The industry of casting has been part of the manufacturing world for many decades. Some companies, like Curto-Ligonier Foundries, have been doing this type of work since the 1940s. Using light yet durable materials like aluminum or magnesium, these companies have produced finely produced parts for a number of industries. With today’s technology, many dies can be cast using the same pattern molds while sand is used in the process to provide smooth finishes. While aluminum has been used in a majority of these casting processes, magnesium continues to be a suitable replacement.
The eighth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, magnesium is the lightest structural material. Yes, even lighter than aluminum. Magnesium has a number of advantage for its use. For instance, it has a high strength to weight ratio and high impact resistance. It can be cast to meet the desired shape for the part and has above average dimensional stability. In abundant supply, magnesium is 100% recyclable.
Why industries choose casting in magnesium over aluminum depends on what is being made. Because it’s 75% lighter than steel, many auto manufacturers now use magnesium casting for parts like power-train components. As long as they are pre-treated, magnesium parts can be painted just like its steel or aluminum cousins. The advantage is the magnesium-casted part will last longer.
If you’re in an industry which requires the casting of parts you need to look at what companies do so in magnesium. One thing to look at is if the company has its own pattern-making facilities, especially if you’re starting out. If they have their own facilities, you need to determine the skill sets of the engineers who help design the casts for the parts. You also want to look at the turnaround rate of design and creation and if they can do the casts in both magnesium and aluminum to make a determination as to which is best. Of course, you want the company to be wary of your design concepts and work with you to get the design right the first time.
So, do your research for companies which have the best technology to create magnesium-casted parts while keeping the cost down to the customer.