You have probably heard of foundries, and you might even know that they are involved in manufacturing. However, it’s not always obvious what a foundry is and what goes on inside. Do not worry, this article will take you through the whole process so you have a better idea. When you know more about a foundry you could be more inclined to ask your local foundry to carry out some work for you.
What is a Foundry?
A foundry is in some respects, a factory. Inside this factory, castings are made by pouring liquid metal into a mold. Molds can come in many shapes and sizes, and they can create a range of metal castings. Most people are close to some type of metal casting and they don’t even know it.
The casting process is a major part of the work undertaken in a foundry. When it comes to casting, pattern-making, molding, melting, and other steps are taken to create a casting shape. This shape is very similar to the mold. Silica sand is typically used to make a mold, but they can also be made out of other materials.
The next step in the process involves charging the furnace. This involves heating metal so it melts. As soon as the metal has reached the desired temperature, it is removed from the furnace. Any impurities are removed from the top and the metal is poured into the mold cavity.
When the mold is cooled, the cast is removed and cleaned. Any excess material is removed from the cast so that the desired shape and size are achieved. Finally, the casting is inspected before it is shipped to the buyer.
Some Foundries Offer More
Some foundries offer more than just casting. They can also offer other services such as:
- Core making – This process involves producing a range of complex cores for a range of industries and applications.
- Finishing – This process involves shot-blasting, fettling, and hard anodizing, ensuring the end product is exactly what the buyer needs.
- Heat treatment – Heat treatment is ideal if additional metal properties are required. This can help to improve the strength of the finished product.
- Pattern making – This involves making a cast based on a 3D model or drawing that a customer has provided.
- Melting – Melting often involves using specific furnaces, ensuring a foundry can melt as much aluminum, for example, as you need.
- Machining – This involves creating prototypes, small to medium-sized batches of products, and series production.
- Testing and inspection – This involves fully testing a range of equipment.
- Thermal sand reclamation – Up to 80% of sand used in a foundry can be reclaimed and reused. This process has many environmental benefits and it can help to reduce waste.
As you can see, foundries carry out a lot of work. From large to small parts that are used in almost every industry, the work that goes on behind those doors is nothing short of impressive.