William Allen “Al” Hunter, originator of the matchplate molding machine and mold handling system for sand casting, dies at 89; pioneered many of the techniques and machine concepts used worldwide in the foundry industry

Al Hunter passed peacefully on October 29, 2011 in Naples, Florida.  A true giant in the world foundry market, Mr. Hunter changed the way sandcasting was done, by his invention of the matchplate molding and mold handling system in 1964, when he built his first machine, helped by his son and current president of the company, Bill, for sale to Moline Corporation of St. Charles, IL, a malleable iron foundry.  He will be missed by all who knew him and appreciated his zest for life and especially his love of invention.

Born on the family farm in Wilkie, Saskatchewan on July 13, 1922, Al left home at 17, took a bus to Edmonton, Alberta and worked in a meat packing plant.  In the Spring of 1940, he took a training course in airplane mechanics and then joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at 18.

Married to the late Margaret in Montreal in 1943 and released from military service in 1945, Al moved to Toronto to enter the university there, working as a floor molder at John T. Hepburn Foundry to pay for his part-time schooling.

Three children followed, Bill (current president of Hunter Automated) in 1946, Dianne in 1947 and Linda in 1949.  In 1951, Al received his BSME from the University of Toronto and moved back to Montreal to accept a position with Dominion Engineering.

A daughter Heather (wife of current Hunter VP Kevin Purdy) was born in 1956.  The following year, Al brought the family to America and accepted a position as chief engineer at Beardsley & Piper in Chicago, a leading builder of machinery for metalcasting and inventors of the SandSlinger technique.

At the end of 1963, Al left B&P to develop his concept for an automatic matchplate molding system.  In March of 1964, he founded Hunter Automated Machinery Corporation.

Having run the company day-to-day through 1988, Al turned over the operations to his son Bill, wishing to devote more time to his design and invention activities.

During his tenure at the head of the company, Al formed partnerships and reciprocal agreements with companies worldwide, a tradition that continues today, as Hunter Automated continuously seeks to serve its myriad customer needs for sand handling, testing, molding and finishing operations.   Hunter Automated is known worldwide in the foundry industry and its machines are found on every continent.

Al developed various concepts used every day in foundry operations, including multi-level mold handling systems and automatic coresetters.  His pioneering, can-do spirit will be missed by all who knew him and admired his total commitment to improving the world foundry market.

He was a member of AFS since 1960, was presented with the society’s Management Service Citation in 1990 and received the foundry industry’s prestigious Grede Award in 2001.  He held over 80 patents.

Al will be mourned by his children, their spouses, his 13 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild, as well as his family of employees at Hunter Automated, who will carry on his legacy.

The Hunter family asks that interested parties please contribute in Al’s memory to the Foundry Educational Foundation, c/o AFS, 1695 N. Penny Lane, Schaumburg, IL 60173 or at www.fefinc.com.

For more information, please contact:


2222 Hammond Drive Schaumburg, IL 60196
Phone: (847) 397-5110
Fax: (847) 397-8254
Email: info@hunterfoundry.com
Attention:  Bill Hunter, CEO
Web: www.hunterfoundry.com
Connect with Hunter Foundry online:  yt gplus thomasnet


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