2022 Aluminum Casting Conference

Practical tools to improve process control and quality.

Marriott-St. Louis Airport
June 14 - 16, 2022


Discover the newest developments, trends, and best practices in aluminum casting at the 2022 Aluminum Casting Conference. Expert presenters will cover every major aluminum casting topic, with a special emphasis on melt quality and casting process control.

Conference topics include new and emerging technologies, best practices for thermal management of permanent molds, and heat treatment of castings. Attendees will leave with practical tools to improve process control and quality in their foundries. This event includes a tour of O’Fallon Casting in O'Fallon, MO, on June 16.

The 2022 Aluminum Casting Conference is relevant to workers in all aluminum foundries, including sand, lost foam, investment, permanent mold, and die casting operations.

For information about Sponsorship Opportunities at the event, please contact Kim Farrugia at kfarrugia@afsinc.org or click here.


  • Marriott-St. Louis Airport
  • St. Louis, MO
  • June 14 - 16, 2022
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Hotel Information

  • Marriott-St. Louis Airport
  • St. Louis, MO
  • $135.00

Standard room rate of $135.00. Attendees can  reserve directly with the hotel room reservation department by calling 314-423-9700 or online at using the link below. The hotel’s check-in time is 3 p.m. Check-in prior to the hotel’s published check-in times are subject to availability. Check-out time is noon. 

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Noon - 1 p.m.
1 - 1:15 p.m.

Session Chair:
Herb Doty
General Motors, Pontiac, MI

1:15 - 2 p.m.
Keynote: Aluminum Industry Megatrends





Diran Apelian
Distinguished Professor of Materials Science, Director of ACRC, University of California, Irvine

It is quite clear that in the 21st century we will need to reinvigorate our efforts to lightweight our infrastructures, reduce carbon footprint during manufacturing, reduce production waste, and recover post-consumer waste and upcycle. if the 20th century was the century for steel, the 21st century is certainly that of Al and lightweight materials. In this specialty Al conference, megatrends in Al are reviewed and highlighted covering transportation, housing and architecture, home furnishings, electronics and appliances, batteries, and fuel cells, and including medical applications. Megatrends in the Al industry from the perspective of societal needs (some known, and others anticipated) will be reviewed. Specifically, emerging areas in net shape manufacturing, alloy development, formability, recovery and reuse and policy implications, and the influence of data science and blockchain in manufacturing processes will be reviewed and discussed.

2 - 3:15 p.m.
Casting System Assessment




Thomas Boone
General Motors, Ann Arbor, MI

General Motors Global Purchasing requires all Tiered casting suppliers to have Full Compliance with the AIAG CQI-27 Casting System Assessment. This PowerPoint presentation reviews how the CQI-27 mandate evolved from the General Motors Casting Process Statement of Requirements. It is not necessary to have Full Compliance in order to Quote. However, the Quote must include Full Compliance in the Piece Price and Tooling. Full Compliance must be implemented before PPAP. Examples of Aluminum requirements from CQI-27 will be reviewed.

Melt Shop & Alloying

Session Chair:
Herb Doty
General Motors, Pontiac, MI

3:15 - 4 p.m.
Molten Aluminum Cleanliness





Rafael Gallo
Pyrotek Inc., North Royalton, OH

The metallurgical integrity of a casting microstructure depends on several, often interrelated, melting and casting factors that must be controlled during the casting process. The cleanliness of the melt could be considered the most difficult attribute to control. Molten cleanliness is an integrated sequential process in which every step of the process contributes to reducing chemical impurities, hydrogen gas, and inclusions in the molten metal before it is delivered to the mold. It requires significant understanding of the metallurgical process, discipline in executing operational procedures, and attention to detail regarding processes outcomes. Ensuring sufficient molten cleanliness for a quality casting application requires assessments with off-line and on-line technologies. With their present-day advancements and limitations, they can deliver information and data for understanding, setting, and auditing the quality condition of the molten metal. The objective of this presentation is to review how to achieve the highest molten cleanliness levels in aluminum foundries while focusing on a practical approach to day-to-day practices on the foundry floor.

