Fostering innovation is one of the three pillars of the AFS mission. AFS has a long history of sponsoring metalcasting research and innovation. The goal of AFS research is to move the metalcasting industry forward, remove technical barriers and gaps, and improve the overall efficiency and quality of the metalcasting process.
AFS works with leading casting technical experts to discuss state of the industry, and ask leading questions such as; What would make our job better? What would we like to be able to do in 5 years, or 10 years that we cannot do now? AFS research projects help develop new technologies, improve our understanding of basic casting issues, and benchmark best practices.
AFS involvement in metalcasting research has two facets, direct funding, and partnerships.
AFS directly sponsors research programs through a fund based on an allocation of a portion of AFS Corporate Member dues. The Research Board selects projects and provides oversight. Most research projects are developed by the AFS technical committees and their members serve as the steering committee to help monitor and direct the research toward project goals and objectives. The mix of projects varies each year, based on submissions from the divisions.
If you are interested in participating in an AFS research project or committee activity, contact the AFS Technical Department 800-537-4237, or Steve Robison, Chief Technical Services Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019-20 AFS funded research programs.
AFS is also involved in outside casting research programs. These partnerships and consortiums allow AFS to participate in additional funding and provide additional value to the industry. ADFS is involved in two primary partnerships:
AMC: AFS maintains its collaboration with the American Metalcasting Consortium. The consortium is a research partnership including four metalcasting associations to promote cast metals research and infrastructure improvements to benefit U.S. military and defense needs. AMC is funded through the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Logistics Agency, managed through the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). Under the current (5 year) program, AFS is directly managing two projects.
The first project is investigating the use of intelligent manufacturing to improve casting design and process optimization. Using known casting process variables, historic data and probabilistic modeling to determine unknown process variables, the program goal is to develop more rapid and accurate prediction of casting properties and more consistent part quality.
A second project will enhance the AFS Casting Alloy Data Selection tool (CADS). Publicly available on the AFS website, CADS provides casting design engineers with a searchable database of qualified alloy properties. This new program will continue building the CADS database, including new alloys and sand mold properties. CADS draws more than 100 visits per month to the site.
In addition, AFS also provides technical oversight and guidance for two additional projects managed by outside investigators. One program is investigating the use of ultrasonic cavitation to disperse nanoparticles into molten aluminum to produce metal-matrix composite castings for improved properties and high temperature performance for cast aluminum components. A second project is focused on producing metal-ceramic composite lattice castings for impact and penetration resistant applications.
ACRC: AFS is also a member of the Advanced Casting Research Center (ACRC), an industry-university research consortium focused on addressing the global foundry industry. As a member, AFS assists in oversight and selection of casting-related research programs. ACRC has been part of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA, and will be relocating in 2020 to University of California, Irvine. An AFS sponsored program on innovative heat treating for aluminum alloys started in 2019.