This introduction to metalcasting provides a brief overview and history of the casting process, as well as an outline of common casting techniques in use today. The goal of this article is to give new manufacturers a better understanding of how metalcasting works and what steps are involved in producing cast products. By the end of the article, the reader should have a clear picture of the opportunities presented by metalcasting, and a sound appreciation for its potential as a modern manufacturing method.
Metalcasting is a modern manufacturing industry, and cast products are utilized in 90% of durable goods, from lamp posts to space shuttles. Still, no casting is perfect. Even with recent innovations in simulation and process technology, nearly every cast product will contain some level of defect. A clear understanding of casting defects is vital for any casting customer, as it helps guide realistic expectations when working with a casting facility.
While experienced casting facilities are skilled in finding a balance between cost and quality, purchasers should be closely involved in determining admissible levels of defects in deliverable products.
Grinding is a machining process using abrasive surfaces to remove material from metal workpieces. On the surface (pun intended) grinding may seem different than other machining processes, but it still works through chip formation and removal–just like sawing, milling, broaching and most other techniques. Grinding can produce surfaces conforming to rough or extremely close tolerances. Because of its versatility, grinding is used for simple gate removal in castings as well as advanced finishing processes like polishing and sharpening.
ESOPs are growing in popularity among businesses around the United States. They allow company owners to transfer ownership to employees by distributing stock, creating excellent retirement benefits and promoting stability and longevity for the company. Both Eagle Alloy and Eagle Precision have ESOPs in place.
Eagle Alloy celebrated 40 years of business last weekend with a large 40th anniversary party. Founded in 1979 to meet the needs of customers looking for a short-run steel foundry and stainless steel foundry, Eagle Alloy has grown into a successful casting facility that aggressively competes globally. After four decades, we have a lot to celebrate.
Broaching is a machining process using a cutting tool with teeth that increase in size from front to back. In many cases, an entire surface (or multiple surfaces) can be finished in a single pass with broaching. The technique is most often applied to finish holes, splines and flat surfaces.
Broaching is a relatively new machining process, developed in the 1850s with metal-specific applications. Originally, broaching was used to perform work on internal characteristics, like keyholes in pulleys and gears. During the 20th century, broaching was further developed for use in firearms, and subsequent developments have dramatically improved tolerances and made broaching more versatile for modern machine shops.
In our blog series, Casting Advocates, we get to know organizations and industry leaders who work to elevate the metalcasting profession. This installment focuses on the American Foundry Society (AFS).
The American Foundry Society is a national organization with a mission to "advance the success of its members and the metal casting industry through advocacy, education and innovation." In support of this mission, AFS works constantly to support technical innovation, advocate for beneficial policies, promote positive perception of the industry, develop workforce skills and provide a range of services and networking opportunities for casting facilities.
Sawing is one of the oldest cutting techniques in use today, and innovations have allowed the process to keep up with advances in material, tolerances and product complexity. By definition, sawing is cutting a narrow slit in a workpiece by moving a toothed or abrasive cutting tool against the surface. Sawing is often used to remove large sections of material without particular concern for tolerances, but modern CNC sawing machines can be used for finishing work as well.
Modern metal manufacturing offers a wide range of choices to bring designs into reality. Metalcasting has been around for millennia, and it's undergone its fair share of innovation over the years. Casting facilities can now handle almost any alloy, and can cast intricate designs with complex inner cavities that wouldn't have been possible even a few decades ago.