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Words of wisdom from 50 years in foundries

The Lawton Standard Co. periodically publishes input from professionals within the foundry industry and outside the casting world. These Expert Opinions may be casting-related, Continuous Improvement (CI / LEAN), Operational Excellence (Op-Ex), or just working through the challenges of today’s business environment. The goal is to present you with differing viewpoints on how our guests adapt, adopt, and improve. Today’s expert is Bill Ruth of Temperform. Bill has 50 years of experience in foundries and currently leading our training dojo.

We welcome your input on any of these topics. Contact us at for details. Thank you for visiting!

Bill, tell us about your background professionally.

I have about 50 years in the foundry business. I started as a medical technologist. After that, I came to the Howmet Corporation. I was there for 24 years in various positions starting out as an Induction Melter, then becoming an R&D technician then I became the unit manager of the Air Alloy Division and eventually did safety and training. When my grandfather heard that I was going to work for a foundry, he thought it was great because he had worked in a foundry. I’ve been with Temperform for 17 years. So when they asked me to come back out of retirement to help with their training program, I was glad to.

Tell me about the training dojo. How did that get started at Temperform? What’s unique about it.

The Lawon Standard Co. wants everybody trained, and everyone participates in training at Temperform. Our program starts with Barry giving a talk. Then we have someone come in from the molding department. Then there’s safety training, and the HR department gets involved.

We visit the sand lab and visit another foundry virtually. Our quality and environment person gives a talk. We review lockout tagout. Then it’s on to the pattern shop, mold making, and cleaning. Safety lessons are woven through the whole program. In fact, we’re proud to say that we’re more than a year without a lost-time accident.

What do you predict for the future?

I will be taking the different groups through metallurgy classes. I’m looking forward to that.

What is a big challenge right now?

The employment market has been challenging. Taking this extra step in training will help ensure our success in keeping people on.

Based on your wealth of experience, what would be your advice to young professionals today, particularly in the foundry industry?

I’ve been part of the Detroit Windsor chapter American Foundry Society; we’ve been trying to get young people into the group. Foundry in a box started as a way of getting their attention. We go to the junior high schools, high schools, and different events where young people are. So they can see that there is an option to go right to work after high school. I have also trained science teachers at the Automotive Systems & Mobility (ASM) program at the University of Michigan in the casting process and they participate in the lab with “Foundry in a Box.”

What would be the top professional achievements over your career?

That would have to be going to Germany and being involved in machine design. I have been attached to a few patents throughout my career as well.

Additionally, I’m proud of being a part of the township safety committee, working with the young people in the area via soccer, the Boy Scouts, and volleyball. The comradery is inspiring.

How do you spend your time when you’re not in a foundry?

My family is very important to me. I have participated in the community, and I work with my church.

Thank you, Bill for allowing us to get to know you!

For more information about the training programs at The Lawton Standard family of companies, you may also enjoy these blogs.

 

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