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Welcome to the MetalTek Blog.

As your Metals Partner, it is our goal to educate you on various casting processes. Feel free to browse around to learn more but if you have questions or need to submit an RFQ, please contact us. MetalTek International. Because You Demand More Than Metal.

Dave Olsen

Recent Posts

5 Examples When Castings Were Better Option vs. Fabrication or Forging

Posted by Dave Olsen on 12/10/19 4:36 PM

Partnering with a supplier that brings a full range of metalworking processes lets you be confident that you are getting the best metalworking advice – and not just being sold on an idea because it is the only answer a supplier has. The replacement of multi-piece weldments or highly-machined hogouts by single piece castings has been proven time and again to be one of the most effective ways to reduce real product cost. Here are just five real-life examples of when the casting process was a better choice for the customer than a fabrication or forging. 

#1.) Centrifugal Casting Replaced Complex Fabrication
Controllable pitch propulsion (CPP) systems provide the ability to alter the angle of the ship’s propeller while in use, allowing for different performance during cruising and maneuvering. A centrifugal hub provides the strength and size needed to transfer up to 50,000 shaft horsepower to five attached propeller blades. The hub and 15 other accessories that MetalTek produces for the CPP must perform in corrosive environments for the life of the vessel. Fabrications previously used were very intricate, with multiple pieces and welds, and much machining. The single piece nickel aluminum bronze hub that MetalTek has supplied for 35 years is the largest, most complex centrifugal casting ever produced. The use of a single piece part in this application eliminates welded joints and defects in those fabrications that are only discovered after finished machining.

#2.) Fabrication Could Not Achieve Dimensional Stability
International research, including that done in conjunction with the DOE, strives to create conditions in the lab necessary to support nuclear fusion.  Huge machinery, such as the “Z-Machine”, can create temperatures of 2.9 million °F (1.6 million °C) for fractions of a second.  Integral components must have the ability to conduct electricity and perform in the machine’s water cooling system.  Attempts to use fabrications in those applications were abandoned because dimensional stability could not be achieved.  The customer came to MetalTek for a casting solution, a particularly challenging one because of the product’s large size.  MetalTek specializes in large investment castings, and now supplies products with better dimensional consistency than was available with a fabrication.

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Topics: Investment Casting, Sand Casting, Centrifugal Casting, Continuous Casting, Process Selection, Casting Process, Lost Wax Casting, Conversion

Examples of Continuous Castings Solving a Problem and Decreasing Costs

Posted by Dave Olsen on 12/4/19 4:03 PM

The continuous casting process involves pouring molten metal through a die of the desired outside profile. If shaping on the I.D. is also desired, the material may flow around a mandrel to create that profile. As a result, continuous cast product is often chosen to dramatically reduce machining cost. Here are just two examples of when the continuous casting process resulted in a cost savings.

AMS 4880 Alloy for High Wear Bushings and Sleeves
Taking off in an airplane is exciting but safely landing at your destination is the ultimate goal of flight. The landing gear is just one of the many important systems MetalTek’s aerospace customers design and build for commercial use. Two major landing gear components are bushings and sleeves that need to withstand wear from airplanes transitioning from 140-190 MPH to taxi speeds in a matter of seconds. MetalTek’s onsite metallurgical group recommended changes to their customer’s specifications to use continuously cast components made of AMS 4880, a nickel aluminum bronze (NAB) alloy, which met the component’s wear demands and offered an attractive cost savings over forged material. 

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Topics: Alloy Selection, Physical Properties, Mechanical Properties, Continuous Casting, Casting Process

What Is Non-Ferrous Metal?

Posted by Dave Olsen on 11/4/19 3:19 PM

Non-ferrous metals or alloys are materials that are not iron based like their ferrous counterparts. One of the more common groups of non-ferrous materials are copper-based alloys such as bronze and brass. While it is common to use brass and bronze interchangeably, there is a difference.

Brasses are copper-based alloys which have zinc as the principle alloying element. In some cases, small amounts of nickel, aluminum, iron, or silicon may be also present. A good example is C85500 (also known as “60-40 yellow brass”). This alloy contains up to 63% copper, 0.8% aluminum, and around 40% zinc. Since the zinc content is high, the material is classified as brass.

Bronzes are copper-based alloys where the major alloying element is not zinc or nickel. The term bronze is used with a preceding modifier that describes the type of bronze it is, by indicating the major alloying element(s). For example, MTEK 83-7-7-3/C93200 is a high lead tin bronze because it contains 7% tin and 7% lead in addition to 83% copper and 3% zinc. Also, MTEK 175/C95400 is called an aluminum bronze because it is made up of 11% aluminum in addition to 85% copper and 4% iron.

Common bronze families or alloy groups are: Aluminum Bronze, Manganese Bronze, Tin Bronze, Leaded Tin Bronze, and High Copper Alloys.

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Topics: Copper Based Alloys, Non-Ferrous, Alloy Selection, Bronze, Wear Resistance, Wear

MetalTek Announces E.J. Kubick as CEO as Part of Planned Succession

Posted by Dave Olsen on 10/28/19 2:26 PM

Press Release

MetalTek International today announced that Chief Operating Officer E.J. Kubick has replaced Bob Smickley as Chief Executive Officer. This is part of the multiyear succession plan that began with Mr. Kubick’s appointment to the COO role in January 2017. Mr. Kubick and Mr. Smickley will both continue to serve on MetalTek’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Kubick joined MetalTek in 2003 and has served in a series of operational and leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Under his leadership MetalTek expanded its capabilities in centrifugal, sand, and investment casting while strengthening its focus on operational excellence.

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Topics: Press Release

10 Examples of Choosing the Right Metal Alloy for the Application

Posted by Dave Olsen on 10/22/19 3:06 PM

Sometimes particular alloys work in an application. Sometimes critical components and materials just don’t perform in a certain environment at all. There are factors like strength, resistance to corrosion, environmental temperature extremes, and many others, that help dictate which alloy to choose. Often a designer will select a familiar standard “workhorse” grade and keep moving, when time spent to better understand the environment and performance expectations can result in a healthier decision – one that reduces long term cost or improves performance.

Some examples where users analyzed the specific application and worked with MetalTek on selecting the correct alloy may shed some light on how that analysis provided a better material choice:

Metal Matrix Composite for Clutch Winch Drum Dramatically Increases Life
Naval supply replenishment vessels transfer equipment and supplies to military ships in service, while allowing for the relative motion of the ships. They employ high horsepower continuous slip air clutches to control the tension of connecting cables between the ships to allow for motion of the seas and relative movement of the vessels. The drums became unreliable and subject to significant wear when the change to non-asbestos brake material was implemented. MetalTek pioneered the development of a Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) centrifugally cast material for use in the friction drums. The MMC material used in the drum application virtually eliminated corrosion and drum wear. In addition, reduced hourly operating cost by 90%.

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Topics: Alloy Selection, Physical Properties, Mechanical Properties, Casting Process

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