinders. The work is generally suitable for men and women of all ages, thus significantly increasing the pool of potential candidates to run these systems.

Quality Control at Benton has experienced a decrease in parts that need to be reworked and/or scrapped since the dimensional consistency of ground parts has greatly improved. This decrease in unacceptable parts is also due to having steady, accountable operators. Jeff Hall says, “The robotic cells are there every day, never take a shortcut, and remember all their instructions.”

Over the years, Benton has improved the process of automation in their cleaning room by:

  • Adding hoists and other equipment for faster and easier material handling.
  • Continuing to work with Vulcan Engineering on additional features and programming options for their Foxall® systems.
  • Working with individuals in the abrasives industry to be able to grind faster, longer and more accurately while using a variety of tools.

Currently, Benton is operating four (4) Foxall® units. Benton Foundry has an objective to continue their efforts to improve automation, while streamlining the existing cleaning and grinding operations to be able to robotically grind ~70% of all product within the next 3-4 years.


Benton Foundry, Inc.
5297 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814-7641 | 570-925-6711 |

Updated Foxall® Controls for Improved Finishing Technology

HMI-Overview-650x365Vulcan has recently made several updates to the Foxall® with new system controls and an operator interface that is more user-friendly than ever. This system has always offered simple programming (online or offline), but now software updates make it more efficient and easier to use.

The operator interface features a touch screen HMI where the operator can access Equipment I/O status, Recipe Management, Alarms and PM reminders, Password Protection, and has the ability to connect to the customer’s network. Another advantage is Remote Online Diagnostics which permits Vulcan real-time remote access to the control system and all parameters/programs. This simplifies diagnostics and support while minimizing down-time.

An optional Force Control Function allows the next level of adaptability and optimization. This tool improves grinding efficiency by using a force/torque sensor mounted between the robot and the spindle. Now the system can automatically change TCP speed in response to feed force, therefore improving material removal rate and accuracy.

Additional system updates include:

  • Live view interior camera to safely monitor the system while in operation
  • New Software for simplified upgrades
  • Software is not OS-dependent, Java based for compatibility
  • Updated Hardware
  • All Electrical components that are off the shelf and readily available
  • Safety measures that meet current industry standards
  • Industrial computer with touch-screen operator interface

Existing, proven technology and features:

  • Simple part fixturing
  • Bar code that allows for automatic program loading
  • Six degrees of freedom that provides virtually unlimited access of the robot to the part
  • Facilitates fast fixture change
  • Ample program storage
  • Optional automatic quick-change spindle that accepts an array of tools as needed
  • Self-contained construction and simple utility hookup that allows for easy relocation with no calibration or re-teaching necessary to restart production.
  • Off-line programming during production

Together these updates and the existing technology allows several advantages such as monitoring of machine and operator performance through information such as production numbers and cycle times. It is also simple enough to use that operators can be trained in just a few hours. The improved control system, in addition to its already flexible design, makes the Foxall® one of the best options on the market for automated casting finishing cells.
If you want to provide fast, reliable, consistent product finishing or would like to learn more information on the Foxall® and its capabilities, please visit the Foxall® page.

High Capacity Rollovers

Donovan High Capacity RolloverDonovan™ Mold Handling equipment is designed to handle, roll over and close cope, drag or complete molds or flasks. This equipment can hold different molds level regardless of center of gravity. Vulcan Engineering has built capable hydraulic systems that can run continuously without overheating. Self-contained hydraulics ensure low maintenance, trouble-free operation.

Securely hold molds for core setting, venting, cleaning and closing, without loss of position. Eliminate the use of belts and chains by employing the long-wearing gear drive. Systems and equipment are available for use on molds with flasks as well as flaskless (nobake) molds.

This particular Gantry Style Rollover is designed to move over a conveyor to draw the flask package, lift and move the flask to a coating area. Once there, the Rollover will rotate the flask 70 degrees to allow for manual coating of the mold. After coating, the rollover will move the flask to another conveyor and set the flask on a bottom board to transfer to curing. As with any Vulcan product, we can customize this equipment to fit your foundry’s needs.

Increase Safety in Cut-Off Technology

Vulcan Engineering incorporates the latest in advanced safety features while still offering reliable efficient equipment.

Fox Air Float - CuttingThe Fox® Air Float Cut-Off machine is ideal for gate and riser removal on small to medium size castings, or castings on runner bars or trees. It is well suited for processing castings that are too heavy for operators to handle, as the air float feature makes moving large weights almost effortless. Compressed air is used to “lift” the gondola to allow the operator to “float” it around the table, and use the laser guide to align the casting into the proper cutting position. Once in position, a vacuum is used to securely hold it in place during cutting. The saw uses hydraulic down pressure for fast efficient removal of risers and gating.

The saw shown is designed to be installed in its own room; other models are available with full enclosures for installation around other workers Fox® grinding and cutting equipment has proven reliability, and is designed to work effectively in rugged, dirty foundry environments. Precise cutting and efficient processing is only part of the design, to truly enhance this system Vulcan has added several advanced safety features.

