Metal Casting Process
A mold is formed into the geometric shape of a desired part. Molten metal is then poured into the mold, the mold holds this material in shape as it solidifies. A metal casting is created. Although this seems rather simple, the manufacturing process of metal casting is both a science and an art. Let’s begin our study of metal casting with the mold. First, molds can be classified as either open or closed. An open mold is a container, like a cup, that has only the shape of the desired part. The molten material is poured directly into the mold cavity which is exposed to the open environment.
This type of mold is rarely used in manufacturing production, particularly for metal castings of any level of quality. The other type of mold is a closed mold, it contains a delivery system for the molten material to reach the mold cavity, where the part will harden within the mold. A very simple closed mold is shown in figure 2. The closed mold is, by far, more important in manufacturing metal casting operations.
There are many different metal casting processes used in the manufacture of parts. Two main branches of methods can be distinguished by the basic nature of the mold they employ. There is expendable mold casting and permanent mold casting. As the name implies, expendable molds are used for only one metal casting while permanent molds are used for many. When considering manufacturing processes, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
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