Permanent Mold Aluminum Foundry & Aluminum Castings FAQ
How Does the Alcast ELECTRO-MAGNETIC Aluminum Casting Process Work?
One of the most common questions we get is how does our proprietary ELECTRO-MAGNETIC aluminum casting process work. This is a very good question since there are no moving parts in our pumps and aluminum isn't magnetic, in a way it seems like magic.
The principle that our electro-magnetic pumps work on is the Laplace Law also known as the Lorentz force or the Biot–Savart law. These laws explains how induction motors function and are better known as Fleming's Left Hand Rule.
To keep things simple, basically a current is passed through the molten aluminum (conductor) in the pump using a magnetic field. When the current running through the conductor and magnetic fields are aligned at right angles a force is applied to the conductor. This force applied to the molten aluminum is what produces pumping action of our pump. Using computers to control how much power is supplied to the pump and how quickly it is applied to the pump controls our fill rates and fill levels of our molds.
Learn more about our Aluminum Casting Processes
What is Permanent Mold Aluminum Casting?
In the permanent mold aluminum casting process a reusable metal mold is used in place of an expendable sand mold. The mold is coated with various refractory paints to protect it from the molten aluminum and also helps to control solidification. Reusable steel core or slides can also be added for more complex castings.
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What is Semi Permanent Mold Aluminum Casting?
Semi Permanent Mold Aluminum Casting is very similar to the perm. mold process used in our aluminum foundry, with just one exception. Our expendable shell cores are used in conjunction with the mold. One sand cores, multiple cores, or an assembly of cores are inserted into the mold before casting and will later be sand blasted or baked out before or during the heat treating process. This process allows for much more complex aluminum castings to be produced.
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What are Shell Sand Cores?
Our Shell Sand Cores are made in house using a resin coated sand which is blown into a heated steel corebox. The sand is cured in the corebox to produce a hard shell on the outside of the core, or to harden the entire core depending on its size and application. These Shell sand cores then can be using in our semi permanent mold aluminum casting process.
What is Low Pressure Permanent Mold Aluminum Casting?
Our Low Pressure Permanent Mold Aluminum Casting process uses our ELECTRO-MAGNETIC pumps to create low pressure to push the molten aluminum into the mold cavity. The molten aluminum comes out of the pump and goes directly into the bottom of the mold so the metal being pumped into the mold is exceptionally clean. Advantages of this process include very little turbulence when filling the mold, which minimizes gas porosity and oxide formation. Mechanical properties tend to be about 5% better than gravity permanent mold castings.
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What is Permanent Mold Tilt Pour Aluminum Casting?
In the Permanent Mold Tilt Pour Aluminum Casting process the machine has a holding furnace filled with molten aluminum. The mold is closed using hydraulic cylinders and the entire machine slowly tilts, managing the metal entry speed into the cavity of the mold until it is filled. The machine is held in its tilted position until the casting solidifies at which time it tilts back down. Once the casting is hard enough to be ejected from the mold it opens and the casting is removed and the tilt pour process is started over.
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How Long Has Your Aluminum Foundry been in Business?
Alcast Company's aluminum foundry was founded in 1970 by William A. and Marilyn L. Mitchener We have been in business and manufacturing high quality aluminum castings for 45 years and are now an Employee owned ESOP company.
Learn more about Alcast Company's History
Does Alcast Manufacture Small Aluminum Castings?
Yes, Alcast Company produces many small aluminum castings from just a fraction of a pound to one pound castings with volumes exceeding 500,000 pieces per year. We manufacture small and large castings and everything in between!
Does Alcast Manufacture Large Aluminum Castings?
Yes, we also produce many large aluminum castings up to 220 pounds in weight and 41 inches in diameter in quantities of 10 to 400 per year. Alcast's proprietary permanent mold aluminum foundry equipment provides great flexibility in casting size, weight and design. We manufacture large and small castings and everything in between!
Can tubes, Stainless, Cast Iron, or Steel Inserts be Cast into Your Castings?
Yes, our aluminum foundry produces many aluminum castings with tubes or inserts cast in place.
See our Tube & Steel Insert Casting Gallery for many examples.
Does Alcast Heat Treat Castings in House?
Yes, Through the use of five separate systems we can provide a variety of options for our customers. The most common processes are T5 and T6 hardness, although many others are possible with our equipment.
Read more about our Heat Treat Capabilities
Do You Provide Raw or Machined Aluminum Castings?
We can provide both raw and fully machined aluminum castings. Our aluminum foundry also has a full CNC machine shop which can provide precision machined casting to our customers.