Six Factors to Consider When Selecting A Foundry
Selecting a foundry to cast your ductile and gray iron parts requires a surprising amount of due diligence. That’s because there are many variables to consider in mold design, part design and casting processes. Highly-engineered parts must meet strict tolerances, metallurgical qualities and performance characteristics. The foundries that produce them need to have well-defined, repeatable processes to ensure consistently optimal part quality.
Failure to do your research during the foundry selection process can cause various problems, including quality issues, delays in getting the parts into production, and the inability to scale up to meet all of your needs.
Characteristics to Consider When Selecting a Foundry
High first-pass yield: Simply stated, this is the percentage of good parts produced verses unacceptable parts. A high first-pass yield signifies that the foundry uses processes that consistently produce high-quality parts. A foundry with a high first-pass yield reduces your cost and lead time.
Expertise in transfer tooling: Each tool that arrives at a foundry must be checked for any damage or excessive wear. The tool must also be adjusted to the new foundry’s casting infrastructure and processes. The customer needs to have an honest assessment of the tool’s condition, what needs to be repaired or reconditioned, and the costs of doing so. This assists the OEM in making an informed decision on whether to repair or replace the tooling.
In-house testing: Many smaller foundries rely upon third parties for testing such as internal dimensional layout, chemical, mechanical and soundness verification. This can cause unexpected delays in getting parts into production and delivered. Foundries with in-house testing capabilities tend to deliver better throughput and faster delivery times.
Prototype casting expertise: Most foundries don’t make prototype castings because they require significant upfront work to optimize design and castability. Also, most foundries can’t justify diverting production to make just a few parts for a project that may or may not lead to production work. For best results, ask the foundries you are evaluating about their experience in managing prototype castings.
Castability analysis: Parts and molds need to be optimized to ensure that the part can be cast without any defects or other problems. Mold flow analysis is a key tool that’s used to run casting simulations. It helps engineers optimize the mold and part for the best results. An experienced operator is required to use this sophisticated software. He or she must understand how to optimize molds and what modifications are necessary to achieve the best design.
Experienced staff: Experienced engineers and production people know how to solve casting problems because they’ve seen many of them in their lengthy careers. For best results, seek a foundry with a wealth of experience in key positions like engineering, production and quality control.
Located in northern Illinois, State Line Foundries is a quality producer of gray and ductile iron castings that can weigh up to 2,500 pounds. Utilizing both the latest industry technology and decades of experience, State Line Foundries delivers exceptional castings to its valued customers from two foundries.
Contact us today to discuss your casting needs via our website or call us at (815) 389-3921.
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