John Lyons



International Die Casting Consultant.


Career History:


International Die Casting Consultant October 2009 - present                                        


  • I provided advice/costings/etc. to numerous strategy, investment, and consultancy firms including Irving Place Capital, McKinsey & Company Inc., etc.
  • I advised/supported on significant productivity improvement (improvements in excess of 20% per annum), design & lay out for new plant, several reject reduction programs, cycle time reduction programs, reduced tool delivery time by over 2 weeks, provided technical and management training programs (1- 4 days), trained/implemented process optimisation, advised on trim tool design, etc.
  • Assisted die casting companies get  price increases during the recession.
  • Reviewed teams that were formed resulting in machine up time increasing by over 10%.
  • Reduced rejects by setting up teams and establishing very comprehensive FMEAs/Control Plans with the operators/production personnel taking full responsibility for the quality of the parts they produce (providing appropriate gauging etc.).
  • 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.
  • Educated many die casters on how to achieve maximum tool life though good tool design and effective process control.
  • I have advised on product design for new components.Advised at the design stage the standards that are achievable in high pressure die casting, this resulted in significant savings for the company.
  • Advised or did the runner/gating/cooling/etc. design for new products (in excess of 30 in 2011).
  • Redesign of cooling system and process cycle to achieve cycle time reductions on average of 10%.
  • Part weight varied from 0.25 kg to 5.5 kg.
  • On 'old' die casting tools where restricted on alterations I still reduced rejects due to porosity at machining to less than 1% for approximately 60 automotive (part weight up to 24 kg) and motor bike pressure tight parts in 2010 to 2012- for many parts achieved 0% rejects when process stable. 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.
  • Reduce total plant rejects by 32%. These parts were all machined with most having to be pressure tight.
  • Reduce total plant rejects by 50% 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.Advised on hydraulic performance of die casting machines and the actions required to correct same.
  • I assisted OEMs with magnesium die casting plants worldwide; Projects include to reduce porosity in order to increase mechanical properties, reject reduction, improve metal consumption, technical training, cycle time reduction, increase in tool life, etc. Provided in put to improve tool design and standards, process optimisation, significant reduction in material consumption, etc.. 
  • Formulated and presented 2-4 technical/management programs worldwide (UK, Europe, Asia, etc.).
  • Assisted OEMs who had very severe problems with their suppliers.
  • I established measureable business objectives with a large European Foundry Group.
  • I have assisted clients on pricing strategy resulting in price increases where necessary.
  • Runner/gating/etc. design for USA companies e.g La France Corporation.
  • Designed check sheets etc. for German European OEM with global operations that was targeting die casting group for takeover.
  • I advised on a system to provide metal automatically from remelt furnance to die casting machine.
  • Assisted companies to successfully source high quality tooling in China at significantly less cost.
  • Have assisted companies in start up situations - technical and management
  • etc.


    Plant Turnarounds (Europe & Asia)

    • Lead the turn around in the high pressure die casting plants of a very large European die casting group (annual sales in excess of €400 million) that went bankrupt. OEE up +35%, savings due to reduced scrap +€1.5 million per annum, labor efficiency up ~50%, customer complaints reduced >50%, etc.
    • Assisted very large Asian die casting Group to significantly improve operational performance, turnover in excess of €250 million - main plant has gone from loss making to a profit in excess of 5%.
    • Lead turn around of mid sized European die casting company i.e.restructure/cost reductions/etc. - P/L improved by several million Euros.
    • etc.



    • Redesigning sand castings 5 – 15 kg so that they can be die casted using the high pressure process. First casting completed with very significant saving per casting. Project also typically involves writing quality requirements, sourcing casting in China, supplier evaluation, etc. 

    • Supplier development in order to achieve zero or very low PPM levels. This work has included part redesign, assisting the suppliers to improve their process (runner /gate modifications etc.) & improved process controls, etc. 

    USA Investment Company

    • Completed 'due diligence' on a European die casting company for USA Investment Company. I wrote up all questions/check sheets etc. and reviewed all key management (CEO/marketing/finance/operations/HR/quality/etc.), assets reviewed/valuation, audited the process, evaluated operator (responsibilities/knowledge/skill/effectiveness/etc.), reviewed die design process, reviewed operational efficiency (utilisation/rejects/manning levels/cycle times/etc.) and determined workforce required if plant was to have a highly trained productive workforce and management team (determined employee numbers can be reduced by at least 60%), outlined actions required to improve profitability and costed same, etc.
    • Undertook very detailed market research, etc. 

     Australia Law Firm
    •  Liability expert in a complex court case involving four parties. Produced +50 page report highlighting all the failings (management and technical) of the various parties involved.

    Plant Assessments
    • Carried out plant wide assessments for several die casters ranging from 2- 6 days. 
    • Departments include - Melting/Diecasting/Trim/Fettle/Shot blast/CNC/Assembly/Leak test/Final inspection & pack. Assessment included detailed review with each manager.
    • Report includes detailed action plan to improve. Savings can be costed if required.

    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.





    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 HR 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











            Subpages (1): Products Developed
            John Lyons,
            Nov 23, 2020, 12:01 PM