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NEWCAST 2015 Specialist Article

new0000 tm01 cmyk01 1Foundries manufacture high-tech products with good prospects

January 13, 2015 - NEWCAST 2015 - International Trade Fair for Precision Castings - will present innovative solutions for the foundry industry from June 16 – 20, 2015.

Foundry manufactured products are in great demand in all technical areas thanks to the many different ways in which workpieces can be formed and the different physical properties that can be combined in them. Small parts like bone implants, vehicle components for such products as engine blocks, pistons, housings, shafts and chassis parts as well as enormous diesel engines for ships, for example, are manufactured by casting. Foundries are therefore a key high-tech industrial sector with good prospects. According to the European Foundry Association (CAEF), the central association of the European Foundry Trade Associations, there are more than 4,000 foundries that process ferrous materials or non-ferrous metals with over 200,000 employees in Europe alone. Global casting production is likely to reach about 100 million tons in 2015.

The following article covers casting materials, the special features of the main casting processes and the ways in which foundries design and manufacture customized parts for other industries. Development times are, in general, becoming shorter, while production batches are becoming smaller. Many products are required to be lightweight structures and efficient use of energy and raw materials is on the agenda. For a long time, it has been standard procedure to use computer-based processes to develop, optimize and manufacture castings and the molds and cores needed to produce them and to control, synchronize and monitor the many different processes that are carried out at foundries. Development is continuing on an ongoing basis in the areas of casting materials, molding materials and casting processes, too.

NEWCAST 2015, the International Trade Fair for Precision Castings, taking place in Düsseldorf, Germany from June 16 – 20, 2015, will give insights into the castings sector, including ideas for the use of castings in technical structures and the prospects for future technical developments in foundry production technology.

Long tradition
Parts with any required shape, including internal cavities, can be manufactured in a single operation by casting. Forming is done by pouring molten metal into a mold, where it adapts to the shape of the mold and solidifies. At the process engineering level, a distinction is made between lost mold casting, which is also called sand casting, and permanent mold casting, including die-casting. Cores fitted in the mold create cavities inside castings. In sand casting, the mold and cores are generally made from special sand to which bonding agents have been added and can only be used for one casting operation. The mold and the cores break when the casting is removed from the mold. The sand can be reprocessed and 95% of it can be used again. In the other processes, which are used primarily for casting non-ferrous metals, the molds consist of cast iron or heat-resistant steel and are used over and over again. Permanent metal molds have the advantage over lost molds that the heat transmission capacity is considerably higher, which helps to cool the molten metal down faser. This in turn gives the casting a finer structure with favorable mechanical properties.

Metal casting materials
Castable metals are traditionally divided into ferrous casting materials and non-ferrous casting materials. The first group includes cast iron materials such as cast iron with lamellar graphite, cast iron with spheroidal graphite, black and white malleable iron and casting steel. The non-ferrous metal casting materials include aluminum, magnesium, copper, titanium, lead, tin, zinc, nickel and other non-ferrous metals as well as castable alloys of them.

Innovative – with an exciting future
The automotive industry is the biggest customer of the foundry industry and its most important innovation driver. According to data collected by the Association of the German Foundry Industry (BDG), more than 75 percent of the castings manufactured from non-ferrous metals and more than 50 percent of the castings manufactured from ferrous materials are supplied to the automotive industry. Automotive engineering applications account for almost 60 percent of total casting production volume, followed by machine manufacturing (25 to 30 percent). Other major industrial customers are power plant construction and electrical engineering, railways and rail manufacturing, aerospace, building, shipbuilding, marine engineering and medical engineering. Progress in these industries is attributable to a large extent to the developments made by the companies in the foundry industry. The know-how acquired in this context is a stable basis for satisfying the growing requirements of customers and for enabling them to operate successfully in an increasingly fierce competitive environment.

