China SubContract Manufacturing and Sourcing Solutions

Lost Foam Casting – The history, process and modern day developments

In This Article:

Page 1: History
Page 2: Products Made
Page 3: The Process in China
Page 4: The Advantages and Disadvantages
Page 5: Developments within the Industry
Page 6: Explanatory Videos

History

An evolution of investment casting process, the first variant of this particular casting process first appeared in 1958 when Shroyer (USA) was granted a patent and saw further development in 1964 when M.C. Flemming filed further patents.

By the mid 1980s the process was well established and General Motors (GM) adopted it to produce automotive components, most notably when it announced its new car line, the Saturn, would be produced using this casting process.

Relatively new, it has found a rapid and widespread application in various sectors. Mainly used to produce ductile (flexible) iron castings, its development allowed for light alloy castings as well.

China has today developed its own variants of the process and materials used within the process. Though having a slow start due to licensing technology from overseas, it now has well established casting manufacturing companies.

Local research and development also ensures the further development of the process while various manufacturers have registered trade names for this particular process, including Replicast, Policast, Styro-cast and Foam Cast.

Lost Foam Casting is a mainstream process used for high production volumes where the repetitive demands can justify the high initial mould and tooling costs. The need to produce the initial foam pattern repeatedly necessitates the production of a relatively expensive mould tool with a cavity that replicates the desired component with risers, gates and runners. Unlike its lost wax casting counterpart, this production of a mould limits both design change as well as flexibility. Note though that pattern making techniques can also remove this limitation from the casting process.

Because foam has such a low boiling point and evaporates when coming into contact with a molten metal, it is a simpler and more time efficient process. It also allows for great accuracy and is an effective process when it comes to manufacturing complex castings that require cores.

An important casting technique of China’s industrial spectrum, it is also a very well supported process, getting attention in terms of research and further development from industrial communities, government initiatives and academic industries.

Taking a look at industry development, you will see that it is very much focused on both material and process development.

Material development focusses on:

  1. The materials used for die production
  2. Ensuring the best possible finishes of the final products
  3. The development of the process itself as well as alternative methods of producing the die.

Evaporative mould casting takes over from lost wax casting where it fails to meet the demands of a medium to high production volume.

Because it is also a process that produce such little waist, it is quickly gaining green provenance and a strong following.

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