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Aluminum meeting updates permanent mold advances.

Listening to Presentations by 20 of the top experts in the aluminum permanent mold field and seeing firsthand a successful, state-of-the-art permanent molding plant in action proved a powerful learning combination for the 180 aluminum foundrymen attending AFS' 2nd International Conference on Permanent Mold Casting of Aluminum.

Attendees came from Australia, Japan, Canada, Colombia, and Mexico to join U.S. foundrymen in Nashville, Tennessee, to hear technical presentations that encompassed virtually all aspects of this rapidly growing segment of the foundry industry.

According to conference organizer Wayne Rasmussen, AFS associate technical director and a leading figure in nonferrous casting, The technology supporting permanent mold casting is moving so fast that meetings such as this are an essential part of keeping a foundry on the competitive edge... Market share depends on knowing current equipment and processing trends, metallurgical advances and discovering ways to maintain quality."

Considerable interest," he said, 'is already building for the next conference, the 3rd International Conference on the Molten Metal Processing of Aluminum scheduled for Nov. 9-10,1992."

Permanent Mold Outlook

Though he acknowledged that economists are often wrong but never in doubt, Lloyd T. O'Carroll, corporate economist for Reynolds Metals Co., confidently predicted that aluminum usage would rebound in 1992-93 from depressed current levels. He said that the upsurge would be propelled in part by the increased use of aluminum in autos over the next few years.

From fewer than 60 pounds of aluminum per vehicle just a few years ago, he projected that aluminum usage will approach 400 pounds per auto before the end of the decade as automakers seek to reduce vehicle weight as a means of improving mileage. Technical Perspectives

Among the many technical presentations was that of Franco Cheisa, professor of metallurgy at the College of TroisRivieres in Quebec, Canada, who told of the importance of mold coatings as a means of affecting surface finish and the internal soundness of permanent mold aluminum castings.

Cheisa's comments were joined by those of Robert Pischel of Foseco, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, who discussed why mold coatings are used and how they contribute to casting quality. He elaborated on the importance of carefully applying sufficient coating material to simultaneously control aluminum solidification rates, provide a thermal barrier between the molten metal and the mold, and protect the mold from erosion while acting as a casting release agent.

Selecting the propersand for the permanent mold process was the subject of Paul Dziekonski, Wedron Silica Co., Wedron, Illinois. He noted that, while the permanent mold process implies that sand is not used for molding, sand is used extensively to make cores for castings having intricate internal passages. Dziekonski explained that the core sand properties such as sand type, grain size and shape, purity, and permeability can affect the production of defect-free, accurate castings.

The conference reflected the growing interest foundries have ins and reclamation because of skyrocketing costs of new sand, sand disposal and transportation. Matt Granlund, Foundry Systems Control, Winfield, Illinois, discussed in detail advanced sand reclamation systems, how they work and the benefits of each. He explained that the cores used in permanent molds are reclaimable and should be considered a reusable resource rather than merely as an expendable raw material.

Solidification Modeling

Much interest was directed toward the use of computers to model mold design and filling sequences. David Schmidt, manager of the AFS Software Services Dept., discussed mold filling and the use of personal computers to model the permanent molding process. He demonstrated how these simulations differ from the sandcasting process and how models can be used to improve tooling and casting quality.

Goetz Hartmann, MAGMA Foundry Technologies, Inc., used the example of molding a cast aluminum connecting rod to illustrate how to optimize the complex physics of heat and fluid flow during mold filling and solidification. He also discussed the availability of more affordable but highly sophisticated software and more powerful computer hardware that make modeling of solidification and simulation techniques more useful tools for wider foundry applications.

Franco Pilastro, president of Teksid Aluminum Foundry, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of italy's Fiat Group, addressed the four key steps he believes assure quality castings and customer satisfaction. They include co-design (customer and foundry engineering cooperation) in product development, planning for quality production, toolmaking, and product and process control. Pilastro used his company's experience in producing parts for the three major auto manufacturers in the U.S. as examples of the time and cost savings possible even under the most demanding delivery schedules.

The conference concluded with a tour of Teksid's impressive permanent mold facility in Dickson, Tennessee, where conferees had the opportunity to see how one of the country's newest aluminum foundries uses the latest technology to produce 7000 close-tolerance cylinder head castings a day for the U.S. automotive industry.

Proceedings from this conference are available from the AFS Library Services Dept., 505 State St., Des Plaines IL 600168399, 800/5374237.
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Article Details
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Author:Bex, Tom
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Meeting focuses on foundry concerns.
Next Article:Foundry commitment to education is strong.

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