4 - 4:15 p.m.
4:15 - 4:45 p.m.
What is Thermal Analysis for Aerospace Aluminum Casting





Yohan Tremblay
François Audet, and Salim Khan, R&D, Foundry Solutions Metallurgical Services Inc., Magog, QC, Canada

Foundries can take different samples of the aluminum melt before and during the casting process to measure melt properties: RPT, chemistry, temperature, hydrogen, inclusions, oxides and thermal analysis. The thermal analysis sample provides information on the solidification properties of the melt within 7 minutes on the shop floor. This is different from chemical properties. Recent advances in thermocouple signal processing allow automatic cooling curve analysis to provide more than the well-known grain refinement and eutectic modification potentials. Using a variant of the Newtonian approach, phases forming during solidification of the sample are measured as an energy % over the total energy absorbed or released. For aerospace casting applications, for example, this means that the presence of the Mg2Si or Al-Cu phases can be understood in order to adapt the melt treatment for a specific foundry, as well as the heat treatment temperature cycles. The goal is to reach higher, more consistent mechanical properties with solid aluminum according to aerospace specs like AMS-A-21180. In another case, measuring the solidification properties of aluminum A201.0 to exceed AMS-A-21180 Cl10 casting requirements allowed the melt treatment and heat treatment to be adapted for each batch and use a higher re-melt/new-ingot recycling ratio. Moreover, the fraction solid curve from thermal analysis can be used for casting filling and solidification simulation inputs. Filling the molds with the same melt quality using counter-gravity and gravity systems helps understand non-conformities; if the melt properties are the same, what else might be the cause of casting defects? The metallurgical engineer has an easier time when he can measure the melt he needs to control.

4:45 - 5 p.m.
Casting and Use of Non-Conventional Aluminum Alloys





Dave Weiss
Eck Industries Inc., Manitowoc, WI

Of the hundreds of aluminum alloy variations developed every year, very few see even limited commercial applications. The hurdles to commercialization are many at both foundries and their customers. This presentation looks at four aluminum alloys: 206, low silicon 357, Al-Ce alloys, and aluminum-based composites and explores the techno-economic factors that need to be addressed for there to be success in the foundry and acceptance by the customer. All these alloys can be cast with standard foundry practices, if implemented rigorously. Customer acceptance provide a new set of challenges. Suggestions for overcoming those challenges will be discussed.

5 p.m.
Day One Concludes
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Business Issues

Session Chair:
Luke Schimmel
Fairbanks Morse Engine, Beloit, WI

8 - 9:15 a.m.
Panel: Casting Users





Irene Henderson
Fairbanks Morse Engine, Beloit, WI

Tony Lindert
Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh, WI

Thomas Boone
General Motors, Pontiac, MI

Russ Cochran
Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO

9:15 - 10:30 a.m.
How the Global Supply Chain is Transforming





Dennis Unkovic
Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP, Pittsburgh, PA

The global supply chain is fracturing, and it will never be “normal” again. The real reasons causing this radical shift and what to expect in the future are the focus of this presentation. The speaker -- Dennis Unkovic – is the author of Transforming the Global Supply Chain –Cyber Warfare, Technology & Politics (October, 2021).

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Die Heating & Cooling Technologies





Session Chair:
David Weiss
Eck Industries, Inc., Manitowoc, WI


10:45 - 11:15 a.m.
Thermal Management during Solidification





Diran Apelian, Carl Soderhjelm, and Cheolmin Ahn
ACRC, University of California, Irvine, CA
Sean Roorda
ATEK Corp., New Hampton, IA

Heat removal is the key controlling variable during solidification; the thermal property of the mold is pivotal. For batch processes, such as in sand casting, heat removal is controlled by removing the heat in designated locations using inserted chills. In cyclic processes we face a paradox: we need to remove the heat from the melt at a rapid rate to ensure solidification, but we also need to have the die to be heated for the next cycle. tooling is the limiting step in enabling us to control the solidification process. We have investigated thermal management in both permanent mold and die casting processes. In this presentation the principles of thermal management will be reviewed followed by specific design approaches and novel technologies to control heat removal during the solidification process.

11:15 - 11:45 a.m.
Conformal Cooling of Permanent Molds: Opportunities and Challenges





Diran Apelian and Carl Soderhjelm
ACRC, University of California, Irvine, CA

Conformal cooling of permanent molds has been utilized for over a decade in the injection molding and high pressure die casting industry. Greater availability, more material choices, and drop in prices of metal additive manufactured components enables industry wide adaptation. The nature of many additive manufacturing processes allows for almost complete design freedom in terms of cooling line size, shape, and placement. This presents major opportunities for controlling the heat extraction rate and direction from the casting in locations previously not possible. However, steep temperature gradients generated by the cooling lines causes large thermal stresses to build up which can reduce lifetime. Additionally, inherent features created during the additive process such as surface roughness and spatial resolution introduces further design restrictions. Design and manufacturing opportunities and challenges of conformal cooling of permanent molds for casting applications will be discussed.

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Mold Coating





Mike Lawry
The Hill & Griffith Co., Cincinnati, OH

Presentation will provide a better understanding of what goes in to developing a coating and how the casting operation can increase casting efficiency.