State of the art and trends
Like companies in other industrial sectors, foundries need to keep their operating costs low, with a particularly close watch on energy consumption. Foundries require very large amounts of energy to smelt casting materials and keep them warm, to pour castings and, sometimes, to give castings heat treatment. This means that energy is a very important cost factor. Foundries must also be in a position to manufacture sophisticated products with shorter and shorter development times. Production batches are becoming smaller and many products are required to be lightweight structures. It has been standard procedure to use electronic systems for a long time. They are essential to control and coordinate the many different process operations, such as production planning, casting preparation, temperature control of the molten material, casting process procedure and treatment of the castings. Sand casting also involves production of the molds and cores, emptying of the molding boxes after casting, “cleaning” of the castings and reprocessing of the mold and core sands. Computer-aided (CA) systems also help in designing castings, molds and cores. With CA systems, it is possible to simulate all the processes in a casting during casting and solidification. Information about filling of the mold, the structure created when the molten material solidifies and the mechanical properties influenced as a result, internal tension, defects and their impact on casting quality is obtained in this way. It is also possible for foundries and customers to cooperate on the development and optimization of castings via CA systems.

The production of sand casting molds, which used to be very labor intensive is being replaced to an increasing extent by computer-aided 3D printing processes, with which sand molds and cores bonded with synthetic resins can be manufactured relatively quickly. 3D printers help to reduce production costs and minimize storage requirements.

Development is continuing on an ongoing basis in the areas of casting materials, mold materials and casting processes. For example, research scientists are working on cast iron with spheroidal graphite that has a high silicon content. Castings made from it have more consistent hardness and strength distribution and can be processed more effectively. These materials make it possible to reduce the wall thicknesses of castings, which helps to meet demands for energy and raw material savings and lightweight structures. Promising efforts are also being made to combine different materials, such as steel and aluminum, with each other during or immediately after casting, in order to take optimum advantage of their properties. Special die-casting processes known as squeezing processes, in which the castings, non-ferrous metals with relatively low melting temperatures, are subsequently compacted before final solidification, are a relatively new development.

The NEWCAST 2015 trade fair
With their products, foundries help the development in such innovative sectors as energy, lightweight structures and mobility. At NEWCAST 2015, the International Trade Fair for Precision Castings, foundries will present their technical skills in the manufacturing field. The range of exhibits includes iron, steel, grey and malleable castings, products from non-ferrous metal foundries and various services. NEWCAST 2015 is geared primarily towards designers, production managers and buyers from the automotive sector and other areas of industry that need castings for their products or supply an alternative to workpieces manufactured by other processes. NEWCAST will be held concurrently with the trade fairs GIFA, METEC and THERMPROCESS, focusing on associated fields. All four events take place with the motto “The Bright World of Metals” from June 16 – 20, 2015 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Bright World of Metals
The four international technology trade fairs GIFA (International Foundry Trade Fair), METEC (International Metallurgical Trade Fair), THERMPROCESS (International Trade Fair for Thermo Process Technology) and NEWCAST (International Trade Fair for Precision Castings) will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany from June 16 – 20, 2015. Visitors from all over the world will attend to get the latest information about castings, foundry, and metallurgy and thermo process technology. A program of high-quality ancillary events - consisting of seminars, international congresses and lecture series - will again complement the exhibits. All four trade fairs and their programs will concentrate on the issue of resource optimization and energy efficiency. A total of 79,000 attendees from 83 countries visited the stands of the 1,958 exhibitors at the trade fairs’ last staging in 2011. Further information is available at www.gifa.com, www.metec-tradefair.com, www.thermprocess-online.com and www.newcast.com.

Messed Düsseldorf organizes not only GIFA, METEC, THERMPROCESS and NEWCAST but also other first-class trade fairs for the metallurgy and foundry industries all over the world. They include FOND-EX (International Foundry Fair) and Stainless in the Czech Republic, Metallurgy India, Metallurgy-Lit mash (International Trade Fair for Metallurgy Machinery, Plant Technology and Products) and Aluminum Non-Ferrous in Russia, indomitable in Indonesia, metals middle east in Dubai, ITPS (International Thermprocess Summit) Americas and Asia and the aluminum trade fairs in China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil. The range of events for the metal industries at the Düsseldorf location is rounded off by Valve World Expo (International Trade Fair and Congress for Industrial Valves and Fittings) and ITPS Düsseldorf as well as the international trade fair ALUMINIUM organized by Reed Exhibitions and Composites Europe. 

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