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Buyers Can Help Foundries in the Quoting Process

Dave Charbauski

Quoting new work is a daily occurrence at the foundry. At times, when supply chains are stressed and deliveries become extended, the amount of quoting activity can dramatically increase and be challenging for the foundry. As a buyer of castings, you can do a few things to help the foundry with this process. Let’s look at some of the more common issues that cause quote challenges.

Large quote packages: Many times, large packages of parts are sent to foundries for quoting. While these may look attractive at first glance, a deeper inspection of the castings included in the package often show a wide variety of designs, weights, materials, and annual volumes that may or may not fit the foundry that has been asked to quote. The main question that comes to mind from the foundry perspective is this: Are these parts actively being sourced or is the buyer testing the competitiveness of his current casting source? 

Rather than sending out large packages of castings for quoting, a better option for the buyer may be to develop smaller quote packages of parts that fit a foundry’s capabilities—what is often referred to as targeted quoting. While this strategy requires more effort on the part of the buyer, the extra time required to create these packages will be offset by a much lower likelihood of receiving a “no quote” or an unexpectedly high casting price.

Short due dates: The process of providing a casting quote is not a quick-turn operation. Most foundries have a small team of experts that review drawings or models to determine the tooling required and the cost to produce, finish, and package a casting. Some foundries may only have one person performing this process. Asking for a quick turn-around time for the quote (especially with quote packages with multiple part numbers) can stress the quote process to the point where errors are made. Please allow sufficient time for the foundry to perform a thorough review of the castings and provide you with an accurate quote.

Inaccurate or inadequate information: Your goal as a buyer is to receive an accurate quote, but the accuracy is only as good as the information you provide. Information such as casting weight can be very helpful, but make sure you provide the correct weight. The foundry really needs the rough casting weight, but many manufacturers have either an estimated weight or the weight of a machined casting, which will not be as accurate. In terms of the type of cast material required, always try to use industry standards as a reference so you will be obtaining the correct grade of metal. Remember, you don’t want to leave room for guesses or interpretation; state your requirements clearly. 
Additional pieces of information can impact quote accuracy. Provide your best estimate of the annual requirement of castings you will be purchasing. If you have an idea of lot sizes you will buy, that will be helpful, as well. What kind of finishing do you require for the casting? Does the casting require a specific level of surface finish? Are there any special testing requirements? Does each order of castings require a material certification? Is special packaging required? Providing all this information before the quote is developed will result in a much more accurate quote from the foundry.

Tooling availability: Sometimes you may already own a set of pattern equipment and you want the foundry to quote based on using the existing tooling. In this case, it is vital that you provide a thorough description of the pattern and core equipment. Pertinent information will be the number of castings on the pattern, the material the pattern is made from, and the flask size and process for which the pattern is rigged. Photos of both the cope and drag halves of the pattern should also be provided. If there are cores, then provide sizes of the core box or boxes, along with the material they are made from and how many cores are produced in each box. Again, clear photos of the core box (open and closed) should be provided.   

Always look for ways to assist the foundry in the process of quoting your castings. You can make things much easier for their team and help with the development of an accurate and competitive quote.      CS

Click here to read the column in the March/April 2022 digital edition.