Sand Casting’s Pros and Cons

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As with all industrial processes, the sand casting of aluminium has its own set of benefits and constraints that play a role on its viability as an appropriate casting process for a specific product.

When it comes to sand casting, the first consideration that should be taken is that of the product and how it should be designed to allow for sand casting. There are natural constraint on how molten aluminium will flow in the mould and thus the shapes has to be designed to permit this ‘flowing’. Early consideration of these factors are important and should be addresses at the outset.

Other constraints should also be noted when it comes to the production of castings with voids. Though one of the great benefits of sand casting is the ability to cast products with thin walls and voids, there are also limitations here and should be carefully considered when choosing an appropriate aluminium casting process.

A great benefit of the sand casting process, especially for low volume productions, is that the cost of making patterns are low. The disadvantage, or con, associated with this pro is that the lifespan of a pattern is relatively short. Being able to readily and cheaply modify tools, again counts as great advantage to the process.

Where higher production volumes are concerned, patterns tend to be made in metal. Though the cost increases, the lifespan of the tool also increases.

The size of the product also plays a role when it comes to aluminium sand casting and is also placed under natural constraints. The current limit being at 100 kg, it will be more effective to consider other techniques when it comes to extremely small, high volume pieces.

The sand moulds used also has it advantages, including the fact that it is relatively cheap and that much of the material can be recycled. Recycling is also a huge advantage for this process as scrap castings can be re-melted and used again.

Capable of producing precision components (especially if a suitable investment has been made in the tooling), aluminium sand casting is used to produce a wide variety of products, including components in the automotive industry specifically designed to need a minimal amount of machining. Even though aluminium is a more expensive raw material, the automotive industry prefers using it over steel and iron simply because of the low weight of the finished product.

Taking a look at aluminium sand casting you will see that it is in fact a group of processes that cover a wide range, from skill based systems and artisans to high volume automated production. The flexibility and the range of applications it offers, makes the sand casting process an extremely popular and well developed metal casting process.

When taking product design, the variant of the sand casting process used, and a close interaction with the casting company, sand casting does indeed offer effective means of product realisation.

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