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Automobile Manufacturing Processes

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  • Automobile Manufacturing Processes

    Hi all, I'm just about finished completing my final wiring in my 58 and I'm up to the point of running a battery cable from the trunk to the front of the car.
    The cable will run to a positive distribution post with other wiring.
    What would be the minimum amperage requirement for this cable, will fuses or circuit breaker be required etc.
    Thanks Chris.
    Last edited by YellowRose; April 29th, 2016, 05:34 PM.

  • #2
    That's pretty much the way I've gone Dave. I had the electrical contractor at work make all my cables up and he said that they were 3awg. Beautiful job, all silver soldered and heat shrink wrapped and the best part was it cost nothing, bonus.
    He said that cable would be more than enough.
    I'm still not sure about the whole fuse thing.

    Scott, with the battery ventilation I'll be using a sealed battery in a vented battery box as to be legal I need to do this.

    I've decided to run the cable on the underside of the car and secure with rubber lined p clamps the whole way along, it will be wrapped in cloth electrical tape and fed through condute so hopefully safe and secure enough.

    On a sidenote Dave, I watch the video earlier, I take my hat off to u guys back in the day, I've worked in some nasty conditions in my time but that's very impressive.
    Cheers Chris.


    • #3
      Chris, #3AWG is good. I would run it inside the car but outside is ok if not exposed to road debris and salts. One advantage in using wire is, you can 'train' it around corners and bends so it conforms with the body.

      The main aisles in the DIF had steel tiles in the cement. The floor sweeper was going around the clock but if I stood in one place for five minutes and took one step away, the fly ash would show where I was standing. Man, that stuff burns if it gets in your eye. It also ate through the paint on cars in the employee lot outside. All the houses around The Rouge were black with acid rain and their brick mortar on nearly all the houses was loose and coming apart.

      We used to get "Rouge rain" meaning, a lot of times it was only raining over The Rouge. You see my avatar with the smoke stacks... that was no joke. The Power House, foundries and all the steel operations; they all produced a lot of smoke. Yes, we had precipitators that caught most of the solid pollutants but it was a losing battle.

      Another danger was carbon monoxide gas. It's odorless, colorless and our lungs absorb it 25X faster than oxygen. It's produced by UNburned gasses from any fire and it burns a pretty blue. CO is heavier than air so it settles in low places.

      Coke dust is 99% carbon and it conducts electricity like copper. We used to open all the panels and control room doors weekly, just to blow the coke dust out. Many times an electrical panel would simply fry because it was filled half way with coke dust, short circuiting terminal strips of 250 Volts DC inside. - Dave
      My latest project:
      CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

      "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
      --Lee Iacocca


      • #4
        All good Dave with the wiring.
        Haha I love hearing about the old stories of the old foundries.
        Probably pretty lucky most old foundrymen lived past 40. I know all my old teachers when I was at university are all gone now, old foundrymen unfortunately.
        Conditions these days are pretty good, I know when I first started they were pretty tough, been on fire or hospitalized a few times but they were probably still better conditions than back then.
        It amazes me with what they did with what they had.


        • #5
          Chris, did you ever experience what happens when molten metal is poured onto water?

          Everyone knows that molten iron is hot but somehow they forget how heavy it is.

          When molten iron is poured onto water the whole thing explodes with a violence that literally rocks the earth as pieces are rocketed everywhere. If a small piece hits someone it will knock them down and then burn them up.

          The first time for me was when they poured slag into a railroad slag car that had a small amount of residual water. It immediately creates steam with a heavy weight of metal on top. It sounds like someone lit a cannon. Steam always wins, even in small amounts. - Dave
          My latest project:
          CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

          "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
          --Lee Iacocca


          • #6
            When molten iron is poured onto water the whole thing explodes with a violence that literally rocks the earth as pieces are rocketed everywhere. If a small piece hits someone it will knock them down and then burn them up.
            It is unbelievable how much force a bit of water has under molten iron. My very first butt chewing was because of this after being transferred to the foundry to drive a fork truck. One of our jobs was to coat pig molds with a muddy slurry (burlite or something like that) for our iron pourers to scrape the slag off the ladles or empty their ladles into at the end of the pouring line. I set some wet pig molds in place and fortunately the iron pourers caught it and I was soon chewed out! Once they realized I was just transferred into the dept and did not have any safety indoctrination for the pouring area, everything changed, but I certainly never did that again.

            All this old foundry talk brings back memories for me too and makes me appreciate all over again getting an apprenticeship in their Pattern Shop.


            • #7
              I love the Pattern Makers. They are a great team of highly skilled tradesmen who love their job and are more than willing to answer dumb questions from idiots like myself.

              Joe, our bricklayers numbered in the hundreds, forever relining entire furnaces down to ladles with brick and sand runners with refractory. They gas-fired their work for many days before introducing molten metal.

              Our core rooms were much larger than the pouring merry-go-round lines. Automatic hot boxes injected sand and baked many of the cores, then they were placed on a monorail that dipped each one in refractory slurry. Then they were baked again for long periods of time to ensure moisture content was zero. We went through mountain ranges of silica sand and C02.

