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Mix G


eorge Westhoff Jr. has been working in the family metalcast- ing business since he was an


8-year-old mowing the small lawn in front of the office. So he can rattle off a lengthy, off- the-cuff, list of areas for investment to improve the efficiency at Midland Manufacturing Co. (Fort Worth, Texas) as if it is second nature. No facility is perfect and all can be improved, so he keeps an eye and an ear out for bottlenecks on the shopfloor and equipment on the market that can help improve it. Nearly 15 years ago, he knew his metalcast-


ing facility needed to begin planning to replace its aging molding line, and he began look- ing for an automatic molding line that fit the space constraints and tooling setups already at Midland. But after a trip to the northeast U.S. to see what other nonferrous casting facilities were doing, Westhoff began to understand something. A new, more efficient molding line would lack payoff if the cleaning and finish- ing area couldn’t keep up. He shifted gears and prioritized the end of the line first. “We saw so many ways to manipulate and


handle movement through the finishing area,” Westhoff said. “And we saw we needed to first look at making a better, more efficient clean- ing room so that when we got a better, more efficient foundry, we would be able to handle it instead of roadblocking it.” After updating the cleaning area, Midland


was eventually ready to update his molding line to a new automated system, which was completed in the summer of 2015. But the improvements aren’t done. Westhoff continues to watch out for new ways to improve efficiency in the plant and new markets to enter to bolster


business. Midland Foundry’s origins start with an original product line for a water well pump in 1889, and that legacy continues. “We have been making brass and


bronze castings and some products since the inception of our company,”


Midland Manufacturing makes a mix of brass and bronze castings for its own product lines in well pumps, municipal parts and architectural castings, as well as for outside customers.


May 2017 MODERN CASTING | 37


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