Mechanical Design & Engineering:

     For most of the past five years, I have worked as a designer and project manager for Ferrotek, and Homeward Designs at an aluminum smelter.   Aluminum ore is received from Australia at their pier.   The aluminum ore is aluminum oxide.  The bond between the aluminum and oxygen is very strong.   Which is why, although aluminum is a very common element, it was not until the late 19th century that the Hall-Hérout Process was invented, using electricity and catalysts to isolate the metal.   The smelter is a large and complicated facility, producing ~600 tons of cast aluminum alloy ingots from alumina per day.   The plant is over 50 years old.   They utilize a wide range of technology, from giant mid-20th century hydraulic presses to the latest micro circuit controllers.
  I have enjoyed working with smelter and casthouse personnel at all levels to help them solve their problems.   This experience has enabled me to revise and invent hundreds of pieces of equipment for the plant incorporating mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, pumping, combustion, material handling, and safety systems, from weld repair procedures to 400' of conveyor.   Here is a sample of some of the projects that I designed.   Please note that these designs are property of the smelter's parent company.

Tapping Ladle Melt-out Burner

   Before    After
  Previously production was using a very simple, but extremely inefficient and somewhat hazardous torch to melt frozen aluminum out from the tapping ladles.   I designed this Tapping Ladle Melt-out Burner.   The burner has a modern, safe and efficient combustion control system.   It is mounted to an insulating cover.   The entire mechanism is operated remotely, via a double-acting pneumatic cylinder to open and close the cover and a computer controlled ignition system.