State Line Foundries has the ability to service a wide variety of casting sizes

State Line Foundry Can Produce Castings From 3 Ounces to 3,000 Pounds

When it comes to casting sizes, State Line Foundries has what president Jesse Milks calls “a wide window.”

“We’re set up to handle castings from a few ounces to 3,000 pounds,” Milks explains. “Our range is a little unique. If you look at the production of other foundries, most go up to 100 pounds, or start at 1,000 pounds.”

State Line is unique not only in its range, but in its process for smaller castings. It is one of the few foundries that still utilizes a manual green sand squeezer.

The Heavy Lifting

State Line’s heaviest castings are beyond the capabilities of most other foundries. “There are probably fewer than 10 job shop foundries in the country that go above 3,000 pounds for iron castings,” Milks details.

Most foundries are constrained by the size of the melting furnace, the cranes or the capacity of the molds and ladles.

The complexity of the castings State Line produces vary. Some large castings are straightforward to produce, such as those that are used in the back end of forklifts. “It’s just a counterweight,” Milks states. “The requirements are minimal.”

But castings with additional complexities are common. Last year, State Line had a 1,500-pound casting with 18 cores, including several that were 3D sand printed. “It was for a fracking pump, and it was extremely complex with many intricate oil passages,” Milks offers. Such castings need to be “tested and certified to the nth degree, and we’re happy to do that.”

State Line is all about providing total solutions, so offering a broad range is a sound strategy. Customers often come in with a single casting, or maybe a few, and quickly add more when they realize State Line can meet so many of their needs – at so many sizes.

“We brought in a customer who makes small pump castings, from 10 to 15 pounds,” Milks says. “Now they’re going all the way up to 1,600 pounds, and they expect to eventually reach 3,000 pounds.”

Not all foundries could handle this change. “A lot of OEMs have to use different foundries for small, medium and large castings,” Milks clarifies. “We can cover at least 80% of their castings, and more than likely all of them.”

The Benefits of a Single Supplier

Having a single supplier adds a great deal of efficiency for the OEMs. “A single phone call can coordinate order quantities, due dates, questions, concerns, etc.,” Milks explains. “Relationships build quicker and stronger between customer and supplier with more volume and SKUs. Whether it’s a buyer working with a customer service rep, engineer to engineer, or quality to quality.”  

The customers stay satisfied because State Line has the same commitment to quality, no matter the casting’s dimensions. “When it comes to pouring, we have small and large ladles,” Milks says. “We have finishing and cleaning equipment for small and large castings – and everything else needed, regardless of size.”

A Unique Process for Small Castings

With small castings, State Line sets itself apart with the use of manual green sand squeezers. “Not many foundries still use the manual green sand process,” Milks explains. “We do it because many of our customers have the need.”

Green sand contains water and clay. It is in uncured (or in the green state) when the metal is poured.

Many foundries use green sand but have an automated process. It is the “manual” component that sets State Line apart.

Automation can be troublesome for OEMs. First, these machines can produce hundreds of castings per hour – a volume too high for many OEMs. Yet the foundries are often unwilling to accept low-volume business because they need the machines humming to cover their cost.

Pattern tools are another automation problem for OEMs. The existing tools for the manual green sand process are often incompatible with the automated system. Therefore, new tools need to be created if using the automated process – and that can be expensive.

State Line, on the other hand, can use existing tools and is willing to make a single casting with its manual process. It can produce higher volumes, too. “We can do a one-piece order, or an order for thousands of them,” Milks clarifies.

Green sand is a more economical way to make a mold than no-bake sand, which is bonded chemically. Green sand is cost-effective and competitively priced – but it can be limited in its application.

“If you get too large, the sand doesn’t have the strength and rigidity to hold together,” Milks details. That’s when the no-bake sand comes into play.

State Line provides both types of production to meet the needs of all of its customers.

“About 90% of foundries are either all automated green sand, or all no-bake chemical bond molding. We find the best process that fits what the customer needs.”

Whatever the process, State Line puts its reputation on the line with each project.

“We put our logo on every single casting, and we give the utmost attention to every detail to every casting,” Milks emphasizes.


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