AB&I held a tour for sixteen Stanford University students on May 4th. The students are taking a course called Making Multiples: Sand Casting (ME365) which teaches howcastings are made in a mass manufacturing process.
General Manager Michael Lowe welcomed the students and talked to them about the history of AB&I and its operations as well as the challenges they face in Oakland. He invited the students to partner with AB&I on an upcoming project to find innovative ways AB&I can operate more efficiently.
Before leading the students on a tour of the foundry, Rich Watson and Dave Robinson discussed the production, engineering and environmental regulations and AB&I’s commitment to best practices that go above and beyond compliance. It was an eye opener for all of them to see how the different processes work together to make the finished products.
In a note to AB&I the professor said, “I just wanted to send a quick thank you note for our tour last Friday! We were blown away by the scale of production being done. Thank you for being so welcoming and taking the time to show us everything. I know the students were very impressed and are very excited about their new cast iron frying pans! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you all in the future.”
On Monday, February 26th, Dave Beach, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University along with Anna Olson and Russell Field (graduate students) visited AB&I to learn more about the foundry. They run a small sand casting foundry Stanford Product Realization Lab and want to get to know ABI with an eye towards bringing small groups of students in conjunction with two courses that will be taught this spring and fall to AB&I.
They were surprised to discover that Professor Beach’s daughter had toured AB&I about 30 years ago while she was studying at Stanford. Professor Beach had the following comments about the tour:
“On behalf of Anna, Russell, and myself, thank you very much for the wonderful tour of AB&I you led Monday morning. As a professor at Stanford University I am frequently amazed at how much our students learn when visiting manufacturing sites in the Bay Area. It makes our efforts in 110-minute lectures and 4-hour laboratories pale. Your tour was very generous and worth a tremendous amount in tuition value to our students.
AB&I’s energy and innovation regarding environmental quality are awesome, your attention to sand and metal quality, your ability to automate high volume processes, and your enthusiasm to share these initiatives with us are wonderful.
Relative to the automation of AB&I’s highest volume products, I will always remember you saying, if you have to pick it up you just lost money. The idea of gates that snap off without the need for secondary processing is new to me and impressive. I will carry a mental picture of the mountains of scrap iron which are your sole metal input. Visually striking and environmentally wonderful!
I believe that manufacturing is essential to strong communities. AB&I is heroic in that regard!”