The Hayes Lemmerz Intl. Inc. plant in Montague, MI, earned the American Foundry Society's 2005 Plant Engineering Award for its vacuum riserless casting/pressure riserless casting (VRC/PRC) technology. The process was developed by Hayes Lemmerz at its Equipment & Engineering division in Au Gres, MI.
The VRC/PRC process works this way: After a mold has been prepared and the cores are set, the mold is closed and a vacuum is drawn through the cope. Pressure is increased on the furnace below the mold. The combination of pressure and vacuum draws the molten metal into the mold at a controlled rate and holds it there until the mold is filled and directional solidification is complete. Then, the casting is automatically discharged from the mold.
The Hayes Lemmerz plant in Montague produces components for suspension systems, as well as intake and exhaust manifolds, steering knuckles, cross-members, air conditioner scrolls, differential carriers, control arms, and subframes.
The AFS Plant Engineering Award recognizes plants' engineering achievements in planning, installation, operation and maintenance and automation of foundry equipment. The Award's emphasis is on application and implementation of new and innovative equipment, and its purpose is to advance of technical expertise and professionalism of foundry engineering.