University of Minnesota
Minnesota Technical Assistance Program

Process Improvements for Metal Casters

Melting tanks

To improve efficiency in your facility, you might consider making some process changes. For example, many casters can recycle process inputs without incurring labor, productivity, and energy costs. Improving process steps may minimize rejects, maximize energy, and optimize process flow.

Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

The U.S. EPA has developed an Environmental Management System (EMS) template for both die casters and foundries. Developing a facility-specific EMS can help you ensure that you are meeting your environmental and organizational goals. These templates, developed in 2003 and 2004, reflect the best guidance, tools, examples, and forms that were available when it was originally written. They also emphasize the EPA's National Environmental Performance Track Program, which encourages facilities to engage in sustained compliance, preventing pollution, continuous improvement in environmental performance, and sharing information with the community.

A 2007 report, Implementation of Best Metal Casting Practices [PDF 1MB], identified the benefits or barriers to implementation of best practices by focusing  upon inexpensive technology. Many recommendations in this report addressed improving the operation of the melt system (covers, process control, fluxing).

One process improvement opportunity highlighted in this report is the use of computer modeling to improve the efficiency of the casting process. A cast metal part requires more melted metal than is necessary to obtain the net desired shape. This extra metal and needed energy can be substantially more metal than is accounted for in the customers’ finished product. In most cases, a large majority of the excess is recovered and remelted. However, the original melt energy is sacrificed.

Using computer models can optimize the design of the product configuration, lessening the amount of excess metal needed. The computer-aided design can also account for metal flow peculiarities that may result in part defects. By implementing computer modeling, your facility may not only decrease scrap and defects, but may also lessen your energy use and costs.

Additional Resources

  • MnTAP Intern Summary: SCS Co-Sines (1993). The intern recommended solutions for reducing and reusing die casting scrap.
  • MnTAP Fact Sheet: Non-Contact Cooling Water (2007). There may be opportunities to reduce water use in your facility by reusing water for non-contact cooling.

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