Metal casting refers to a manufacturing process in which a fabricator forms shapes by pouring hot liquid metal into molds. The molten material hardens without pressure as it cools. Casting permits the creation of complex and detailed three-dimensional objects. Metal workers have utilized this process for centuries in order to create a variety of products. Typically, manufacturers classify different casting methods based upon the use of permanent or temporary molds.
Permanent Mold Castings
During permanent mold casting, a manufacturer creates a reusable, long lasting durable mold. One popular way to categorize different permanent mold casting technologies relates to the metal pouring method employed within a production facility.
During tilt pour filling (or "tilt casting"), a manufacturer connects a crucible (also called a "pour basin") directly to mold gates. These openings in the mold lead to a network of interior sprues allowing molten material to flow inside the mold cavity. A slow rotation of both the crucible and the gating system enables liquefied metal to fill the mold completely. This tilting movement reduces problems associated with abrupt filling, which may accidentally trap air pockets inside the interior. Today, automation permits close control over the tile pour process.
During a static pour process, a manufacturer ladles molten metal from a crucible maintained above the mold into completely stationary gates located underneath the crucible. Typically, liquid metal enters the mold through a centrally positioned upper access point. This gravity pouring method works well for the casting of some types of metal parts, including many small shapes.
The Tilt Casting Process
As noted, gravity tilt casting involves a direct connection between the crucible and the mold, and the coordinated tilting (i.e. angled rotation) of both the crucible and the mold itself. In some settings, manufacturers place the mold in a horizontal position beneath the crucible and then use a casting machine to help elevate it into a vertical position as pouring proceeds. In mass production settings, computer simulations assist manufacturers in timing mold-filling precisely to enhance efficiency.
Most manufacturers design the metal molds used in modern tilt casting to function in conjunction with robotic casting machines. Automated equipment enables the production of multiple homogenous cast units. Precisely-timed tilt casting protocols assists this result.
Mass production facilities rely upon reusable permanent metal molds in order to perform tilt casting. Additionally, automated tilt casting machines and computerization greatly enhance production capabilities. In order to achieve consistently high casting yields, manufacturers depend upon specialized software programs to determine the optimal timing and movement of both the crucible and the mold.
Materials And Applications
Tilt casting occurs in a variety of production settings. It has achieved widespread popularity today. This technology enjoys numerous applications as well.
This casting technology requires the capability to melt metal and deposit it gradually inside a permanent mold cavity. Metal part fabricators successfully cast a variety of metals and metal alloys using gravity tilt casting. Light weight copper and aluminum have become popular raw materials for this manufacturing process. Today, mold makers usually utilize durable iron or steel for permanent mold construction.
Although tilt casting does not absolutely require automation, the ability to systematize this process through the use of computerized equipment permits reliable replication during high volume part production runs. Manufacturers enjoy a wide selection of sophisticated, specialized tilt casting machines to control the movements of molds and gating systems.
Applications for this type of casting occur across multiple economic sectors. Due to the high quality and homogeneity of tilt castings, parts fabricators often prefer this technology for creating components used in powertrains and engine chassis. Tilt casting allows the creation of complex shapes, so it also enables the production of a wide array of consumer items and industrial components.
Advantages of Tilt Casting
Tilt casting offers a number of advantages.
- This technology lends itself readily to automation. Many modern fabrication plants utilize casting machines to help control the movement of both the crucible and the mold in a way which permits the least turbulent filling of the mold cavity.
- By using tilt casting during gravity mold filling, manufacturers minimize waste. A high percentage of molten material will flow into the mold cavity. Additionally, the reduction in turbulence minimizes problems associate with trapped air bubbles, which may degrade the quality of a casting. Both factors result in a better "yields" for the manufacturer.
- Compared with some vacuum casting methods, gravity casting tends to offer significantly lower mold costs. This "low tech" process enables the mass production of metal parts in high volumes. The durable molds eventually wear out, but permit reuse.
- Automation allows the precise replication of tilt casting processes. This capability enables manufacturers to repeat mold-filling efficiently and reliably. It may enhance the per-unit cost-effectiveness of large gravity tilt casting production runs, for instance.
- By carefully controlling the tilt-casting process, a manufacturer may succeed in attaining very homogenous castings. The ability to generate uniform metal parts with few interior defects makes this manufacturing technology exceedingly valuable. This casting method produces metal components with generally good surface finishes, also, due to the manufacturer's ability to reduce turbulence during pouring.
- Especially when produced using automation, castings generated through gravity tilt filling offer greater uniformity in terms of metal flow direction. The fast solidification of complex cast metal shapes and the overall homogeneity of the castings supply advantages from a marketing standpoint.