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Old 04-29-2016, 04:30 PM
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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
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