In today’s highly industrialized world, life is unimaginable without cast metal products, which is funny because it’s hardly noticed by anyone. Metal casting has become so integral with our way of living that it has become assimilated in out day to day routine, without anyone realizing it. Now, what is metal casting, you ask? Well, to put it plainly, steel casting is a process in which molten metal is poured into a mould to create from the simplest to complex shapes of matter. Almost everything we know around us is made of metal, is produced through metal casting. Train wheels, lamp posts, even sculptures-every one of them are cast in a steel casting foundry. Apart from day to day objects, things vital to industrial production are also created through metal casting. From large scale industry equipment to smaller elements like valves (check valve casting, ball valve casting and so on) would not exist without casting.
The casting process occurs in six basic steps, viz. patternmaking, moulding, melting and pouring, shakeout and cleaning, heat treating, and inspection.
1) Patternmaking: A pattern is the exact copy of the object that is to be cast and is used to form the mould cavity. Patternmaking is the procedure of creating these patterns using a variety of materials like wood, plastic or even metals. The more accurate dimensions the pattern has, the more precise the stainless steel casting will be.
2) Moulding: Moulding is the process involving the creation of moulds in which molten metal is to be poured in. There are two types of moldings, namely, reusable and non-reusable. While the former can be used over and over again for it does not break during the steel castings process, the latter is eligible for only one time use as it breaks during the solidification or cooling process.
3) Melting and Pouring: The metals which are supposed to be melted and cast are loaded in a furnace. The furnace can either be an electric arc furnace or an induction furnace (the former is more widely used). Inside the furnace the metal is exposed to extremely high heat to reach the melting point (which is on an average above 1370C).
4) Solidification, Ejection and Cleaning: Depending on the type of industry, molten metals are poured either by skilled workers using ladles or by robotic arms and pouring machines. The melted metal is poured through a gates and risers system into the moulds where it is allowed to cool and solidify. When the metal is done adopting the shape of the mould, the casting is ejected from the mould or removed by shakeout in case of a sand mould.
5) Heat treatment: Sometimes the castings need to be modified in accordance with their usage and purpose. This is where heat treating comes in. Through the process of heating and chilling with a specific but extreme leap in temperatures a cast is physically modified to suit their purpose.
Over the years steel casting technology has expanded huge range of services and various types of metal castings: from check valve castings, to aesthetic product castings, day to day objects as well as heavy industrial equipment. The steel casting foundry networks are also providing a wide spectrum of work opportunities to engineers, technicians and semi-skilled labors. The foundries also help in recycling scrap, old metal objects, and turn them into usable products hence reducing metal waste and at the same time reducing their production cost and tackling the problem of limited raw material resource subsequently.