12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Industry 4.0 & Engineering

Session Chair:
Adam Kopper
Brunswick Corp., Fond du Lac, WI

1:15 - 1:45 p.m.
Beyond Sand Control to Qualification and Predictive Analytics of Aluminum Castings





Dr. Sam Ramrattan
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

Chemically bonded sand systems have been used to manufacture complex near-net-shape aluminum castings for more than sixty years. The foundries still depend on traditional chemically bonded sand tests, such as the hot or cold tensile strength test, which suffer from excessive levels of variability that makes them insensitive to sand-binder system shifts. The inability of foundries to effectively monitor the quality of incoming sand-binder systems results in high variability and scrap/rejection rates. Recent research has shown that disc-shaped specimen tests can detect wide range of differences in sand-binder systems. A qualification methodology for chemically bonded sand systems is proposed, that focuses on combining casting quality to statistical process control for chemically bonded sand-binder systems. An implementation of the qualification methodology is presented through a case study. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied on thermal distortion test (TDT) data to monitor a resin coated sand-binder system. Aluminum casting trials suggests that casting surface quality for similar sand-binder systems are significantly different. Therefore, there is the ability to detect the shift that would help prevent surface-quality related losses.

1:45 - 2:15 p.m.
Application of Foundry 4.0 Tools in Secondary Aluminum Processing





Reed Hendershot
Air Products, Allentown, PA




Dr. Martin Lawrence
Air Products, England, United Kingdom

Industrial processes are going through what has been called the 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, which is the application of modern digital technologies to drive improvements in productivity, efficiency, and environmental health and safety. The application of the digital tools associated with Industry 4.0 to Foundry processes is called Foundry 4.0. The tools associated with Foundry 4.0 have been applied to Secondary Aluminum Processing in the material melting step using Air Products Process Intelligence (APPI) platform. Technologies employed include increased use of sensors, wired and wireless data collection, cloud computing, remote data access, and real time model-based operator feedback. In this application we have used the details of the furnace and process data to create a Digital Twin of the rotary furnace process using physics-driven analytics. Using this Digital Twin, we are able to advise furnace operators how to run their furnace more effectively and provide real time feedback. Based on this feedback, one production site, for example, was able to reduce melting time by 5.7% (thereby increasing production) and increase the energy efficiency of the melting process by 15%, all while improving the aluminum yield (i.e. reduced oxidation). In this paper the principles of Foundry 4.0 applied to a rotary furnace will be presented along with example results and applications.

2:15 - 2:45 p.m.
Data and Machine Learning: The Emerging and Powerful Tool for Aluminum Alloy Development and Optimization





Nhon Q. Vo
NanoAL LLC, Skokie, IL

Alloy development, starting with the trial-and-error method, has advanced significantly, thanks to multi-scale computer simulations and high-throughput experiments. Recently with a vast amount of data generated from research and development and the advancement of the machine learning field, a powerful tool for alloy development has emerged. This work demonstrates how a particular machine learning program is embedded in the traditional alloy development workflow to shorten the timeline further, eliminate unnecessary experiments, and save cost. Furthermore, several material properties, which are complex and time-consuming to measure or calculate, can be predicted with high accuracy. In addition, the same program can be utilized to improve chemistry control and quality in production. Lastly, we outline current limitations, including data consolidation, to be addressed in the future to fully capture the power of machine learning in the aluminum casting industry.

Casting Processes & Additive Manufacturing

Session Chair:
Benjamin Groth
ExOne, St. Clairsville, OH

2:45 - 3:30 p.m.
Additively Manufacturing Tooling Inserts





Ante Lausic
General Motors, Warren, MI

Die casting has benefitted from the explosion of additive manufacturing technologies and processes over the last decade. From inserts manufactured with complex conformal cooling channels inside to methodologies to repair and repurpose scrap or worn tooling, methods to improve uptime and reduce scrap are evident. Many feared that with continual growth and expansion in metal AM, that a day would come soon where it would begin to displace traditional manufacturing methods such as casting. This presentation will serve to summarize the current state of the art with metal AM production, the successes General Motors has been able to have, and the forward looking outlook of where the current ceiling sits for the next few decades.

3:30 - 3:45 p.m.
3:45 - 4:15 p.m.
When Does it Make Sense to Use Printed Sand Molds for Production?





Tom Mueller
Mueller AMS

Printed sand molds are quickly becoming the preferred means of creating prototype sand castings. They offer several benefits including no upfront tooling costs, no tooling lead time, easy design changes and ability to handle complex geometry. The success of printed sand molds has begged the question of whether they could be used for production. They certainly can create production quality castings, but the cost of a printed mold greatly exceeds the incremental cost of making a mold using conventional methods once tooling has been paid for. Consequently, the total costs of printed molds will exceed the cost of tooling plus conventionally created molds at some number of molds. That number is called the Break-even volume. If the number of castings required is less than the breakeven volume, it will be less expensive to printed molds than conventional. Above that point, it will be less expensive to use tooling and conventionally created molds.

