What is Foundry Work?
Working in a Foundry
The Foundry industry dates back to 1480 when Vannoccio Biringuccio (1480-1539) first documented the foundry process in writing. In the 550 years since then, this industry has made many technological leaps and bounds, but the basic concepts of the industry are still the same.
Foundry Work and Two Types of Foundries
Foundry work is the process of making a metal casting of an object by pouring molten metal into a mould.
People often think of the foundry industry as being where people melt gold and create bars/bullions. Whilst this is correct, there are actually two different types of foundries. Ferrous foundries produce iron and steel castings. Non-ferrous foundries produce castings of copper-based alloys (brass, bronze and copper), aluminium-based alloys (lead, zinc, nickel and magnesium) and other alloys (gold and silver).
The Hazards of Working in a Foundry
Working with molten material brings with it a number of major hazards, some of these are:
◉ Explosion and burns from molten metal and other hot materials
◉ Respiratory effects from exposure to gases, vapours, fumes, and dust
◉ Skin effects from contact with corrosive or sensitising chemicals
◉ Eye damage from light radiation, metal fragments, dust and chemical splashes
◉ Heat stress, heat stroke, and fatigue from hot working conditions
◉ Slips, trips and falls
◉ Joint, muscle sprains and strains
◉ Physical injuries from machinery and equipment e.g. by entanglement or crushing
◉ Health effects from machinery and equipment e.g. caused by vibration and noise
Heat stress and other heat-related conditions are common within the foundry industry due to the constant work with materials above 500°C.
To protect workers, Elliotts Australia has a wide range of PPE and PPC products that can be used at different temperature ranges. See our range of Furnace Clothing.