Ask the Experts

How do I order steel castings/What is required to get an accurate, timely quote?

(Answer provided by Steel Founders Society of America - View source)

As with any manufacturing process, in order to produce a part, it is necessary to know:

  • Design - What is the part?
  • Material - What should the part be made of?
  • Testing - How should the part be tested before delivery?

Inquiry and Ordering

All pertinent information must be stated on both the inquiry and order.

  • Casting shape - either by drawing or pattern. Drawing should include dimensional tolerances, indications of surfaces to be machined, and datum points for locating.
  • Material specification and grade (Example: ASTM A27-87 Grade 60-30 Class I).
  • Number of Parts
  • Supplementary Requirements (Example: ASTM A781-87a S2 Radiographic Examination).
  • Test Methods (e.g. ASTM E94)
  • Acceptance Criteria (e.g. ASTM E186 severity level 2 or MSS-SP-54)
  • Any other information that might contribute to the production and use of the part.

What are the advantages of castings?

(Answer provided by Steel Founders Society of America - View source )

A casting may be defined as a "metal object obtained by allowing molten metal to solidify in a mold ", the shape of the object being determined by the shape of the mold cavity.

Certain advantages are inherent in the metal casting process. These often form the basis for choosing casting over other shaping processes such as machining, forging, welding, stamping, rolling, extruding, etc. Some of the reasons for the success of the casting process are:

  • The ability, both internal and external, to cast the most intricate of shapes. As a result, many other operations, such as machining, forging, and welding can be minimized or eliminated.
  • Because of their physical properties, some metals can only be cast to shape since they cannot be hot-worked into bars, rods, plates, or other shapes from ingot form as a preliminary to other processing.
  • Construction may be simplified. Objects may be cast in a single piece that would otherwise require assembly of several pieces if made by other methods.

Metal casting is a process highly adaptable to the requirements of mass production. Large numbers of a given casting may be produced very rapidly. For example, in the automotive industry hundreds of thousands of cast engine blocks and transmission cases are produced each year.

Extremely large, heavy metal objects may be cast when they would be difficult or economically impossible to produce otherwise. Large pump housing, valves, and hydroelectric plant parts weighing up to 200 tons illustrate this advantage of the casting process.

Some engineering properties are obtained more favorably in cast metals. Examples are:

  • More uniform properties from a directional standpoint. Cast metals exhibit the same properties regardless of which direction is selected for the test piece relative to the original casting. This is not generally true for wrought metals.
  • Strength and lightness in certain light metal alloys, which can be produced only as castings.
  • Good bearing qualities are obtained in casting metals.

A decided economic advantage may exist as a result of any one or a combination of points mentioned above. The price and sale factor is a dominant one that continually weighs the advantages and limitations of process used in a competitive enterprise.

There are many more advantages to the metal-casting process; of course it is also true that conditions may exist where the casting process must give way to other methods of manufacturing, when other processes may be more efficient.

What are the basic steps in making sand castings?

(Answer provided by Steel Founders Society of America - View source)

There are six basic steps in making sand castings:

  1. Obtaining the casting geometry
  2. Pattern making
  3. Core making
  4. Molding
  5. Melting and pouring
  6. Cleaning

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