Machine Shop Keys to Success

June 2, 2012
Running a successful machine shop and foundry is all in a hard days work at Bremen Castings Inc.

This 70-year-old, family owned foundry and machine shop in Bremen, Ind. ( puts keeping up with technology high on the priority list, says President JB Brown. The company also continually reinvests in new equipment for production, environmental and automation improvements. 

Brown says, “When you’ve been in the business for generations, there are some things that are trial and error. But with technology becoming faster and better, we improve our efficiency and quality at the same time.”

According to Brown, these are five keys for being a high quality, ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer.

Process Audit. The foundry implemented a daily processes audit that is performed throughout the facility by Bremen Castings team members. This ensures that a fresh set of eyes is looking over procedures to ensure that policies are up-to-date and safety is top of mind.

Green Practices. Bremen has tried to be as “green” as possible in their foundry and, over last two years, has become 90 percent paperless through the use of technology. The company also uses 92 percent recycled ferrous material to produce its world-class gray and ductile iron castings.

Real-Time Reporting. Bremen Castings reports production, scrap and inventory in real-time through an enterprise resource planning ERP system from B&L Information Systems called Odyssey. This allows for reduction of cost as well as time, so you accurately know how much you currently have vs. what is needed.

Coding. All finished goods have barcodes that outline the destination for each product. “This may seem simple, but when you are manufacturing thousands of parts that all look the same, that barcode is essential for coordinating logistics,” says Brown.

Laser Scanning. Bremen Castings Inc. recently purchased a laser scanner for a coordinating-measuring machine (CMM), which allows full scans of tooling or product so that it they can create watertight models.

>> Click here to find coverage of The 2012 Automation Conference. 

Renee Robbins Bassett, [email protected], is Managing Editor of Automation World. 

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