Casting integrity is essential for providing components that meet design criteria for strength and fatigue performance. As the leading method of manufacturing metal components in the rail industry, maintaining quality and consistency is a continuing struggle for car owners and builders. Internal shrinkage and voids due to insufficient metal flow are issues commonly found in casting molds which are not designed or utilized properly. Using casting simulation software, potential issues can be discovered upfront and robust mold designs can be created that offer a tolerance for the variance or variations in casting conditions that are present in the real world.
Strato, Inc. has extensively studied the effectiveness of these simulations in foundries through advanced inspection techniques. It is evident that casting simulations can not only locate, but also explain shrinkage cavities and voids through material density plots and inspection of directional solidification via critical fraction solid time plots. This approach is markedly more efficient than the traditional trial and error method, where mold makers rely on experience and destructive testing to develop acceptable mold designs.
With recent advances in simulation software, the labor and time-intensive ways of the past have been supplanted by a more scientific approach to the problem. Understanding the fluid dynamics and thermodynamics of the casting process provides a means of creating a stable, repeatable final product. This higher quality final product can be delivered faster to the customer and at a far less expense by identifying problem areas prior to the tooling and sampling processes. Case-studies explored by the Strato engineering team suggest that using this software decreases the fallout rate.