John Lyons



International Die Casting Consultant.




Career History:


International Die Casting Consultant                                              February 2010 -  present                                        


  • Current projects include working with OEM who die casts magnesium themselves worldwide. Projects include to reduce porosity in order to increase mechanical properties, improve metal consumption, technical training, cycle time reduction, etc.
  • I am contracted by a large multinational company to improve the operational performance of their die casting division. Main plant has gone from loss making to a profit in excess of 5%.
  • I have assisted clients on pricing strategy resulting in price increases where necessary.
  • I have advised on product design for new components. Advised customers and die casters at the design stage the standards that are achievable in high pressure die casting, this resulted in significant savings for companies.
  • Advised or did the runner/gating/cooling/etc. design for new products (in excess of 50 in 2010).
  • I have advised/supported companies on significant productivity improvement (improvements in excess of 20%), lay out for new plants, several reject reduction programs, reduced tool delivery time by over 2 weeks, cycle time reduction programs, provided technical and management training programs (1- 4 days), trained/implemented process optimisation, advised on trim tool design, etc.
  • Assisted a company reduce total plant rejects from 7.72% to 3.9% after just eight 2 day visits. They provided adequate resources and did all experiments as requested in a timely manner. These parts were all machined with many having to be pressure tight. I continue to work with this company, our target is under 3% scrap including start up scrap when die is cold.
  • On 'old' die casting tools where restricted on alterations I still reduced rejects due to porosity at machining to less than 0.5% for approximately 100 automotive and motor bike pressure tight parts. This involved many actions including improving the die lock out, redesign of runner/gating system, change in plunger diameter, slight modification to casting dimension, improving die venting, optimising die casting parameters, etc.
  • Redesign of cooling system to achieve cycle time reductions on average of 10% - part weight 1.1 kg to 5.5 kg.
  • I have advised and was involved in the implementation of comprehensive FMEAs with the operators/production personnel now taking full responsibility for the quality of the parts they produce (along with providing appropriate gauging).
  • Suppliers measured and all costs due to non conformance transferred back onto supplier. This resulted in a significant reduction in costs.
  • Reviewed and improved die maintenance systems.
  • Reviewed and improved operator training systems.
  • I advised on a system to provide metal automatically from remelt furnance to die casting machine.
  • I established measureable business objectives with a large European Foundry Group.
  • Runner/gating/etc. design for USA companies.
  • Etc.
Managing Director reporting to Board of Directors                           2002 – October 2009

Atlas Aluminium, Atlas Avenue,

Limerick, Ireland                                                                                 


Business: Manufacturing and Machining and sub-assembly of Aluminium and Zinc Pressure Die Castings. Successfully produced a wide range of products for very demanding multinational companies.


Main Markets: UK, Germany, Holland, France, Ireland, Poland


Main Sectors: Automotive (approximately 65%), Information Communication Technology, General Engineering and Electrical White Goods   


Main Customers: Delphi, Motorola, EMC, Magna Donnelly, Phillips, Tyco, Dana, Autoliv, Takata-Petri, Ingersol Rand, Keehin, etc.


Number of Employees: in late 2007 when the factory closed there was 165 employees; company had 260 employees at its peak in late 2005



Plant Operations (Foundry, Finishing, Quality, and Personnel Departments)

Strategic Planning/ Yearly Business Plan

Engineering Department


Technical input into operations on a daily basis

Design of all runner and gating systems for new products

Point of contact for some of the major customers (Magna Donnelly, Autoliv, etc.)


Achievements/Continuous Improvements


  • In the period 2006 to 2007 reduced the cost base of the company by over €1m through voluntary redundancy program, and productivity improvements.
  • In 2007 reduced direct employees head count by 10% by increasing productivity.
  • Managed to reduce workforce by 100 employees without having to negotiate a redundancy package with the Union.
  • In 2007 negotiated price increases where necessary with customers worth approximately €400k per annum to the company.
  • Company achieved international quality standard TS16949 in 2005.
  • In 2005 after several trips to Asia (Vietnam, China, Taiwan) successfully concluded an outsourcing arrangement with a die casting company located in China. 
  • In 2004 reduced cost base of the company by over 1 million euros (in-directs €600k (no redundancies), materials/consumables €300k, etc.)), and obtained price increases where necessary in excess of €300k euros. This brought the company back to being profitable.
  • Undertook and completed a detailed strategic plan for the company (2003-2005), including the costing of establishing a manufacturing presence in Eastern Europe. This took several hundred hours to complete.
  • In 2003 plant performance reached an all time high for productivity, quality levels (PPM<500, industrial norm for die-casting was a PPM of 1500-2000), safety, and absenteeism (<5%)
  • 2002 Lean Manufacturing introduced, 50% of production eventually manufactured through lean i.e. products packed within 24 hours of being die casted.
  • 2002 Introduced SPC on machining processes resulting in winning awards for quality with several major customers.
  • 2001 introduced training/development courses annually for all members of staff in line with company objectives.
  • Error proofing used extensively throughout the plant
  • Involved in the design of all new products.
  • Attended daily reject/rework meeting.
  • Attended daily labour efficiency meeting.
  • Attended twice daily production meeting.
  • Attended weekly Quality meeting.
  • Attended weekly NPI meeting



Joint Managing Director                                                                                 1996 - 2001

Atlas Aluminium, Atlas Avenue,

Limerick, Ireland                                                             



Plant Operations (Foundry, Finishing, Quality, and Personnel Departments)

Strategic Planning/ Yearly Business Plan

UK Market/ Sales

Manage Key Accounts (Germany, Malaysia, UK, etc.)


