Eagle Aluminum specializes in permanent molding and greensand casting of aluminum products. In keeping with the Eagle Group's philosophy of continuous improvement, Eagle Aluminum's team is always looking for ways to improve our processes to achieve better quality, greater efficiency and reduced returns. This case study focuses on a recent innovation that dramatically improved the return rate for a line of parts without adding to processing time.
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 Foundry Association of Michigan.
The Foundry Association of Michigan (FAM) is a non-profit organization that works between the Michigan casting industry and state legislators, acting as a liaison and a lobbyist. When Michigan legislators propose new bills that will affect the casting community, either negatively or positively, FAM is there to galvanize member firms around an appropriate response, with the goal of keeping Michigan casting competitive locally and worldwide.
Greensand casting is a time-tested and highly versatile metalcasting process. Different foundries use different methods and materials, but greensand casting always involves creating molds by compacting moist, organically bonded sand around patterns. Whereas shell molding uses heat-bonded sand and no-bake casting uses chemically bonded sand to form molds, greensand casting is unique in that sand is bonded through naturally occurring compounds–in most cases, the bonding agent is clay.
At Eagle Aluminum Cast Products, our two principle casting methods are greensand and permanent molding. The greensand process is very customizable and capable of manufacturing nearly any type of cast product. Here, we'll explore the processes, casting characteristics, benefits and challenges of the greensand casting process.
Controlling the flow of liquid, gas and sometimes solids, valves have a deceptively simple job. Like an on/off (or dimmer) switch for tangibles, every valve is designed and built to guide the movement of a specific material.
Industrial valves are used in thousands of products and systems, from water infrastructure to offshore oil rigs. Since they have such a wide variety of applications, it naturally follows that valves come in thousands, if not millions, of shapes and sizes. They also run the gamut from simple to highly complex.
Despite high levels of variation, most industrial valves can be broken down into the same basic components: body (or enclosure), bonnet, actuator, valve member and seat.
Permanent mold casting is a type of metalcasting involving reusable molds. Whereas other casting methods, like sand casting and investment casting, use disposable molds, permanent molds last much longer and can be used to produce hundreds, or even thousands, of identical parts.
Every project can be matched with the ideal casting method. For non-ferrous castings with medium-to-high volumes, permanent mold casting offers a long list of advantages.
In modern metalcasting, steel and aluminum are two contenders for the top material of choice. Thousands of manufacturers around the world rely on both metals to produce strong, light and corrosion-resistant metal parts and products.
You'll find hundreds of different grades and alloys for both steel and aluminum, and each has its specific advantages and disadvantages. For this comparison, we'll focus on differences between aluminum and steel alloys in general, rather than zooming in on differences between specific alloys.
Aluminum can be shaped through a wide variety of process, including:
For any type of metal, casting is arguably the most versatile of all of the forming processes, and results in the greatest variety of parts. In fact, the US Department of Energy estimates that over 90% of all manufactured goods contain metal cast products.
Eagle Aluminum Cast Products, Inc. recently published an ebook offering insight into manufacturing with aluminum.
Manufacturing with Aluminum: History, Forming Techniques and Best Practices draws on decades of experience, taking a holistic approach to aluminum manufacturing. Weighing in at just under 25 illustrated pages, the ebook aims to fill a gap between online resources and textbooks. According to Jim Smith, Technical Manager at Eagle Aluminum, “We want to make sure anyone curious about aluminum can get all the basic information they need, without searching all over the Internet or going back to school.”
The Eagle Group will be at Design2Part 2018 in Grapevine, TX, March 14-15. If you're in the area or interested in going, we can get you in the door for free!
The event will be the largest contract manufacturing trade show in the region, with over 300 categories of manufacturing services on display. Design2Part is the place to be if you want to:
- Find quality suppliers
- Discover new technologies
- Solve manufacturing problems
A major manufacturer of ventilation systems contacted Eagle Aluminum Cast Products, Inc. when demand was growing and they were ready to make a change.
The customer had already been producing 48” fan blades for agricultural use through green sand casting, but they’d outgrown that method. Demand projections suggested that permanent mold casting would yield lower per-part costs, with the added benefit of greater consistency.
Years later, EACP still produces fan blades for the customer through the process of permanent mold casting. Demand has increased even more, and product offerings have become more diverse. Read on to learn how EACP handles the design, production and delivery of this cast aluminum fan blade.