Advanced Lost Foam Casting Processes and Materials 2009-01-0213
The lost foam casting process (LFCP) is a near-net shape casting process. This process is the most energy efficient casting process available. “Foundry Management and Technology” magazine analyzed the lost foam process and reported a 27% energy savings, a 46% improvement in labor productivity and 7% less material usage compared to other casting processes. The LFCP produces high value parts by combining multiple components into single castings, improving energy efficiency by achieving better metal yields, reducing materials consumption by eliminating cores, providing minimal post casting processing and improving as-cast dimensional accuracy. All of these process features reduce the total energy consumed during manufacturing.
Advanced lost foam casting processes (Pressure Assisted Solidification and Vacuum Assisted Mold Filling) have demonstrated the capability to improve mechanical properties, especially fatigue performance, for aluminum alloys and improve casting cleanliness, which reduces scrap, for ferrous alloys.
Advantages of LFCP that have not been fully utilized are 1) freedom from gray iron “skin” formation in ductile and compacted graphite iron and 2) elimination of hot tearing for high strength, cast aluminum alloys. These advantages, combined with the inherent near-net shape capability of the LFCP, would allow the economical production of lightweight, high strength and/or high stiffness automotive engine components, such as cylinder blocks and cylinder heads. These components would have a significant effect on vehicle fuel economy by allowing the production of diesel engines with lighter weight, greater performance and lower cost than currently possible.