Have you ever wondered how the different metal parts in your vehicle or in any good-sized machine in your home or workplace were made? With their precise cuts, shapes, and sizes, there’s no way they could have been sculpted by human hands. Even the most skillful metalworkers are incapable of cutting through extremely tough materials like metal with such precision and accuracy. Actually, the process of making these metal pieces is a little bit more complicated than that. Instead of being carved out of raw metal blocks, they are formed through casting.
Casting refers to the process of pouring liquid metal into a mold and allowing it to cool and solidify into a certain shape. The hollow inside the mold is where the magic of casting takes place. Its dimensions have to be exact in order to produce high-quality casts. There are, however, many other factors that can influence the final output. One in particular is the type of metal that the mold is made of.
Steel as the Most Common Mold Material
Most molds are made of steel, a metal formed by combining iron and a small amount of carbon. Steel is a strong and durable metal. It can withstand the high temperatures involved in metal casting and is exceptionally workable. The only problem with this metal is that it is not as durable as most alloys. Mold makers only choose it because it is cheaper to make, but so many other alloys can outperform it, especially as a mold material for casting.
High-Performance Copper Alloys
As mold makers start looking for alternatives, they’ve turned their eyes to high-performance copper alloys. Although much more expensive than steel, they are seen as a potential alternative due to their many beneficial properties. Specifically, high-performance copper alloys can significantly reduce cycle time and part deformation.
Most steel molds cannot tolerate above average operating speeds, which is why they usually run at 50-percent capacity. This has a dramatic effect on production, so most metal casting companies resort to using more than one mold to redress the balance. By using molds made of copper alloys, they can eliminate the need for an extra mold, as it can tolerate higher operating speeds.
A lot of manufacturers are still hesitant to go for copper alloys because of the high initial manufacturing cost. The truth is that they can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run as compared to the few thousand dollars extra that they have to fork out for the new mold. Since copper alloys can last longer than steel and require minimal upkeep, production can continue without interruptions, which can also reduce operational cost.
Choosing the right metal for metalworking is a critical task. A small mistake can spell disaster to the production, which could spawn a lot of other costly problems. If you are looking to replace your steel molds with copper alloys, go to a trusted mold making company that specializes in copper and its alloys and enjoys continuous growth in copper & brass sales, such as Rotax Metals. This company also offers high-quality copper, brass, and bronze bars and tubes.
Cycle Time Reduction, Velaction.com
Metal Casting Process, TheLibraryOfManufacturing.com
Advantages of Steel, Truecore.com.au