Foundry and casting process illustration (3)
Bronze poured from a crucible into a mold, using the lost-wax casting process
In a foundry, molten metal is poured into molds. Pouring can be accomplished with gravity, or it may be assisted with a vacuum or pressurized gas. Many modern foundries use robots or automatic pouring machines to pour molten metal. Traditionally, molds were poured by hand using ladles.
The solidified metal component is then removed from its mold. Where the mold is sand based, this can be done by shaking or tumbling. This frees the casting from the sand, which is still attached to the metal runners and gates — which are the channels through which the molten metal traveled to reach the component itself.
Degating is the removal of the heads, runners, gates, and risers from the casting. Runners, gates, and risers may be removed using cutting torches, bandsaws, or ceramic cutoff blades. For some metal types, and with some gating system designs, the sprue, runners, and gates can be removed by breaking them away from the casting with a sledge hammer or specially designed knockout machinery. Risers must usually be removed using a cutting method (see above) but some newer methods of riser removal use knockoff machinery with special designs incorporated into the riser neck geometry that allow the riser to break off at the right place.
The gating system required to produce castings in a mold yields leftover metal — including heads, risers, and sprue (sometimes collectively called sprue) — that can exceed 50% of the metal required to pour a full mold. Since this metal must be remelted as salvage, the yield of a particular gating configuration becomes an important economic consideration when designing various gating schemes, to minimize the cost of excess sprue, and thus overall melting costs.
Heat treating is a group of industrial and metalworking processes used to alter the physical, and sometimes chemical, properties of a material. The most common application is metallurgical. Heat treatments are also used in the manufacture of many other materials, such as glass. Heat treatment involves the use of heating or chilling, normally to extreme temperatures, to achieve a desired result such as hardening or softening of a material. Heat treatment techniques include annealing, case hardening, precipitation strengthening, tempering, and quenching. It is noteworthy that while the term "heat treatment" applies only to processes where the heating and cooling are done for the specific purpose of altering properties intentionally, heating and cooling often occur incidentally during other manufacturing processes such as hot forming or welding.
After degating and heat treating, sand or other molding media may remain adhered to the casting. To remove any mold remnants, the surface is cleaned using a blasting process. This means a granular media will be propelled against the surface of the casting to mechanically knock away the adhering sand. The media may be blown with compressed air, or may be hurled using a shot wheel. The cleaning media strikes the casting surface at high velocity to dislodge the mold remnants (for example, sand, slag) from the casting surface. Numerous materials may be used to clean cast surfaces, including steel, iron, other metal alloys, aluminium oxides, glass beads, walnut shells, baking powder, and many others. The blasting media is selected to develop the color and reflectance of the cast surface. Terms used to describe this process include cleaning, bead blasting, and sand blasting. Shot peening may be used to further work-harden and finish the surface.
The final step in the process of casting usually involves grinding, sanding, or machining the component in order to achieve the desired dimensional accuracies, physical shape, and surface finish.http://www.pump-casting.com