What is a Lost Foam Casting?
Seneca Foundry offers many different casting services ranging from gray to ductile cast irons, lost foam and green sand molding, to 3D scanning services and more using our total quality management system. So, what exactly is lost foam casting and why does Seneca Foundry use it?
Seneca Foundry performs a lost foam process with a type of evaporative-pattern casting process where a polystyrene foam pattern is used to form a mold. The lost foam pattern is coated with a refractory slurry and is embedded in a flask with a ceramic bead medium compacted around it to support the foam's external form. The foam in the foundry's process is evaporated as molten iron is poured into the flask, with the gray iron casting precisely duplicating all of the features of the lost foam pattern.
Seneca Foundry believes lost foam is advantageous for complex castings that would normally require cores.
Maintains an excellent surface finish
Requires no draft
Has no parting lines
The lost foam is easy to manipulate, carve, and glue which allows for consolidating many foam pieces into one complex component that is cast as a single part, aiding in Seneca Foundry's cast iron manufacturer abilities.
The polystyrene foam pattern can also be cut with a CNC machine which makes this process an excellent option for rapid prototype castings. There is no expensive tooling to be purchased upfront and it is a relatively quick process from designing the 3D model to cut foam to iron casting in hand.
Here is an example of a foam pattern and the finished iron casting.
Lost Foam Castings with Seneca Foundry
In 2010, a long-standing customer approached Seneca Foundry to help solve a lost foam casting problem. Seneca Foundry responded to the customer need by developing our lost foam process. Our Seneca Foundry engineers took on the project by researching, experimenting, and developing the lost foam casting manufacturing system to efficiently produce high-quality gray and ductile iron castings with our total quality management system. From the beginning, the working relationship with the customer was the driving success in this startup.
With a reliable and consistent lost foam process in place, Seneca Foundry continued to grow this line by developing a close relationship with Austin Group, LLC. Specializing in lost foam rapid prototyping, Austin Group, LLC has earned its high reputation in the lost foam world by developing some of the most complex designs in the industry. For lower prototype quantities (one to twenty pieces), a Fabricated Foam method is capable of producing complex part designs without constructing any tooling. This method is highly cost-effective and typically a very low lead time to turn the prototype idea into casting in hand. This method allows for designs to be tested and modified with less capital and time invested than traditional methods.
To meet the increasing customer demands of lost foam castings, Seneca Foundry responded by investing in additional capital equipment in 2017 that would allow us to more than double our lost foam thru put as well as improve operator ergonomics, increase the total quality control of the ceramic bead medium, and improve efficiencies within the lost foam process.