We’re Not the Only Ones Who Noticed

Finally, the metalcasting industry gets some quality play for the efforts it’s making to be more environmentally friendly.

In a recent article in the New York Times, decorative investment caster SA Baxter, Chester, N.Y., is heralded as one of a number of metalcasting facilities that has introduced green practices. Per the article:

At Baxter’s factory…no lead is used, no wastewater is produced, almost no emissions are released into the atmosphere, and many of the materials used are recycled.

Of course, at least part of that statement (“many of the materials used are recycled”) is true of basically every metalcasting facility in the country—heck, the world—but the industry will take the praise where it can get it. What’s more, the generally left-leaning NYT does go on to implicate some of the rest of the industry:

Baxter is not the only foundry using cleaner techniques. Makers of products like auto parts, jet engines and medical devices use some of the same technology. But the companies often do not sell directly to consumers and are not necessarily marketed as green.

Again, we’d like to protest the last part of that statement, but it’s good to see the metalcasting industry getting a green thumbs-up.

Casting of the Year Makes Convert Out of Customer

For part designers and component sourcing specialists who deal with castings frequently, the unique design capabilities of the process can be taken for granted, but every so often we come across a customer still learning about metalcasting who is blown away by what can be achieved by pouring molten metal in a mold. This year’s Casting of the Year, which was awarded at the AFS Metalcasting Congress last week and will be featured in the May/June issue of MetalCasting Design and Purchasing, was such a success, it made not just a casting believer but a casting lover out of its customer.

Although Polaris Industries, a maker of snowmobiles, ATVs and motorcycles, had sourced castings to prototype specialist Craft Pattern and Mold before, its most recent project, a cast aluminum component for the frame of a concept motorcycle, was a unique application. Converted from a steel fabrication, it integrated 20 parts into a single piece and helped the motorcycle designers achieve the minimalist concept that was the inspiration behind the whole project.

When our editors spoke with Greg Brew, director of industrial design at Polaris, he had plenty to say about the advantages of the casting process.

“You have this great medium that doesn’t hold you back when you want to do just a really crazy shape,” He told us. “It can do things that would be a headache in any other medium. I just love it.”

The judges love it too. Congratulations to Craft Pattern of Maple Plain, Minn., for producing this year’s Casting of the Year. 

Golf Magazine Tours Metalcasting Facility

And here we thought we were the only news outlet sharing videos of the metalcasting facility tours we do around the country.

In a recent equipment spotlight, Golf Digest and NBC Sports looked at the different kinds of irons used by golfers and how they are made. The five-minute video the magazine editors produced highlights primarily cavity back irons, which are made in the investment casting process.

In the course of its research for the piece, Golf Digest visited Dolphin Precision Investment Castings, Phoenix, Ariz. The video includes shots from the facility’s yard, wax room, melting and pouring areas, shakeout, and finishing room.

Investment casting is used to produce cacvity back irons because forging, the other primary iron-producing process, simply cannot match the ability of the casting process to produce forgiving irons with deeply inset back cavities, often with undercuts. For more information on the difference between the irons created by the two processes, check out the article “Metalcasting Works Fore Golfers” in the July/August 2007 issue of Engineered Casting Solutions.

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