Conversions and Buzz; Entry #3 April 22, 2014

Casting Conversion Process

Applied Process empaneled the company’s first-ever Customer Advisory Board in 2012.  One of the key takeaways was that the casting conversion process can be overwhelming to engineers who have not done it before.  This is surely true.  When you go from a weldment to a casting you are talking about change, and change is often not comfortable!

With that said, it is kind of like any new skill … once you do it the first time it gets way easier the second time.  One company I know has gone from two part numbers to about 25 in about four years.  Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI) has allowed them to cut costs, to cut lead times, and to lightweight multiple parts.  Education surely helps.

The takeaway is to listen to your customers … and finish that first conversion!

Get your license!

The role of the engineer is to optimize the use of the earth’s resources in service to mankind.  This is no small responsibility.  Professional Engineering licensure is a system by which the engineering profession is elevated.  If you are an engineer, and you are not pursuing PE licensure, please consider doing so.   It is good for your employer and good for you, too.  BTW, all of you college seniors … please put down that pizza and talk to your advisor about this sooner instead of later.  Thanks!

Buzzfeed Metallurgy Alert

This Buzzfeed article asks “Which Indestructible Metal Is Actually The Strongest?”  If you read the article you will see that Austempered Ductile Iron was not listed anywhere, and this omission makes me question the integrity of the authors.  After all, they included such pretenders as Mithril and Vibranium, but they left out ADI.  Some of the winners were even nonferrous!  Lastly, I heard via the grapevine that Wonder Woman’s Bracelets of Victory are actually only Amazonium-plated (tell the truth, Diana!).  I demand a recount!

Vasko’s Reading Pick

I spend a lot of time with engineers, and we often talk about standard deviations and bell curves and so on.  These are useful concepts.  However, there is a book that might shake you up.  The second edition of The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb will make you question some of your more closely held notions.  The blurb on Amazon says “A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences.”   Just because something is difficult to predict does not mean it cannot happen … and when it does we can look pretty foolish indeed.  I suggest you read this and pass it on to a friend.

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