Peter Olubambi


2 Quality Improvement of the Sand Moulding Process in Foundries Using Six Sigma Technique

Authors: Peter Olubambi, Didier Nyembwe, Cindy Sithole


The sand casting process involves pattern making, mould making, metal pouring and shake out. Every step in the sand moulding process is very critical for production of good quality castings. However, waste generated during the sand moulding operation and lack of quality are matters that influences performance inefficiencies and lack of competitiveness in South African foundries. Defects produced from the sand moulding process are only visible in the final product (casting) which results in increased number of scrap, reduced sales and increases cost in the foundry. The purpose of this Research is to propose six sigma technique (DMAIC, Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) intervention in sand moulding foundries and to reduce variation caused by deficiencies in the sand moulding process in South African foundries. Its objective is to create sustainability and enhance productivity in the South African foundry industry. Six sigma is a data driven method to process improvement that aims to eliminate variation in business processes using statistical control methods .Six sigma focuses on business performance improvement through quality initiative using the seven basic tools of quality by Ishikawa. The objectives of six sigma are to eliminate features that affects productivity, profit and meeting customers’ demands. Six sigma has become one of the most important tools/techniques for attaining competitive advantage. Competitive advantage for sand casting foundries in South Africa means improved plant maintenance processes, improved product quality and proper utilization of resources especially scarce resources. Defects such as sand inclusion, Flashes and sand burn on were some of the defects that were identified as resulting from the sand moulding process inefficiencies using six sigma technique. The courses were we found to be wrong design of the mould due to the pattern used and poor ramming of the moulding sand in a foundry. Six sigma tools such as the voice of customer, the Fishbone, the voice of the process and process mapping were used to define the problem in the foundry and to outline the critical to quality elements. The SIPOC (Supplier Input Process Output Customer) Diagram was also employed to ensure that the material and process parameters were achieved to ensure quality improvement in a foundry. The process capability of the sand moulding process was measured to understand the current performance to enable improvement. The Expected results of this research are; reduced sand moulding process variation, increased productivity and competitive advantage.

Keywords: Defects, Quality improvement, foundries, sand moulding, six sigma (DMAIC)

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1 High Temperature Oxidation Resistance of NiCrAl Bond Coat Produced by Spark Plasma Sintering as Thermal Barrier Coatings

Authors: Folorunso Omoniyi, Peter Olubambi, Rotimi Sadiku


Thermal barrier coating (TBC) system is used in both aero engines and other gas turbines to offer oxidation protection to superalloy substrate component. In the present work, it shows the ability of a new fabrication technique to develop rapidly new coating composition and microstructure. The compact powders were prepared by Powder Metallurgy method involving powder mixing and the bond coat was synthesized through the application of Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) at 10500C to produce a fully dense (97%) NiCrAl bulk samples. The influence of sintering temperature on the hardness of NiCrAl, done by Micro Vickers hardness tester, was investigated. And Oxidation test was carried out at 1100oC for 20h, 40h, and 100h. The resulting coat was characterized with optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray analysis (EDAX) and x-ray diffraction (XRD). Micro XRD analysis after the oxidation test revealed the formation of protective oxides and non-protective oxides.

Keywords: powder metallurgy, High-Temperature Oxidation, spark plasma sintering, thermal barrier coating

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