Foundry and CNC Factory visit

We homeschoolers got to see a real Foundry where molten metal alloy is made into valves, thanks to Biren Karani, himself the father of a 14 year old homeschooler, on the 7th of February 2013.

My daughter Grace wrote a report below, since I was not present that day. You will also find below reports by other Homeschooling kids and parents too!

^ A worker gave us a chance to help him and to learn. Here they are making the core, which they will put inside the molds to make the valves hollow.

^ These are metals burning in the furnace. The temperature was 1600 degrees Celsius!

^ And this is the container in which the metals were put. It is made of graphite so that it doesn’t melt easily.

^ The hot metal alloy as it is put into the mold.

^ Here’s the end product of the whole process. They need to remove the core which they had put inside to make it hollow.

The room in which all this was taking place wasn’t very big, it was, in fact, like a godown. It was hot and had a furnace at one end. The furnace was three feet deep and there was a pipeline underground through which air could flow and control the flames. They make the valves out of an alloy of 4 metals- copper, tin, lead, and zinc. It was a good learning experience for us who had no clue as to how these valves were made. We got to watch, practice, and learn all in one. The workers were all friendly and willing to entertain us, and have us help around. What’s more, as we were waiting for the valves to cool in their molds, we got to step into a thermocol factory just next door!

This is what Aravinda wrote:

Last week we had a little field trip for the homeschoolers in Mumbai.  I was kind of watching Mathew‘s blog waiting for him to post as he usually does for the field trips.  Meanwhile, even though I won’t do justice to all the fascinating things we saw, I thought I should just post my bit.
We had quite an eye opening visit to a foundry in Goregaon where they were actually pouring hot metal into moulds made of sand and turning out pipes and other plumbing fixtures.  Incredible!  I hardly imagined that today in 2013 real live foundries were working this way.  Each and every mould is made for each part – once the metal cools, they break the mould and take the sand back to the pile to make another one.   While we waited for the metal to cool we also peeked a few doors down at a thermocol factory.  It is actually somewhat frightening to think about how all these things are made, how crowded and poorly ventilated these places are, and how ill-prepared they are for any mishap.  The workers are really operating under risky conditions – not even basic protective goggles, masks, proper shoes, let alone more specialized safety gear.  And those living near the factories also deal with the daily pollution and risk of any accident like what happened in Bhopal.
From there we proceeded to Andheri to see some other factories – who could ever imagine so many factories could be tucked away in these buildings?  We saw metal work done in a more modern, computer-controlled process.  We saw the factory where they make thosedrills used to dig up roads.   And then an “injection plastic” workshop where they were making fevicol tubes.    And a couple more all crammed into this building, Mumbai style.

Enormous thanks to Sejal and Biren who contacted the respective foundry and factory personnel to arrange these visits.  The staff at each place were so patient with all of us, and allowed the children to handle various parts and even the machines in some cases.
I should also thank Mathew and Vinita who helped coordinate and guided me by phone as we were searching through the winding back lanes of Goregaon for the foundry, and Shanthi who gave us a ride from Goregaon to Andheri and then from Andheri to Kanjur Marg.   Though it is not very easy for many of the homeschoolers in Mumbai, spread out across the big city, to meet regularly for group activities, programs like this remind us how much fun it is to get together and we are more motivated to do it again soon.

This is what Khiyali a home/unschooler kid wrote:

The Foundry and Factory homeschool field trip- According to a kid.  (Namely Khiyali)

Children put sand into a box to make a mold for pouring metal.

Children pack sand into boxes to make molds for pouring metal.

Okay, first we went to a metal foundry, which was pretty fun, because they let us make, or at least help make*, some molds for the metal.   For some reason they made the molds out of sand.  Never thought sand would be a match for the molten metal they were going to pour in afterward!  But it did seem to be, because the metal came out fine.  The sand stuff was a lot of fun.  They also made ‘cores’ (also out of sand!) to put in the molds to make hollow places in the finished product.  They let us help with one of those, too.  I think some kids started putting sand in another core-mold (I also put some), and so the man helped us finish that one, too.  We were trying to copy what he had done, on the second core.

The factories were a lot more boring though.  All we did there was watch and collect bits of interestingly shaped bits of metal and plastic, plus empty fevicol tubes.  Also we fooled around a bit**, in the corridors between factory rooms.
I guess that’s pretty much it.

*but we probably did ~ maybe 80% of it.  Not 10-20% like you might imagine.
**actually a lot.


And here is Gillian’s report:

Firstly, want to say a huge thank you to Sejal and Biren for organising the entire visit, inspite of their busy schedules,  first to the foundry, thermocol factory and then to the injection/fevicol/some kind of block printing — have forgotten what those machines were called. The patience and grace with which each worker answered all the kids questions throughout the day was admirable

The entire day  —  all the visits were extremely fascinating, mind-blowing actually.  To watch the entire process of how moulds are made from the furnace to the finished mould was an experience worth going through.  I felt like a child all over again!!  One just cannot imagine the kind of creativity and intelligence God has invested in us humans!!

The thermocol making process too seemed very simple in terms of the process but the ingenuity was wow!!

Even to observe the way the fevicol tubes were being processed from a solid small piece to a hollow tube …. gosh, we have so much to learn.  Its never too late!!!

Thanks also to Mathew and Vinita for keeping us informed of the various outings and for taking such an active role in making these trips possible.

Thanks to Yohaan too for taking some really superb pictures.


Published by Dr. S. P. Mathew

A Mumbai-based practising Physician, passionate about God's wonderful creation, fitness, and integral health, writer, activist and family man. Saved by God's Grace alone :-) to be his Ambassador.

4 thoughts on “Foundry and CNC Factory visit

  1. Hi Mathew,
    I really feel bad about missing the foundry visit… kids would have loved it.
    If there is anything like this the next time around, we are on. I am thoroughly confused about which site these events get posted on….since we seemed to have missed a few of them.
    Can we fix one particular forum where the events get posted on?

  2. Every bit of the visit was worth it, from the great company to the simple yet really kind hardworking labourers thru the processes to the finished goods!! Brilliant learning experience. Thanks a ton.

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