              Foundries have a distinctive odor that hangs on to everything you wear. It's not offensive but I can still smell it years after working there. The work is hot, dangerous and much of it requires brute strength. For those and many more reasons we only allowed women to work in the lunch room and only for a few hours per day. The ladies were driven in a protective panel van to and from the lunch room. The rest of us had to wear fire retardant clothes, hard hats, respirators and safety glasses/goggles.

              We also had Gas Men whose job it was to check levels of carbon monoxide particularly in low places. For example: If a shakeout buried the conveyor (tripping the overloads) under the line, the gas man was the first one down. (He also checked for rats.) Then the Cleaners would form a bucket brigade to remove enough sand so the conveyor was visible again. Then the Electrician would reverse-forward-reverse-forward in a 'rocking' motion to free the conveyor. Dust was so dense I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Add sweat to that heat and don't chew gum. The crib handed out flashlights to anyone who asked.

              The Rouge made well-rounded journeymen because of the different work in different plants. For example, the electrical wire we used in the foundry was totally different from wire used in assembly. Plants that spot or stick welded used huge conductors. Many of the welding machines and transformers were water cooled as were electrical cables feeding spot welding on robot arms. For cooling, we used recirculating mill water. - Dave
              My latest project:
              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
              --Lee Iacocca


              • #8
                Dave I have had a couple of quite nasty experiences when water meets metal, unfortunately both ended with a few of us in hospital.
                First one was when an induction furnaces lining failed whilst melting 4140 steel at around 1680c. Induction furnaces have a copper coil from top to bottom with water runs constantly through for cooling, metal penetrates the coil and BANG, big hole in the factory roof and it's raining steel, good way to lose all your hair.
                Second time was we were pouring a casting that weighed around 800kg, common practice with these large moulds was to stand on top of the mould and look down the feeder so to know when the mould is full, in this case the feeder was around 6 inches in diameter, I was looking down and not knowing that one of the moulders had left a massive clump of wet glue on the core it exploded, 2nd degree burns on arms, face, neck and down my throat, even had burns on the inside of my safety glasses, very lucky.
                Me along with 2 others in hospital, one moulded punched and fired on the spot.
                Your definitely right about the smell, all the catalyst and binders in the sand gives a very unique smell, one you never forget.


                • #9
                  Chris, you're lucky to be alive. In retrospect, we call those 'battle scars'. Some suffer more than others and I guess if you come out unscathed with all your digits and limbs, it's only by the Grace of God.

                  In the Stamping Plant, it was common to see people reporting for work with fingers missing, or a guy carrying his lunch bucket under half an arm. Ford gave them a job for life, regardless of who was at fault.

                  I remember 'lunchtime' in the iron foundry... one line worker was sleeping on the 'return side' of a conveyor belt as it slung underneath. Makes my skin crawl just thinking of it. He never was injured, though.

                  When people see cars they never know any of the back-stories.

                  BTW, the steel you made is what we call 'aircraft tubing' and it is one of the few steels the US military approves for manufacturing M16 guns.

                  I have limited induction heating experience aside from case hardening camshaft lobes. In Manufacturing Development, I used a very old 15K~ motor/generator that screamed. I made a ring of copper tubing that surrounded a slowly rotating camshaft on a vertical axis. I drilled holes in the coil of copper so it would cool the cam lobes (and the coils) as they heated.

                  It was fascinating to watch the lobes turn cherry-red with nothing touching them but a spray of water, then index to the next lobe.
                  My latest project:
                  CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                  "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                  --Lee Iacocca


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately Dave it comes with the territory, 20 years over furnaces your bound to be on the wrong end at some stage.
                    The 4140 we made were generally castings that were designedf or hi stress environments, castings ranging from 1kg to 6-7 tonnes, lots of variety.
                    We probably produced over 200 different variants of iron and steel ranging from automotive, mining and offshore oil and petrochemical made in anything from 1020 mild steel to super duplex stainless steel.
                    Unfortunately all these companies no longer exist.
                    Fingers and hands are pretty common, I still don't have much feeling in my left ring finger after having a glowing hot brass bar go through my glove severing nerves and the main artery in my hand about 3 years ago, boy did that make a mess haha, still finding blood at work.
                    Your very right about people not understanding what goes into producing the stuff that people take for granted. Everything from household appliances to public transport. It doesn't matter how much you try pretty up a foundry it's still a foundry!
                    Induction hardening machines actually operate on the same principle as induction furnaces, creating a magnetic field which heats the metal.
                    Induction hardening relies on dwell time to determine harndness depth followed by a quench of either water or aqua depending upon the material.
                    I spent 4 years in a heat treatment plant after the last big foundry closed down.
                    We specialized in flame and induction hardening, honestly probably the most enjoyable job I've ever had. Flame hardening very large castings is definitely a sight to see.
                    Unfortunately pretty much all this type of manufacturing is gone now, very sad actually.


