FAQs: Metalcasting, Machining, Tooling and More

Joseph Robertson Foundries Production

About Us

About the Industry

When sending a new part for quotation what is the key information needed by JRF?

  • A 2D and/or 3D drawing.
  • Material specification including heat treatment.
  • Quality assurance expectations.
  • Special finishing requirements.
  • Tooling if required or existing.
  • Due date of quote response.

After receiving a request to quote, each request is analyzed for:

  • Tooling requirements – best suited to scope of work.
  • Quality expectations required to support technical specifications.
  • All machining features are reviewed and understood.
  • All finishing requirements are reviewed.
  • A realistic delivery date is determined.
  • Formal quote is constructed and forwarded accordingly.

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On a commercial level how are orders typically processed?

  • Upon receipt we verify all prices to current agreements or quotations issued.
  • If new tooling is required it’s referred to David Temple for review and processing.
  • Item is entered into a scheduler and tested for an arrival delivery date.
  • An order acknowledgement is then issued confirming price and delivery/supply and standard quality procedures.

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What is a typical lead time to complete the tooling phase of an order?

Depending on degree of complexity:

Lead Time

Sand casting: 2 – 6 weeks

Sand casting with core features: 3 – 8 weeks

Permanent Mold: 8 – 12 weeks

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What is the standard typical lead time for production ordering?

Castings: 3 – 4 weeks

Casting and machining: 6 – 8 weeks

If castings are purchased on a recurring basis these lead times are not required.

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Do you have a minimum order quantity?

Yes, minimum order $275.00 / per order.

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What is a metal casting?

A casting is a metal part formed by pouring molten metal into a sand mold or metal die. The mold or die is comprised of two halves that, when mated together, form a cavity into which the molten metal is poured. The mold or die form the external surface of the casting. If an internal cavity is required in the casting, a core is placed inside the mold cavity. After the metal solidifies, the mold is broken, the cores removed and the part is readied for finishing operations. The sand is then remolded and used again. When a metal die is used, the two halves of the die are separated and the solidified casting is removed. The die is then reused. The majority of castings produced in the United States are specifically engineered parts, custom designed for unique applications.

Castings in general are not commodities like, for instance, bearings or fasteners, where one style might be used in many applications. Generally speaking, most castings are made to order with close tolerance levels required to meet a customer’s strict requirements.

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What is a foundry?

If you were to trace a journey from a manufactured product to a consumer, chances are the path would have traveled at one time through a foundry. Not only do foundries produce the products we need for everyday living, but metal castings are also needed to create the machines that make the products. Currently there are 2,100 foundries and over 200,000 employees in the United States, which produce 13 million U.S. tons of castings per year, totaling nearly $32 billion worth of shipments. A foundry is a place where castings are made from molten metal according to an end user’s specifications. This basic metal distinction between foundries fall under ferrous (iron or steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, etc.).

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What do castings cost?

It is impossible for us to quote prices for labor charges without first seeing the piece or pieces in question. We invite you to send your designs to our Reliance Foundry sales team, and we will gladly give you an estimate before any work is begun. Of course, all designs sent to us either for pricing or as orders to be processed are held in strict confidence.

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What are castings used for?

Metal castings are used in virtually any application you can think of. More than 90% of all manufactured goods and capital equipment use castings as engineered components or rely on castings for their manufacture. All sectors of the U.S. military are reliant on metal castings for tank, truck, jet engine and other vital components. Metal castings have OEM applications for capital and consumer goods. Castings are also used in automobiles, trucks, navigation
and railroad equipment among other modes of transportation. In short, castings represent a vital yet very basic aspect of our everyday lives.

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What metals can be cast?

Virtually any metal that can be melted can and is being cast in foundries today. The most common alloys used in metalcasting are shown below. Metals are most commonly categorized as ferrous or nonferrous. Ferrous Metals: Cast Iron, Gray Iron, Ductile Iron, Malleable Iron, Cast Steel, Compacted Graphite Iron, Stainless Steel, Manganese Steel Nonferrous Metals: Cast Aluminum, Cast Copper Alloy, Brass, Bronze, Zinc, Magnesium, Carbon & Low Alloy Titanium, Corrosion Resistant Nickel, Heat Resistant Cobalt, Manganese, Tin.

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How are castings made?

There are several processes available to produce castings. Sand molding, where the replica of a finished piece (or pattern) is compressed with sand and binder additives to form a shape of the final part, is probably the most common form of production. The pattern is removed after the mold or impression has been formed and then the metal is introduced through a runner system to fill the cavity. The sand and the metal is then separated and the casting cleaned and finished for shipment to the customer.

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Is the metal casting industry environmentally responsible?

The metal casting industry is the “original recycler.” Rather than use new or “virgin” materials as melt stock, nearly all foundries reuse scrap metals as their primary melting material. Annually, North American foundries consume 15-20 million tons of recycled scrap metal, giving new life to products that would otherwise go to landfills. Besides reusing metal scrap, foundries also use and reuse 100 million tons of sand annually. Sand used to make molds and cores is continuously reused until it loses its properties that are necessary for high quality molds and cores.

Only 6% of this sand can no longer be used in the foundry process and becomes available for reuse. In fact, the metal casting industry has been an innovator in beneficially reusing spent core and molding sand. After removing binders and other materials from the sand, it is then made available for the manufacture of bricks, concrete and as construction backfill. Recycling millions of pounds of discarded metal also allows the casting industry to be one of the largest and most conscientious environmentally friendly industries in the world.

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