Ask the Metals Experts

FROM THE DESK OF THE METALS EXPERTS

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.

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.

Read More

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

Basics of Casting 101

Posted by Dave Olsen on 10/19/18 4:45 PM

MetalTek offers more metal casting process diversity. Your ability to source centrifugal, sand, investment, HPLT, or continuous cast products from a single company is not available anywhere else in the world. Not sure which precision casting process is right for your components or application? Read the below article on the basics of casting and feel free to contact us if you have questions.  We would love to become your metals partner Because You Demand More Than Metal.

Read More

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

History of Metal Casting

Posted by Dave Olsen on 10/16/18 1:56 PM

Today, metal casting is a complex and intricate process which requires exact chemistry and flawless execution. While current methods may be relatively new when compared to the history of human civilization, the first casting of metals can actually be traced all the way back to around 4000 BC. In those times, gold was the first metal to be cast because of its malleability, and back then, metal from tools and decoration was reused because of the complications of obtaining pure ore. However, a copper frog is the oldest existing casting currently known; it is estimated that it was made in 3200 BC in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Bronze then became the metal of choice to cast with because its rigidity compared to gold, and it was melted and cast into various tools and weapons by way of permanent stone molds. The process of casting made its way to Egypt by 2800 BC, and effectively performing this process was tremendously influential on their gain of power during the Bronze Age. Around 1300 BC, the Shang Dynasty in China were the first to utilize sand casting when melting metals. Then around 500 BC, the Zhou Dynasty introduced cast iron to the world, but it was used mostly for farmers. Cast iron did not become a military tool or decoration until the Qin Dynasty almost 300 years later. 

Fast forward almost 1000 years, religion played a major role in advancing and innovating foundry technology during that time. Extraordinary evolution came from the construction of cathedrals and churches, melting and mold-making processes advanced rapidly to keep up with the demand of the dominant Catholic church. This also marked the boundary of the period between casting for the purpose of art and viewing casting as a technology with unknown potential. It was not too long after the advancements of bell casting that, ironically, a monk in Ghent (present-day Belgium) was the first to cast a cannon in 1313 with the same technology. Over 150 years after the first cast cannon, Vannoccio Biringuccio, also known as the father of the foundry industry, recorded the first written account of casting and foundry practices. His work, De Le Pirotechnia, was separated into 10 sections that covered many subjects including minerals, assaying, smelting, alloys, casting, as well as alchemy; it is one of the oldest technical documents still around from the Renaissance era.

Read More

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

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.  

Read More

Topics: Investment Casting, Casting Process, Lost Wax Casting

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.  

Read More

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

MetalTek International
Download Our Alloy Guide 
Download Our Where Used Guide 

Follow Us