                    • #11
                      All so similar - no matter who's name was on the building. Our GM plant was quite the same and those who had lifetime jobs certainly gave a lot and often those very same men would never miss a bit of work. The iron pourers were like a special fraternity and worked dam hard in impossible conditions usually 7 days a week. Dedicated, watching each others back to make sure the workplace was as safe as possible, praying they would return home in one piece. These men had a very dangerous job, knew it, but respected molten iron while maintaining a bit of humor at times also.

                      One of the most impressive and humbling things I've ever experienced was looking into the sight glass standing under a cupulo full of molten iron. Watching the iron run out was fascinating until you started thinking what was above your head!

                      The foundry smell? Its something you will never forget!!


                      • #12
                        At the time, we worked with temps in Fahrenheit... steel melted at 2,600 and we poured iron at 3,000 degrees F. I'm sure all that has changed to C.

                        The foundry introduced me to pyrometers and thermocouples but it also taught me to respect others. Strange? Not really. Dearborn Iron Foundry was OLD and well established. The work environment was so bad that most people wouldn't do it. 90% of our workers were Black with a few Italian and Germans thrown in. Each group was tight because they all had business concerns on the side. Some loaned money, some ran numbers, card games, etc. New employees were avoided like the plague unless someone knew and properly introduced them. The fear was, new people could be cops and nobody wanted to get busted.

                        Many wives called the plant asking, "Is my husband still there?"
                        "Well, his time card is, so maybe he's working overtime."

                        Truth be told, many feuds were settled quietly when one ended up as an engine block and gone with no trace. So a lot of respect was shown to each other because, 'you never know who you're talking to'.

                        On Saturdays, when the big bosses were home, line foremen made their rounds selling tall cans of beer to their guys on the line. The gate guards always checked cars going out but except for a car pass, none were checked coming in The Rouge. The other plants didn't operate quite like the foundry. - Dave
                        My latest project:
                        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                        --Lee Iacocca


                        • #13
                          Haha, sounds like foundries didn't change a lot over the years. I think when I started I was the only one without a criminal record of some sort, basically a fresh faced baby straight out of high school.
                          Saw some things that would never happen these days.
                          Never saw anything to the point of someone ending up as a casting though, little harsh.
                          They've come a long way now though, I look at the place I work now and everything has to be done to the procedure, very personal select but at the end of the day we all go home to our family.


                          • #14
                            I never heard of anyone disappearing at our plant, however a few vending machines that wouldn't stay working in the dirty environment did get tossed into the cupulo - candy and money included! Several tons of molten iron will consume anything.

                            The "new hires" were always treated with a bit of suspicion because you never knew at our plant too. I never was involved with the drinking or drug groups, but thought I knew who they were. Many guys carried big rolls of cash on payday and would cash checks and lend money "for a small fee of course" as well. With a facility as big as the Rouge was, it must have been like a city itself with its own hierarchy of rule makers and rule breakers.

                            Fortunately my foundry time was limited, but it was quite a memorable experience.


                            • #15
                              Ford Motor Co., had agreements with Michigan where they committed to hire a quota of veterans AND newly released prisoners. This helped the new hires assimilate back into society whilst keeping them off the dole. Remember, you never know who you're talking with, so show respect.

                              I have two vending machine stories...
                              In Dearborn Stamping Plant during break time, one of the guys put his money in the cigarette machine, pulled the handle...
                              He heard the money drop but no product came out so he did it again. And again, money dropped but no product.

                              Back then we all smoked so we understand this guy's frustrations. He's dying for a smoke, workers don't carry an abundance of change (if any) in their coveralls and he doesn't have much time before break is over. Now he's ripped off by a machine that took all his change and it shows a stack of his brand of smokes.

                              He quietly walked away and after a minute he returned with a pinch bar. He beat the stomp out of that machine, until it coughed up every brand of cigarettes.

                              He took one pack of 'his brand' and left it that way. Within five minutes all the vultures descended and they cleaned that baby OUT. Cool's were the first to go.

                              Nothing was said, nobody saw anything but the next day a brand new machine was in its place.

                              The Rouge contracted two main catering (vending machine) companies. One was ARA (American Restaurant Assc.). Turns out one of the ARA guys was selling numbers. That isn't very unusual except this guy was selling them 'on credit' meaning, you simply tell him, "Play 321 and I'll pay you tomorrow." Now if the number did come in it usually paid a hundred bucks for the small investment of a quarter. Since it was bought on credit, the payout was half.

                              A quarter isn't going to break the bank but every day these guys played dozens of numbers, 'boxed'. So, 321 turns into 312, 213, 231,123 and 132 (six bets).

                              One of the 'money lenders' took issue and told the numbers guy that he was encroaching on his territory. They had a very visible heated discussion, witnessed my many. The next day they found the ARA guy laying on the road after being thrown off the Frame Plant roof. Nobody saw anything.
                              My latest project:
                              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

                              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
                              --Lee Iacocca