Support of research is critical for North America to maintain a strong, vibrant, healthy and continually advancing metalcasting industry. Part of AFS' mission is to promote these activities for the betterment of our membership, our industry and our society.
AFS directly funds research projects from allocation of a portion of the annual dues paid by AFS Corporate Membership. The current AFS Funded Research Projects are described below. The other projects are funded through research partnerships, government funding and industry contributions. AFS participates in these projects by securing industry partners and providing technical management and oversight.
Metalcasting Industry Funded & Monitored Research
National Network of Manufacturing Innovation
America Makes: National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
America Makes is the nation’s leading collaborative partner in additive manufacturing and 3-D printing technology research, discovery, creation and innovation. America Makes had its fifth birthday in August 2017. AFS is partnering with Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), which has been named a recipient of funds from America Makes. The research project “Accelerated Adoption of AM Technology in the American Foundry Industry” will support the transition of binder jet AM to the small business casting industry by providing increased access to the use of binder jet equipment and the development of design guidelines and process specifications.
American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII)
AFS is part of a 60-member consortium that will pair leading aluminum, titanium. Cast iron and high strength steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories pioneering new technology development and research. The long-term goal of the ALMMII will be to expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems that utilize new, lightweight, high performing metals and alloys by removing technological barriers to their manufacture, according to the White House. AFS will champion the role of the metalcasting industry as a key metals manufacturing sector in this effort.
Digital Labs for Manufacturing (Digital Lab)
The Digital Lab has been established to increase the successful transition of digital manufacturing and innovative design technologies through advanced manufacturing, create an adaptive workforce capable of meeting industry needs, further increase domestic competitiveness, and meet participating defense and civilian agency requirements. As it relates to the metalcasting industry, the use of these technologies will assist in the more rapid development and production of lighter weight cast metal components for military, energy, transportation and commercial applications.
American Metalcating Consortium/U.S. Department of Defense/Defense Logistics Agency Funded Projects
Casting Solutions for Readiness Program
AFS, as part of their efforts in the American Metalcasting Consortium (AMC), has secured contracts funded through the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia and the Defense Logistics Agency, Ft. Belvoir, VA. The group of projects is under an AMC program entitled Castings Solutions for Readiness (CSR). The two current AFS projects, Cast High-Integrity Alloy Mechanical Property Standards (CHAMPS) and the other Casting Standards and Specifications, are continuations of previous AFS AMC efforts.
Casting Standards and Specifications
Accessing state-of-the-market technical, specification and training materials for castings is challenging. AFS is working to provide current and qualified information in a network friendly form to users of castings via the Casting Standards and Specifications project. The effort includes both archival and recent technical information in searchable databases. Specifications and standards are summarized, and the user is guided in their application. Tutorials covering the fundamental design concerns are also presented. The development of an online material design property database will greatly enhance the ability for the next generation of component designers to create the lightest weight and most efficient parts quicker and at lower cost. These tools facilitate more effective and efficient procurement to both DoD and industry in the support of weapon systems. Along with data from various AFS research projects, like the two recently completed AFS-funded projects for the Development of Fatigue Properties Database, AFS has also incorporated the USAMP Light Metals Materials Database properties and strain life fatigue data for CGI Grade 400, a high-alloy Class 40 Gray Iron, Solution Strengthened Ferritic Ductile Iron, A206 aluminum, and others into the AFS Casting Alloy Data Search (CADS) onto the AFS design website. The work planned under this project will add design properties for 4-5 additional cast metal alloys per year, while continuing to upgrade the CADS online database.
For more information, contact Steve Robison, AFS chief technical services officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800/537-4237 ext. 227.
AFS and National Industrial Sand Assoc. (NISA) Sand Casting Consortium
AFS has partnered with the National Industrial Sand Association (NISA) to create a research consortium to develop and monitor research focused on improving the sand casting process.
The decision to form the consortium was formalized during a recent workshop, held at AFS Headquarters, which included presentations about the latest research on dimensional accuracy and tolerances in sand casting. The event was attended by more than 45 people representing 12 metalcasting facilities, 15 metalcasting supply companies and three research organizations. The workshop identified potential paths to move sand casting into the future. The discussions identified better dimensional controls and improved sand mold stability, the ability to produce more complex castings, real-time instrumentation for measuring green sand properties, more accurate computer modeling of green sand molding, zero emission sand casting, improved surface finish and other technical challenges as areas for sand casting improvement.
The AFS and NISA membership consortium is open to all metalcasting personnel and will develop research programs to address the technical challenges that have been identified.
For more information or to join the consortium, contact Steve Robison, AFS chief technical services officer, at email@example.com or 800/537-4237 ext. 227.
Advanced Casting Research Consortium (ACRC) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
AFS participates as a member of the Advanced Casting Research Consortium (ACRC) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The ACRC is part of the Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is a leading industry-university alliance dedicated to advancing the field of materials science. Through research in the areas of metal casting, heat treating, and resource recovery and recycling, MPI has earned awards, recognition, breakthrough patents, and industry accolades. At the Advanced Casting Research Center (ACRC) we collaborate on research addressing the global foundry industry. The focus is to bring fundamental understanding to existing processes, develop new methods and address management-technology interface issues with our industrial partners.