When it comes to manufacturing gear blanks, centrifugal casting holds several advantages over other methods.
The process involves pouring molten metal into a rapidly spinning mold cavity. The force produced by the mold’s spinning forces the material to conform to the shape of the mold. Additionally, extreme pressures that form within the casting device drive material contaminants to the center of the casting, allowing them to be easily removed in future finishing operations.
Advantages of the Centrifugal Casting Process
There are a number of advantages to using centrifugal casting for the manufacture of cylindrical and circular parts, such as:
- Greater strength. The greater strength of parts produced using centrifugal casting is a result of higher density grain structures. As the process allows for more control over directional solidification, the grain structure is more uniform and its mechanical properties are almost equal in all directions. This higher structural density increases the life span of the component and allows for higher stress tolerances. Another factor that contributes to the enhanced part strength is higher product purity, which eliminates internal porosity and improves structural uniformity.
- Increased product purity. During the casting process, the spinning of the mold places extreme pressures on the molten material. This pressure causes lighter contaminants and impurities to separate from the denser metal. These impurities gather in the bore of the component, minimizing the risk of formation of weak points or areas of porosity within the metal structure. The machining process following casting removes these impurities, leaving a highly pure end-product.
- Better production cost-efficiency. Increased product purity also affects production cost-efficiency. As impurities gather at the interior surface of the part and are machined out, there is a reduction in the number of defective parts and rejects. The lack of porosity produced through the centrifugal casting process also allows manufacturers to use less metal and produce less material waste. In addition, faster setup and shorter production cycle times lead to improved production cost-efficiency.
Limitations of Centrifugal Casting
Although centrifugal casting offers several manufacturing advantages, the process is limited in its production capabilities. Some of the limitations of centrifugal casting include:
- Size. To avoid the creation of a parabola at the bottom of the casting—which increases machining time—the height-to-diameter ratio used in vertical casting is 2:1. This requirement limits the size of the produced part. In some cases, horizontal casting provides the solution to these limitations.
- Internal diameters. Designs with smaller internal diameters also pose a challenge for centrifugal casting operations. The purity and strength advantages of centrifugal casting decrease as the inside diameters of the components decreases. The issue stems from the higher RPMs required to produce the necessary G forces to form the cast product. Although these speeds are possible, there are significant safety issues related to operating at higher RPMs.
- Shape. The centrifugal casting process only provides production advantages to parts with a cylindrical geometric shape. Although other mold shapes are possible, the loss of the structural and purity benefits and the additional cost of the unique die and post-processing operations make its use impractical outside of producing cylindrical shapes.
Additional Casting Services From Accurate Specialties
At Accurate Specialties, we offer a broad range of casting capabilities. In addition to centrifugal casting, we provide:
- Spin casting. This type of casting allows for the production of parts with high material purity and consistent weight and density. Additionally, when used for the manufacture of bronze gear blanks, the process creates stronger bonds between the gear tooth and hub.
- Chilled casting. This casting method produces cast products with tight grain structures and outstanding uniformity. These properties result from pouring molten bronze into an aluminum or steel mold, which is at a significantly lower temperature, producing a rapid cooling or “freezing” effect.
- Continuous casting. Continuous is cost-effective for large volumes of simple parts. It produces parts with favorable mechanical properties, even distribution of alloy agents, and better machinability, friction, and wear properties. The process involves pouring molten bronze alloys through a graphite mold, cooling them into 12-foot bars, and cutting them into “pucks” for further formation.
Bronze Centrifugal Casting Solutions From Accurate Specialties
For the manufacture of cylindrical and circular parts, centrifugal casting offers several advantages, including greater part strength, higher product purity, and better cost-effectiveness.
At Accurate Specialties, we utilize several casting methods—including centrifugal casting—to produce high-quality bronze gear blanks for our customers. Our solid bronze gear blanks are available in diameters ranging from 1–50 inches.