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Celebrating precision engineered solutions in cast metal

A ‘never been done’ cast aluminium solution for the automotive industry is hailed as the Best of British Casting at the Cast Metals Industry Awards Dinner.

The Component of the Year Award was won by Sarginsons Industries, Coventry for a front sub-frame for the Jaguar Landrover L551 21MY. The existing part was a ferrous fabricated and welded assembly, but the client was seeking an aluminium solution and the challenge was to develop a ‘never been done’ solution in time for the vehicle launch, so there was a twelve-week delivery time for prototypes, commencing six weeks from delivery of the CAD model.

A three-part pattern design was developed to optimise directional solidification and simulations were undertaken in tandem with the pattern manufacture to enable lean delivery times; patterns were delivered in three weeks. The final 18kg casting has a sand cast variation of 0.1 per cent across the full sub-frame length and over 500 prototype parts have been supplied.

“The whole team at Sarginsons are all very proud of this casting”, said Anthony Evans, managing director of Sarginsons Industries. “The component is the product of a team effort and it is the bringing together of individuals and teams with key expertise from throughout the organisation that ensures success.”

Shortlisted in the Component of the Year category: Harrison Castings, for a huge diesel engine sump casting measuring over two metres long; Maycast-Nokes Precision Engineering, for a sand cast wind turbine hub and servo housing; and Sutton Castings for a remarkable one-off cylinder block for a heritage traction engine.

 

Investment in plant and people 

The Company Achievement Award was won by McDonald Diecasting Ltd, part of the Thomas Dudley Group, for its turnaround of the business and investment in both plant and people. A zinc diecaster based in the Black Country and a member of the Thomas Dudley Group, McDonald Diecasting has been transformed by its management team from a loss-making operation into a company that is rapidly moving forward.

The team has developed a new vision, embedding the company values into the business strategy with greater focus on the business’ strengths; by 2022 the plan is to double the casting output and turnover as part of a systematic and strategic five-year plan for growth. The company has invested in a new staff development and training programme, improved the working environment and staff facilities, and presents monthly awards. In addition, the diecaster now has a major marketing initiative which is successfully building the brand supported by a presence at major international exhibitions.

Mark Fisher, managing director at MDL said: “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement and we’re extremely proud and honoured to receive this prestigious award. It’s been nearly 30 years since we’ve won an award and to be recognised by industry specialists as Best of British Casting is significant.

“MDL has worked extremely hard over the last 18 months with major changes, as well as working strongly with the marketing department in creating a new vision within the company and aligning this with core company values as part of our business strategy. In addition, this has allowed us to represent the company to new and existing customers, provide materials and literature which we never had and also exhibit at key exhibitions which has generated great leads and revenue.”

Shortlisted was FSE Foundry for its investment in people, refurbishment and investment programme, and in particular its apprentice programme; and voxeljet UK for its role in helping to revolutionise the industry’s component development processes through 3D printing.

 

Secondary attrition

The Innovation Award was won by Omega Sinto Foundry Machinery Ltd for the development of a secondary attrition greensand reclamation process.

In conjunction with parent company Sintokogio, Omega has developed a novel technique to increase the reclamation rate of spent foundry sands by mechanical means only and without damaging the base sand. The process can be applied to reclaim both organic and inorganic binders along with greensand back to core room. The system is referred to as secondary attrition and the name of the unit developed is called the ‘USR’.

A high-pressure greensand foundry will incorporate cores typically made from the PUCB (cold box) process. At the shakeout, the spent core sand is mixed back into the greensand and unless the aforementioned amount of greensand is dumped then the system will eventually overload.

The first greensand foundry this system was introduced into not only noted a decrease in binder in the core room due to the rounding of the sand grains, but also after the core sand got mixed into the greensand post shakeout then ensuing benefits were noted in terms of increased wet tensile and compressive strengths due to the better characteristics. There are two foundries now reclaiming spent greensand back to core room and apart from the above benefits they have also noted a decrease in expansion type defects such as veining.

Accepting the award on behalf of Omega Sinto, managing director Mark Lewis said: “This is a massive privilege. Our industry has been reclaiming from the beginning, but it is vitally important that we are efficient and continue to strive to achieve better results in our foundries.”

The two shortlisted companies in the Innovation category are: CastAlum, for a research and development programme to replace traditional steel cores with an additive manufactured solution, leading to the development of the ‘perfect cooling channel design’, reduced downtime and a reduction in the problem of solder in high pressure diecasting; and Wall Colmonoy, for work developing tooling for wax injection patterns suitable for low to medium volume batches in investment casting, using additive manufactured inserts, leading to improved casting quality.

CMF vice-chair Stuart Gregory presented the trophies to the winning companies during the 2018 Cast Metals Industry Awards Dinner, held at a new venue – Wolverhampton’s former railway Grand Station.

Enthused by the technical and commercial advances being made by the industry, Pam Murrell of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF), organisers of the event, said: "All of the entries we have heard about show that the UK cast metals industry continues to adapt and develop in the face of uncertainty. The industry continues to innovate, invest and succeed, demonstrating great technical and commercial acumen on a regular basis. All this is happening throughout the industry and not just within our exemplars selected tonight for these awards, and it should hold the industry in good stead as it looks to the future.”

For more information and to apply for the 2019 awards, visit: www.castmetalsfederation.com

 

COMPONENT OF THE YEAR

WINNER: Sarginsons Industries, Coventry

SHORTLISTED: Harrison Castings, Leicester; Maycast-Nokes Precision Engineering, Halstead, Essex; Sutton Castings, Nottingham

 

COMPANY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

WINNER: McDonald Diecasting, Tipton, West Midlands

SHORTLISTED: FSE Foundry, Essex; Voxeljet UK, Milton Keynes

 

INNOVATION AWARD

WINNER: Omega Sinto Foundry Machinery, Peterborough

SHORTLISTED: CastAlum, Welshpool; Wall Colmonoy, Swansea