4:15 - 5 p.m.
Novel Rapid Molding and Counter Gravity Filling of Aluminum Castings





Sean Derrick and Dr. Sam Ramrattan
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

A rapid molding technique utilizing a subtractive machining processes of a ceramic tile to achieve a near- net shape mold was developed at Western Michigan University (WMU). Using this process the final machined molds obtain excellent surface finishes in a short production times. Pouring molten aluminum from a ladle into the superior molds previously mentioned will causes turbulent flow that leads to the entrainment of oxide films and is a cause of casting defects. An improved approach in delivering molten aluminum was developed at WMU to avoid entrainment defects in aluminum castings. The main features of rapid molding and the direct, clean, quiescent, and true counter gravity filling of aluminum casting will be discussed.

5 p.m.
Day 2 Concludes
5:30 - 7 p.m.
Networking Reception (drinks & appetizers)
Thursday, June 16, 2022
Post-Casting Process & Casting Evaluation

Session Chair:
Tony Lindert
Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh, WI

8 - 9:15 a.m.
Panel: Evaluating Casting Defects






Rafael Gallo
Pyrotek, North Royalton, OH





David Palmer
BRP-US Inc., Sturtevant, WI

Dan Hoefert
Eck Industries, Inc., Manitowoc, WI

  • Examples of Defects
  • Shrinkage, surface texture, non-conforming, etc.
  • P-Mold What’s New?
  • Application/basic procedures
  • Panelist bring own defect cases
9:15 - 9:45 a.m.
How to Select an Iron Free, Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Blast Cleaning Abrasive?





David Maddy
WINOA USA, New Castle, IN

This presentation and study will expose the different types of media available, their composition, their technical data as well as their advantages and disadvantages to help you in the best possible selection for your applications. Several solutions now exist to meet these increasingly popular and restrictive criteria. A useful presentation for all companies performing sand cleaning on aluminum parts, descaling of light weight metals, finishing and surface preparation before coating and painting

9:45 - 10:30 a.m.
CT Evaluation of Aluminum Castings

Steve Midson
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

Porosity in aluminum castings can originate from several sources, including gasses entrapped from the atmosphere or from cores, dissolved gas (hydrogen), and shrinkage porosity. Traditional methods of identifying and measuring porosity in castings include 2D x-rays, sectioning and polishing, and Archimedes density measurements, but none of these provide a satisfactory quantitative estimate of the size, total volume and distribution of the pores. X-ray CT scanning is a relatively new method that involves the capture of a series of 2D x-ray images as the casting is rotated in front of an x-ray beam, and software used to reconstruct a 3D image of the porosity. This allows the generates not only a 3-dimensional view of the size and distribution of the pores, but can also provide quantitative information of the volume, surface area, size, shape and position of each pore within a casting. This presentation will introduce the CT scanning process and review the type of quantitative data that can be generated from CT scanning of a sand casting, a die casting and a semi-solid casting. In addition, results from a preliminary study will be presented where information generated from CT scanning was used to attempt to identify the source of porosity in a sand casting.

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.
10:45 - 11:15 a.m.
Metalcasting Standards-Suggestions for Development and Use





David Weiss
Eck Industries Inc., Manitowoc, WI

The use of standards and standard practices is ubiquitous in industry. In aluminum metal casting, most are familiar with material specifications from the Aluminum Association, ASTM or AMS and practice standards for non- destructive and destructive testing from ASTM. In the casting industry there are few practice standards for common foundry activities that we do every day, such as reduced pressure testing to estimate levels of hydrogen in the melt. While there have been many papers published by AFS and others, there is no uniform standard that can be used for training or to achieve consistency of results. This presentation discusses efforts underway by the technical committees of AFS to establish such standards relevant to the casting industry.

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
1 p.m.
Tour of O'Fallon Casting

O’Fallon Casting
600 Cannonball Lane
O’Fallon, MO 63366


Registration Fees

Early Registration: Early Registration Ends May 14, 2022

Member: $750.00 | Non- Member: $1,125.00

Standard Registration:

Member $900.00 | Non- Member $1,350.00

Cancellations & Substitutions

AFS presents a variety of technical and management conferences (in both in-person and virtual formats). The refund policy for AFS conferences is as follows: 1) Substitutions are accepted at no charge at any time up until the start of the conference; 2) Full refunds are offered if AFS is notified in writing of cancellation at least 30 days in advance of the conference. No refunds or credits are available for less than 30 days written notice.