H.Downs have created their own bespoke software to readily document and recall customer, casting and training data. All customer data is held in accordance with data protection and PCI regulation.

We based our system on a 'link number'.

This number was based on a sequentially generated Enquiry number.

The link number is cast on when there is no customer supplied pattern number, to help us identify the finished castings.

All drawings for pattern making are stored using the link number.

All sub-contract work is ordered under a variation of the link number which enables us to link invoices to items.

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Pattern cards are available for every casting we have produced. The card gives the following information.

Pattern Number
ie Gearcase
This is recorded, if the same pattern does for SG and grey iron we will create a number to suit the material required.
If stored at H. Downs the shelf number where it is stored or when it was returned to the customer
This gives us a coded description of the pattern equipment: ie Split pattern 5 core boxes, 4 loose pieces etc
Last Used
Year it was last used
Moulding Time
This is for 'piece work' reference and also is used in our scheduling programme
Which is banded and allow us to have selective price increases for, say should the price of nickel rise and affects only Nickel based alloys
Casting Weight and Estimated weight
The estimated weight is automatically transported from the Enquiry stage to the production card. When completed the actual weight is automatically entered
Last Order
Gives the last order number the item was made under
Last Delivery Date
The last date the item was required
Shows the quantity made since the item was first entered on the computer
PDF File
For those items which cause us trouble, we can take photographs of methods and store them for future reference
We can print customer's pattern details and records individually and provide an up to date price list

All enquiries are given a link number unless the item already appears on our database. The enquiry is generated with customer information already available to fit the templates for the formal quote. Enquiries can be multistage such as pattern making, casting, heat treatment, material certification. For each of these different requirements a stage is created and the costs itemised. The quotation is formulated and dispatched by email or fax to the customer together with conditions of sale.

On receipt of an order the prices are entered onto the computer which will automatically check against the quotation or if previously made can be checked against the pattern card.

The stages quoted for are checked and any discrepancies are notified to the customer for clarification.

If material certification is required, the requirement is automatically created on our 'Melt Programme'.

Orders for any subcontract work is generated via the Link Number.

We have several areas of production, the 'Schedule' programme is capable of taking all the orders and basing the items by the delivery date required schedule the daily requirements for each production area for days/weeks ahead.

We do however, have a large variety of different metals we offer. The scenario was we would have orders from different customers for small quantities of the same metal required over several days. By colour coding each material we can visually block these together, override the 'Schedule' programme and group these materials together, cast them all on the same day saving melting costs.

They are generated on dispatch and the system automatically reduces the amount required. At this stage, for new castings, the weight is entered and automatically updated on the 'Pattern Card'.

Is merely a matter of creating the advice note to an invoice where the prices are pulled from the orders, address and other details automatically added and calculated, then transported to a Sage accounts package.

Melt Programme

As the requirements for test certificates increased, we needed a system to assist us in allowing us to know who wanted a certificate, what the material were required and which items the certificates covered.

Again we did not want to have to type the customer's addresses each time and we wanted to be able to keep an electronic record.

So we designed another programme the 'Melt Programme' and our computer whiz set about building what we wanted and linking it into our existing database.

From the order we create a stage for Certification.

We do need the customer to place this on their order so it can be implemented from the start.

If the customer misses it, then we will not add it.

Not every customer requires their material to be certified and if they don't want it, they don't pay for it and we won't do the tests.

However, for those who wish for certification, the stage is added.

If the certification order 'stage' is added the item appears on the schedule.

Tickets are raised for the certification stage and are added to the production tickets which travel with the patterns into the foundry.

When the items are cast they are given a 'Melt Number', a sequential number which is tagged to furnaces A, or B or C or combinations of either two or all three melting units.

Holds the initial information of the requirement:

  • Customer
  • Order Number
  • Part Number
  • Sequential Part Number

These appear on the schedule side of the programme. The other side of the screen allows a 'Melt Number' to be added.

This is then dragged across and added to the corresponding casting. The two are now linked.

Has the provision to enter the chemical anlysis readings and the mechanical results as they are obtained.

We use our own chemical anlysis from our spectrograph. This is added to the database for that melt number.

We use outside laboratories for Mechanical tests such as tensile strength, ductility and hardness etc.

When all the tests are complete and the information is added, the certifiacte is ready to print.

Using the database the computer generates the information correlating to the customer, casting and requirements and it is printed, checked and signed.

They can be emailed direct.

But for those wanting a 3.1B we need the outside laboratories report to be present in the paperwork.

We have found less reprecussions (lost paperwork) by attaching all certificates to the advice note and by only releasing castings as and when this is ready.

The computer holds the records of certificates sent and can be re-accessed by knowing the order number and part number pertaining to the certificate.

Risk Assessment, Health & Safety, Training

We have always trained our workforce and taken care in their health and safety, which has to be documented for insurance and ISO 9001.

Each employee has a job title and to carry out his work he is required to use certain machines and tools as well as materials

We went generic, the risk assesment was carried out on the machines and materials and not on individual items.

The job title dictated the machines and materials which were used.

Training was linked to the job title and therefore to the machines and materials.

Each employee was linked to one or more job titles and therefore to the associated machines and materials.

All information was entered onto the database:

Employee Database
This lists past and present employees details and their job titles.
Job Titles
This was broken down into machines and materials used to perform the job.
This lists individual machines, their risk assesment,safety equipment,training required and method of use.
This lists individual materials, their risk assesment,safety equipment,training required and method of use.

Any alteraion or update to any part of the data base prompts a re-train to anyone previously trained and who may be affected by such a change.

Each employee has a printed training manual covering all the aspects of all the job titles, machines and materials that are used to perform such tasks.

Training instructions/procedures for operating with regard to health and saftey.

Health and safety equipment required.

All are updated when new procedures or machines or materials are added and are re-assesed over a 12 month period.