This article focusses on sand casting and more specifically on aluminium sand casting, taking you through its earlier history, the types of products that are produced using this metal casting method, the process in China today, the benefits and constraints of the process, as well some great videos produced by ChinaSavvy to better explaining the process.

In this Article:

The History
Products Made using Sand Casting
The Sand Casting Process in China
Sand Casting’s Pros and Cons
Latest Developments
ChinaSavvy Videos

The History

One of the oldest casting variants, claims as the where and when sand casting started are conflicting. Claims has been made that is started in China about 1 600 years ago, but a copper frog, today known as the earliest sand casting, was found in Mesopotamia and dates back to 3 200 B.C.

Iron was discovered in around 2 000 B.C. and, somewhere between the times of 800 and 700 B.C. the first iron is produced in China. The sand casting process and the capability to produce cast iron met and gave rise to the first sand mould production od iron castings in China.

By 233 B.C. various utility products were produced in China using this method. A great example of one of these utility products are cast iron ploughshares. In 500 A.D. crucible steels are poured in India with further development of the process largely taking place in during the 18th Century in the UK and Europe.

Following the first production of aluminium in 1825, focus started to move to the production of aluminium castings. Initially aluminium’s applications were limited due to the scarcity of the metal, but it soon started to develop at a rapid pace. Architectural applications and sculptures are examples of the first major uses of aluminium.

In 1924, due to a great demand by the automotive industry – specifically noting Ford – the process started to develop and improve. The Second World War also added to the need for improvement, further driving development.

The ability to produce aluminium casting has been both supported and enabled by the development of:

  1. Casting Materials
    By developing the types of materials that can be casted, a rise in the development of special alloys also developed exclusively for sand casting.
  2. Mould Materials
    The sand mould developed from the use of simple sand to the processes of including oils and the use multi-layer mould systems. These improvements led to various developments in surface finish, the capability to produce complex shape and even the ability to re-use a mould. Recent years has shown the inclusion of polymer binders in addition to the more traditional ‘green sand’ process.
  3. Mould Preparation Systems
    Springing from simple an d effective hand processes used in ancient times to the development of automated systems that can be used in high volume production chains such as those used in the production of automotive parts and components.

In around a 100 years since the discovery aluminium, the sand casting process of aluminium had become a mainstream manufacturing process because it was capable of addressing the demands of the market, be it for a single piece or for serial production.

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