Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
This unit group includes workers who make foundry moulds and cores by hand or machine, cast molten metal, and operate furnaces in the foundry industry. They are employed by metal foundries and foundry departments of metal products manufacturing companies.
- May find that steel is bulging, creating a damaged product. They speak to supervisors or melters to see if they can solve the problem by increasing the rate of steel flow. (1)
- May encounter production quality problems such as short or cold runs where moulds haven't filled completely. They try to correct a number of factors, such as changing gating systems, pouring metal faster or pouring in more metal. They make these corrections based on past experience, observation and trial and error. (2)
- May find that alloys improperly flowing into moulds leave pockets and holes. They modify moulds or cast others with different parting lines. (2)
- May find too much shrinkage of parts made from alloys. They experiment with different alloys to solve the problem. (2)
- Solve unique technical problems. For example, when making custom made name plates for the first time, castings may heat up too fast, leaving dust particles in the paint. They may create their own solution without referring to manuals, such as grinding the plates lightly with a rough belt and then using a fine belt to get a dust-free satin finish on the plates. (3)
- Decide whether to pour a mould with what is left in the crucible or to wait until more metal has been melted. (1)
- Decide which is the right alloy for each application, considering strength, granularity and porosity. (2)
- Decide whether alloy casting is appropriate for a particular customer's application. They discuss the new product with the customer. (2)
- Decide which type of moulding rubber would be best for each casting job, reviewing a selection of rubbers which require a higher or lower temperature. (2)
- Make decisions regarding the layout of moulds. They decide how they will be oriented, and where to cut channels for the molten metal to run into the moulds. This is based on past experience and observation of the thickness and shape of the mould. (2)
- Decide on the type of material used for moulds and, occasionally, the order of tasks on the floor. (3)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing
Foundry workers plan their own workdays, organizing production from preliminary sketches to finished products. They gather their own tools, get raw materials and plan production for large and small orders. There are established routines to follow to complete job orders and workers must plan tasks in order to get jobs done quickly and on time. They co-operate with other foundry workers and assign tasks to helpers. Foundry workers depart from routine on occasion, for example, when guides are misaligned or new specifications require review. Foundry workers may work on more than one project at a time, as there are wait times in heating and cooling metal. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember grades of steel and approximate quantities of each element in the different grades.
- Remember metal characteristics, mould recipes, gate systems and weights for various sizes of crucibles.
- Remember the status of projects being worked on at the same time so that temperatures will be checked and metal poured at correct times.
- Remember how long metals should be heated before being saturated with water and reheated to ensure the metal stays strong.
- Speak to moulders to find out information such as the current level of particular elements in mixes, the temperatures of mixes or substances to line the dies. (1)
- Phone engineering consultants or staff at other foundries or smelters to find information on metallurgical problems or alloy casting. (2)
- Refer to trade magazines and novelty catalogues and talk to other foundry workers at exhibitions to get new ideas and find out about ways to develop new products. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Foundry workers work as members of a team, though their particular tasks are usually performed independently. For example, one worker adds material; another takes tests from posts to the laboratory; the crane operator loads and unloads hot steel and the laboratory worker provides test results. All workers pitch in to get rush orders completed. Foundry workers may work with a partner or helper to perform tasks such as lifting and pouring from crucibles or buffing and finishing castings.
Foundry workers continue to learn on the job. For example, they may take apprenticeship programs in areas such as brass moulding. They get new ideas and develop new products by reading trade magazines and novelty catalogues and attending exhibitions.