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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.

Sand Casting Process: Advantages and Limitations

Posted by Dave Olsen on 7/17/18 9:31 AM

Advantages of Using Sand Casting

Nearly any alloy:  Sand castings can be readily produced in nearly any ferrous or non-ferrous alloy.  Some other casting processes will melt and pour super-alloys in vacuum, but that is not typically done as a sand casting. Some materials cannot be “worked”, and must be produced as a casting.

Low tooling cost:  The relatively low cost of tooling makes sand casting a process of choice for lower volume needs.  Patterns do wear so the material selected for the pattern (typically wood, plastic, or metal) will depend on the expected usage quantity of the part being produced. Though not necessarily cheaper in the short run, the use of machined (or “patternless”) molds may be a cost effective option for components with expected lower usage over a longer period of time.

Versatile – Size, Weight, Shape:  Sand castings can be produced in weights from ounces to 200+ tons.  Through the use of cores, internal structures can be cast in place.  Shaped parts rely mainly on the imagination of the designer.  Most sand castings, however, will need at least some machined surfaces, either because of innate tolerance limits of the process, or the need to mate with other components.

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Topics: Sand Casting, Casting Process

What is Investment Casting and How Does It Work?

Posted by Dave Olsen on 7/16/18 4:30 PM

Investment Casting

Design requirements, cost, and feasibility to manufacture, dictate which metalworking processes (including which casting processes) are most suitable when choosing how to manufacture a product. This article describing investment casting is designed to assist you in making an informed manufacturing process decision.  

Investment casting employs techniques that produce precision engineered components that minimize material waste, energy, and subsequent machining. No other casting method, perhaps other than die casting, can ensure production of very intricate parts. That makes this process quite useful to design engineers.

So what is the investment in “Investment” casting? The term “invested” is not often used this way today, but carries the historical meaning of “clothed” or “surrounded”.  Investment casting employs a ceramic, plaster, or plastic shell that is formed around a wax pattern, into which metal is poured.  

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Topics: Investment Casting, Casting Process, Lost Wax Casting

What is Sand Casting and How Does It Work?

Posted by Dave Olsen on 7/16/18 1:35 PM

Sand Casting

The oldest known casting process, sand casting can be traced back to earlier than 1000 B.C. Process controls, material options, tolerance capabilities, the ability to produce elaborate parts, broad size ranges – those have all come a very long way, of course.  But the metals fundamentals are relatively unchanged.  Create a cavity in the shape of the part you want, and pour molten metal into it. 

The result of centuries of development is that sand casting is the most versatile, and probably the most widely used, metal casting method.

Design requirements (including shaping and dimensional needs), piece and tooling cost, quantity needed, and even feasibility to manufacture dictate which metalworking processes (including which casting processes) are most suitable when choosing how to manufacture a product.  

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Topics: Sand Casting, Casting Process

What to Look For When Choosing a Casting Supplier

Posted by Dave Olsen on 2/5/18 2:05 PM

The process of choosing the right metal casting supplier should not be the same as choosing your supplier for bolts, manufacturing equipment, or office supplies. While some may treat metal castings as a commodity, they are far from it and the process for selecting the right supplier for a specific application requires careful consideration.

Supplier qualification is the most important part in the purchasing process. Traditionally, a purchaser’s primary responsibility was to find qualified and responsive suppliers. In some cases, purchasers assumed that any supplier willing to contractually meet the purchase requirement was qualified. However, using low cost and unqualified suppliers can cause quality issues, and wasted time and money in the long run.

To help you through the process, here are some things to consider when choosing the right metal casting supplier.  

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

Sand Casting Process: Featured Solution Examples

Posted by Dave Olsen on 8/3/17 2:45 PM

Think of a test that you face in metal component design or application. Here are some examples of where leveraging the advantages of sand casting have helped solve an application challenge.  Maybe you will see a problem you are working to resolve.

High performance needs combined with light weight

Military hardware transported by air to the place it is needed must be ready to perform, but also must be light enough to be portable. “Box Beam” sand casting sets in radiographic quality 17-4PH stainless steel ranging up to 1,000 lbs. and 14’ in length provided the needed strength and weight.  The solution was a result of work to select the alloy grade that delivered the needed performance with the right strength to weight ratio, and then producing to the standard.

Design and Tooling Capability Saves Development Time

Quick performance, perhaps caused by the need to rapidly develop alternative sources, relies in part on robust design and tooling capabilities.   ProE and AutoCAD for in-house design, Magma Soft for solidification simulation takes time and guesswork out of the design process.  When combined with the ability to supply patterns in wood, synthetics, metals, and other materials the upfront time to get into production quickly.

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Topics: Sand Casting, Casting Process

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