  • Rotary Wheel Guard: This machine incorporates a rotating wheel guard. This allows the operator to move, re-align, and change castings safely without having to turn off the motor each time. The wheel guard technology includes sensors that are connected to a safety circuit. When pulling the handle down to start cutting the guard opens, allowing the operator to perform a cut.
  • Operator Safety Door: The operator safety door has a Lexan window with an easily replaceable Plexiglas splatter shield. This allows the operator to be protected from debris while still being able to see the material being cut. The safety door is interlocked with the safety circuit allowing the saw to only be operated when it is closed.
  • Operator Console with Safety Lockout Key: When the operator has to change the cutting wheel, the system must be shut down. To ensure all operations are powered off or de-energized, a safety key is incorporated into both the console and the outer wheel guard. The safety key must be inserted into the dead bolt lock on the wheel guard to allow the guard to be opened to change the wheel. Once the wheel is changed and the guard properly closed, the key can be removed and inserted into the control console allowing the saw to operate again.
  • E-Stop Functionality: There are 3 different E-Stop switches that can be utilized in this system. There are two push-button stops, one on the operator console and the other located on the electrical panel. The third option is an emergency kick switch tied to the E-Stop system for quick, hands free use.

All of the above features, as well as incorporating redundant safety shutoff valves with monitoring, make this one of the safest cut-offs on the market.

Multiphase Plant Upgrades & Expansion

Progress well underway for multiphase plant upgrades and expansion to Lodge Manufacturing Company.

Lodge Manufacturing Company, South Pittsburg, Tennessee, has begun a multiphase plan for expansion and upgrades to their existing, highly successful foundry. “This is more massive than anything we’ve ever done before,” stated Henry Lodge, President & COO of Lodge Manufacturing and great grandson of the business founder, Joseph Lodge. “We are excited and we need this additional production.”

Lodge Sand System Upgrades“In 2009 we looked at five year projections showing sales would exceed current production capacity by 2015. That is when preliminary discussions started about our expansion,” Lodge stated. With this realization, Lodge had to consider current needs as well as future goals. In addition to a significant increase in capacity there would need to be ongoing considerations to maintain employee safety, increase the effective use of labor, enhance operational efficiency and provide for continuous product quality improvements overall while still allowing for future growth.

Lodge approached Vulcan Engineering Co. to discuss the next steps in making expansion a reality. With a history of working with Vulcan on past projects, Lodge took into consideration the relationships built over the years as well as the consistency of work; from sound industry advice to the quality of process planning and engineering. “Clearly Vulcan has plenty of knowledge and experience. They work to identify the potential problems and bring them to us; we don’t have to find them later,” said Henry. “I knew we could trust them with this job, and I can sleep a lot easier,” stated Michael Whitfield, Lodge Vice-President.

“Vulcan listened to our needs and goals for the future. They developed two different approaches to achieve our desires, allowing us to decide which method would be the best fit. Our main operational requirements were that the foundry could not shut down during construction and that the newly expanded foundry be designed in such a way to allow for additional growth in the years ahead,” Whitfield stated. “Once we selected the plan Vulcan developed a reasonable, economic plan utilizing three distinct phases to achieve our overall goals. The design was a structured approach to maintain ongoing existing capacity while installing the infrastructure for our future capacity requirements.”

Installed Melting SystemPhase I began with the addition of new melting capacity by expansion and additions to the foundry building in such a way as to not only avoid disruption of existing operations, but also improve melting efficiency and material flow through the process. The new melting systems and metal delivery equipment began production earlier this year. The initial phase will complete later this year with the startup of additional high volume fully automated sand, molding, pouring and casting handling systems.

Phase I also incorporates all design and equipment specifications to allow for future expansions which will ultimately replace all existing molding lines with new, state of the art, higher output equipment. With this design approach each additional phase completed will further enhance efficiency and output of casting production. For each additional expansion, an entire molding system will be replaced and prepared sand capacity will be increased for the additional demand created. Although prepared sand and casting tonnage will be increasing with each additional phase, the Phase I handling equipment has been designed and installed with the capacity to accommodate full future demand of the foundry through Phase III.

Lodge Interior Panorama“With Phase I of the project nearly finished, Lodge is on track to continue with this plan of updating and expansion over the years to come. This will also make work easier on our employees in terms of environment and safety. The layout leaves plenty of room to work.” In closing, Henry Lodge stated, “The biggest plus is being able to meet customer demand. Customers, it’s all about the customers! We can be comfortable growing the business and accept new customers when we are confident we can meet the increased demand while also having the utility to grow even more. While it is all about the customer, it is our hard working and dedicated employees who have built the Lodge brand through quality workmanship. We are not doing this just for now, we are thinking about 10-20-30 years ahead.”

The Power of a Robot in a Man’s Hand

Since Vulcan Engineering Co. launched to the new VTS™ (Vulcan Tactile System) in January of last year, there have been many questions. Vulcan has been using the phrase “Robotic/Manipulator” because it just seemed to fit. However, this might have caused a few bewildered looks. Simply, the VTS™ is the best of both worlds and can be used as a Robot or as a Manipulator.

