If you have never worked in a foundry, the process of creating the metal components that drive industries is probably foreign to you. In agriculture, transportation, construction, mining, and a variety of other industries, the parts for essential machines come from custom-made casts.
The journey from idea, to mold, to finished product requires craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology only found in the best foundries. From melting and molding, and everything in between, here is a rundown of the basic steps in the casting process from your friends at Prospect Foundry.
1. Create the Mold
Before we can melt any material, we first need to have a carefully crafted mold into which we can pour and shape melted material. This starts with a 3D model, or pattern, of what the final component will look like. Patterns are typically made from plastic, wax, sand, or wood. Next, we build a mold around the pattern, and the pattern melts or we remove it from inside. This leaves a shell that we can now fill with molten material to create your metal component.
2. Melt the Material
Next, we melt the metal that will be poured into the mold. At Prospect Foundry, one of the technologies we implement regularly to perform the melting process is the induction furnace. An induction furnace uses an electromagnetic field to melt substances. A coil of copper surrounds the crucible and creates a current that excites the molecules in the metal. This method is especially useful because it allows the material to be completely isolated without the danger of introducing other elements such as oxygen.
Due to the high temperatures created and care needed to operate a furnace, the foundry industry is regulated to ensure rigorous safety and health standards. Team members wear thick protective gear and eyewear and operate using tools to keep a safe distance from the molten material.
3. Pour the Molten Material
Because Prospect Foundry is a tier-one supplier of casting products, the size of our crucibles sometimes prevents direct pouring from crucible to mold. In these cases, pouring ladles transport molten metal into the mold. Ladles protect operators from splash, flames, and sparks. Depending on the volume of the material, smaller ladles can be used by a foundry worker themselves; however, machine-lifted ladles can lift tons of material as well.
4. Set the Mold
After the material is poured into the mold, it is cooled to allow the metal to harden and the mold to set. The molding machines at Prospect Foundry are incredibly advanced. For castings from 1-40 pounds, our facilities are capable of producing up to 80 molds per hour. Even for castings of up to 400 pounds, we can produce up to 15 molds per hour.
5. Remove the Material from the Mold
After the material has cooled, the mold is broken away or removed in pieces, leaving the completed casting. Extraneous pieces created from the pour site of the molten material are cut away or shaped with clippers or an angle grinder. We finish the final casting with a grinder or blast machine to achieve its final appearance. At Prospect Foundry, we pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for our clients, providing complete solutions from preliminary design to finished product.
Work with a Market Leader in Metal Casting
Since 1936, Prospect Foundry has been a market leader in complex cored gray and ductile iron castings. We attribute these 85 years of successful service to our consistent and unyielding commitment to craftsmanship and quality. When it comes to casting projects of all sizes, choose a supplier that can offer a fully integrated solution by utilizing design expertise and a seamless supply chain, delivering world-class products in a finished and timely manner.