Technical input into operations

Design of all runner and gating systems 



Achievements/Continuous Improvements:  
  • Company achieved international quality standard QS9000 quality system in 2002.
  • Company had major delivery, quality, and safety issues in 1995, it is now the #1 supplier to all its main customers (customer ratings available to support this), accidents and claims have been reduced by more then 50%.  
  • In 2000-2001 initiated and lead a cost reduction program factory wide, with most members of staff having a cost reductions project. This resulted in the company getting back to profitability and changed the culture of the company regarding costs, with employees now continually looking for new ways to reduce costs.
  • Painting/ plating company purchased in 2000.
  • Labour efficiency in the finishing department increased from 60% in 1995 to 92% by the year-end 2000.
  • Joint venture established with a plating company in 1998.
  • In 1998 a structured approach to training, and development of management & staff was established, resulting in less waste, increased utilisation of equipment, and resources, and improved customer performance.
  • Robotic cells were introduced into the foundry in 1997. By the year 2000 50% of production in the foundry was produced in these cells. The robot trimmed the parts in the die casting cell. We achieved the lowest manning level in the industry with one man responsible for three robotic cells.
  • Costing system implemented, and unprofitable business replaced and price increases obtained (1997).
  • Elimination of 100% inspection as a stand-alone operation, and combining of operations (1996). Annual saving in excess of £100k.
  • 1996 All management and staff given measurable yearly objectives, these are reviewed quarterly off site.
  • Company did not make a profit in 1994, or in 1995, profitability restored in 1996.
  • In 1996 organised and lead daily review off All internal rejects and rework resulting in ongoing reduction in costs.
  • In 1996 organised weekly review of All customer complaints and introduced systematic approach for preventing reoccurrence resulting in increased sales and on going reduction in costs.
  • Benchmarking: trips to France (1998), Japan (2000), Czech Republic (2001).





Foundry Manager                                                                                        1985-1994

Atlas Aluminium, Atlas Avenue,

Limerick, Ireland                                                              


Also responsible for Personnel Department from 1991



Aluminium and Zinc Foundries (30 die casting machines ultimately)

Production, quality, labour efficiency, personnel, safety, etc.

Personnel Department (Union Meetings/ Issues)

Troubleshoot Process/ Tool/ Machine as required  

3 Cycle Shift Operation

Design of runner systems and gates for all new products


Achievements/Continuous Improvements:                       



  • Lead twice daily foundry productivity meeting.
  • Lead twice daily foundry reject/rework meeting.
  • Die Design & Development, did all parametric calculations (fill time, cavity pressure, plunger size, etc.) for all new products. Set up a data base on actual critical parameters versus the theoretical. This was of great assistance in reducing rejects from 15% to less then 5% over a three year period.     
  • Did all runner and gate designs for all new products, successfully designed systems to produce 100s of products with very low levels of rejects.
  • Lead ‘Defect Reduction’ projects (top ten products rejects reduced by over 50%)
  • Lead the automation of the foundry, with the introduction of fully automated die castings machines utilizing pick and place units for the removal of parts. Successfully got the employees and Union to accept one man per three automated die casting machines.
  • Wrote all operator manuals (machine theory, process theory, die casting theory, safety) and then trained all operators myself.
  • Wrote all engineer/ machine setter technical training manuals (machine theory, process theory, die casting theory, safety, etc.) and then trained all technical personnel myself.
  • Lead ‘Cycle Time Reduction’ projects (10% increase in productivity).
  • Organised and lead bi -daily review of all foundry rejects
  • Fault finded the die casting process and die casting machine as required on a daily basis.
  • Benchmarking trips: Visited six German Die Casters/ Standards 




Maintenance Engineer                                                              1983-1985

General maintenance and trouble shooting die casting machines and auxiliary equipment.


Process Engineer                                                                      1982-1983

Set up die casting machines.

Trouble shooting the die casting process.




Bachelor of Engineering (BE)                                           1977-1981

University College Dublin, Ireland.


Secondary School:                                                            1977

Princethorpe College, near Lemington Spa,

Warwickshire, UK

A levels:  Physics - A, Maths - B, Chemistry - B




Business Leader’s Program (2004 Cranfield College, UK – 12 days)

Strategic Management/Planning (2)

Lean Manufacturing


WCM (1995 - 1997)

Project Management (2)

Production Management

Production Planning

Buhler Die Casting Design (2)

TS 16949


Hydraulics/Pneumatics/Robotics Technology


Health & Safety