We have spent a lot of time in this space talking about various aspects of iron foundries. Articles have been posted going in-depth on the properties and the uses of many kinds of iron that we use. There has been a whole series on cast iron history and development since the first blast furnaces showed up in Asia hundreds of years ago. Naturally, there have been many posts on the different products we make and the industries they serve. Finally, we have detailed the capabilities of Faircast Inc. and the distinct advantages of our various pieces of equipment. One thing we haven’t spent a lot of time on is the benefits and career opportunities of working in an iron foundry and what precisely that work consists of. To start, let’s look at some of the kinds of jobs that are available at the typical iron foundry and the skills that are necessary to do them.
Mold and Coremakers: These people make the molds and cores that are used to create the iron castings. This is a high precision job that requires a high aptitude with different tools, the ability to follow specific directions, and operate the machinery used to form and bond the completed molds. People in this job also need to be able to operate furnaces and ovens to produce the cores and molds.
Grinder Operator: Grinder operators have to use various hand tools to help create the castings by cutting gates and cooling tubes where applicable, and to get any excess metal cleaned up before the casting moves on to the next phase of the manufacturing process. Depending on the specific duties, the grinder operator may also need to work with high precision measurement tools to ensure that everything conforms to blueprint specifications.
Finishing Operator: A finishing operator has to be able to inspect and apply the finishing touches to various products. As before, this requires an aptitude with a variety of tools and machines and great attention to detail.
Iron Transporter: Speaking of attention to detail, an iron transporter gets to move the molten iron from the furnace it is melted to where it will be then poured out into the mold. This requires the ability to use a forklift or operate other kinds of machinery to transport the iron.
Melt Operator: Melt operators have possibly the most important job in the foundry – they melt the iron. This is more than just turning on the furnace. They have to make sure temperature is maintained, the chemistry is controlled, slag is removed, and the iron is loaded correctly. They also use inert gas for the purging process and facilitate the general maintaining of all the associated equipment.
Maintenance Technician: A foundry maintenance technician has to keep all the equipment going when it breaks down. Everything from the melting furnace to the packaging machines is under care. That means the technician doesn’t just need to be familiar with nearly any tool you can think of; they have to be able to do troubleshooting and diagnostics in the field. Any facility needs competent maintenance technicians to keep them operating, and a foundry is no different.
That’s a pretty good overview of the kinds of jobs that one can expect to experience in an iron foundry production area, as well as career opportunities. They all require a solid work ethic and the ability to learn and adapt to the job. One of the best things about foundry work is that while the workers’ skill level is high, the nature of the jobs means that no college course can teach you how to do it. A person can start fresh out of high school in an entry-level position and work up to the more technical and complex jobs. There is a clear path forward with the ability to advance in skill, pay, and responsibility. A job that is far from dead-end that doesn’t require going into debt at college to get an interview is a definite benefit for many.
Most jobs at the foundry are also based on a standard 40-hour workweek, making it easy to plan the rest of your life. And of course, when there are extra hours, it means extra money.
If you’re looking for a new career or your first career, foundry work is a great place to start to learn a new skill set or apply an existing one.