Campbell Foundry Tour, March 27th 2001

On Tuesday, March 27th at 1 pm, 7 members of NJBA met outside the Campbell Foundry in Harrison, NJ. Campbell Foundry has been making mainly manhole and drain gratings and covers since the company opened in 1921. The tour started outside the main office with the distribution of safety gear, hard hats glasses and ear plugs and with a short talk by John R. Campbell III, The Operations Manager. He is now the third family member to run the business since it's start in 1921. He said they produce 35 - 50 tons of finished castings a day. Most of what is poured is also finished that same day.

The first shop we visited was the floor where they were doing the pouring. We watched as they finished setting up the forms for pouring the base rings ( the part you can't see in the street) for manhole covers and then watched as they poured two of them. From there we went to the section where they have patterns stored for most of the items they have made over the years. Mr. Campbell said this enables them to do small production runs of items for former customers and to adapt existing patterns to save costs for new customers.

The next section we went to was the steel and iron piles where they feed the hopper bucket for the cupola with an electromagnetic crane. They use a mixture of scrap cast iron, steel, added alloys, coke and limestone. These are added to the hopper by weight and then fed into the cupola. The cupola is fired up at about 5 in the morning and emptied about 3:30 in the afternoon. Repair maintenance is then done at night to prepare for the next days firing. Twice a year the plant shuts the cupola down for rebuilding. Mr. Campbell also pointed out the afterburner, where the fumes from the cupola are processed. The furnace produced no signs of smoke

The next section was where they were using machines to ram up the copes and drags for the patterns. From there the frames are moved away on rollers and brought to the pouring floor by gantry crane. After cooling (the length of cooling time is based on the size of the casting) the pieces are sent to a shaker to remove the parts from the sand. After further cooling the parts are hung on frames and blasted (bead or sand?) to remove excess sand from the castings. In this area, a lot of fine sand material is kicked up, but an exhaust system, supplemented by respirators the workers wear, keeps the hazard down. The exhaust system collects the fines, which are disposed of as waste.

The next section is the finishing room where the parts are scraped, ground and/or machined depending on the finish needed. the last section is where the parts are sent out for delivery or to their storage yard.

Mr. Campbell said they are always trying to update the operation to make it more efficient and described some or the shop re organizing that was planned for the future. This ended our tour and then Josh followed Mr. Campbell inside to discuss pouring anvils.

Many thanks to John Chobrda for taking the time to set up this tour and Many thanks to Mr.Campbell for taking the time out from his schedule to give us the tour. LB