Some have seen images of the system and quickly assume that this is just another way to use robots for automation… not quite. Although the VTS™ utilizes an industrial robot, this system is not just for programming and walking away while the robot does the rest (albeit, that is one of its capabilities). We in this industry know what industrial robots can do, so what’s different about the VTS™?

VTS Inside with OperatorUsing leading edge robotic/manipulator technology paired with Vulcan’s specialized hand control system, this telemanipulator allows the operator to manually control the robot’s movements. That means the operator moves the robot simultaneously with his hand movements for a true “hands on” experience. Some might compare this to jogging with a teach pendant, but Vulcan’s hand control system is very different.

First, the operator’s hand position likewise commands the robot’s “hand” (tool) position. Unlike jogging with the teach pendant (velocity control mode) that is difficult to coordinate motions of multiple axes, the VTS™ controls provide very smooth and precise movements. Movements can be scaled up or down as needed for the task at hand. One might say it moves with surgical precision. Secondly, there is force sensing at the robot’s tool that is transmitted back to the operator’s hand. This provides a feel of the forces the operator is applying with the robot. Another way to explain this is to think of the operator as holding the tool on the end of the robot. Wherever his hand moves, the machine is following his motions performing the work with multiples of force and speed.

The unique design and flexibility of the VTS™ enables floor operators, unskilled in robotic programming, to utilize the full range of control over robotic equipment in fully manual and semi-automatic modes. In addition, this same equipment system, utilizing dedicated fixturing, ordinary robotic programming and only minor adjustments can then also be applied to fully automatic tasks.

VTS Floor Mounted Model - Grinding with Positioner, To clarify, the VTS™ is intended to be a manual machine a manipulator. BUT, with a few add-ons of equipment, it can be utilized as a fully automatic (unattended) robot. This might be useful if you have a need for manual processes some of the time and automatic processes at other times.

The configuration pictured here is the VTS-G model. This machine is provided with a high-power grinding attachment for a tool. With this, the operator can grind and cut around the outside and inside of castings. In addition, the model shown is mobile. The whole unit can be moved via stacker crane or rail-car. This makes it possible to access a very large working envelope. The envelope is only limited by the working envelope of your crane or the length of your rails.

Putting these features all together, the operator of Vulcan Engineering’s VTS™ can perform a job manually by using the power of a robot no matter the application. For more information on the VTS™ and its “hands on” capabilities

Enclosed Cut-Off System

A Cut-Off System centered around Ease of Use, Safety, and Precision

Horizontal-Air-Float-Table-Cut-Off--Fox-4-800x800Fox® grinders and cut-off equipment have proven reliability, and offer the most productive casting finishing equipment available for the rugged, dirty foundry environment. Designed for maximum up time with the highest quality components, Fox® equipment has innovative designs that are assembled and arranged for easy service.

The Fox® Air Float Cut-Off with Horizontal Traveling Axis is a specially designed cut-off system that provides control of the saw from an Operators Control Station located outside of the machine enclosure for added safety.

This model provides vertical and horizontal saw travel, allowing the operator to move the saw up & down, forward & backward, all powered by hydraulics. The Cut-Off saw incorporates a hydraulic down-pressure system to efficiently cut risers and/or gates from a variety of castings. Hydraulic down force provides for quicker, cooler cuts with less blade wear.

The Fox® Air Float Cut-Off machine is ideal for gate, runner and riser removal on small to medium size castings, or removing castings from trees. The Air Float System incorporates a casting gondola, Blanchard ground table, and pneumatic/vacuum system that allow the operator to effortlessly “float” the work into cutting position. With quick and easy fixture change over, the Air Float system excels at cutting castings produced in small to medium runs.

Horizontal-Air-Float-Table-Cut-Off--Fox-3-800x800Along with fast positioning of parts, the Air Float System incorporates a vacuum hold-down feature on the casting gondola. A foot operated electric control pedal activates floatation, keeping hands free for gondola movement. Once the foot pedal is released, the vacuum system secures the gondola to the table during cutting. An alignment laser is used to provide quick, precise alignment of the cut path. The gondola can be repositioned after each cut or left in position with the vacuum system holding it in place for processing higher quantities of the same part number.

Safety features of the Fox® Air Float Cut-Off with Horizontal Traveling Axis include machine enclosure, rotating wheel guard, and touch sensors to name a few. The front door of the enclosure is supported on overhead rails, and is manually slid open and shut. This Lexan door, with an easily replaceable Plexiglas splatter shield, incorporates a proximity switch so that the door must be fully closed before the operator can control the Cut-Off Wheel. There are touch sensors located on either side of the door’s rails. To activate the optional fixture Clamping System, the operator must place both hands on these sensors which help to ensure hands and arms are out of the way.

The rotating wheel guard covers the wheel at all times, except when the operator is standing on the safety mat at the Operator’s Control Station. Once the operator stands on the safety mat, this activates the wheel cover to open. Anytime the operator steps off of the mat, the wheel cover will automatically rotate closed. This feature allows the operator to move, realign, or change parts inside the enclosure without stopping the saw.