Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20040031580 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/219,854
Publication dateFeb 19, 2004
Filing dateAug 15, 2002
Priority dateAug 15, 2002
Publication number10219854, 219854, US 2004/0031580 A1, US 2004/031580 A1, US 20040031580 A1, US 20040031580A1, US 2004031580 A1, US 2004031580A1, US-A1-20040031580, US-A1-2004031580, US2004/0031580A1, US2004/031580A1, US20040031580 A1, US20040031580A1, US2004031580 A1, US2004031580A1
InventorsDouglas Smith
Original AssigneeSmith Douglas W.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Contour mold casting method
US 20040031580 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a casting method comprising the steps of obtaining a thermal distribution of mold sand for a casting, and determining a mold wall thickness profile based at least partially on the mold sand thermal distribution.
Images(9)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(41)
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. A casting method comprising the steps of:
obtaining a thermal distribution of mold sand for a casting; and
determining a mold wall thickness profile based at least partially on the mold sand thermal distribution.
2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of obtaining a stress distribution of the mold sand for the casting, and the step of determining a mold thickness profile further includes determining the mold wall thickness profile based at least partially on the mold sand stress distribution.
3. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of fabricating a mold having the determined mold thickness profile.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein the step of fabricating a mold includes fabricating a cope mold and a drag mold, the cope mold having a cope mold wall thickness profile, the drag mold having a drag mold wall thickness profile, and joining the cope mold and drag mold to form a cavity.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein the step of fabricating the cope mold includes a top cope mold pattern box and a bottom cope mold pattern box, the bottom cope mold pattern box containing a pattern for shaping the casting, and the top cope mold pattern box containing a pattern having the cope mold wall thickness profile.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein the top cope mold pattern box has at least one blow tube opening.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein the at least one blow tube opening accommodates at least one tamper pin, the tamper pin being hollow and having an opening and a tip vent.
8. The method of claim 5 wherein the top cope mold pattern box and bottom cope mold pattern box are joined to form a cavity.
9. The method of claim 8 further comprising the step of blowing sand into the cavity formed by joining the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box.
10. The method of claim 9 further comprising the step of venting curing gas into the sand in the cavity formed by joining the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box.
11. The method of claim 9 further comprising the step of separating the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box.
12. The method of claim 4 wherein the step of fabricating the drag mold includes a top drag mold pattern box and a bottom drag mold pattern box, the bottom drag mold pattern box containing a pattern for shaping the casting, and the top drag mold pattern box containing a pattern having the drag mold wall thickness profile.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein the top drag mold pattern box has at least one blow tube opening.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the at least one blow tube opening accommodates at least one tamper pin, the tamper pin being hollow and having an opening and a tip vent.
15. The method of claim 12 wherein the top drag mold pattern box and bottom drag mold pattern box are joined to form a cavity.
16. The method of claim 15 further comprising the step of blowing sand into the cavity formed by joining the top drag mold pattern box and the bottom drag mold pattern box.
17. The method of claim 16 further comprising the step of venting curing gas into the sand in the cavity formed by joining the top drag mold pattern box and the bottom drag mold pattern box.
18. The method of claim 12 further comprising the step of separating the top drag mold pattern box and the bottom drag mold pattern box.
19. A method of fabricating a mold for making a casting comprising the step of fabricating a cope mold and a drag mold, the cope mold having a cope mold wall thickness profile, the drag mold having a drag mold wall thickness profile, and joining the cope mold and drag mold to form a cavity.
20. The method of claim 19 wherein the step of fabricating the cope mold includes a top cope mold pattern box and a bottom cope mold pattern box, the bottom cope mold pattern box containing a pattern for shaping the casting, and the top cope mold pattern box containing a pattern having the cope mold wall thickness profile.
21. The method of claim 20 wherein the top cope mold pattern box has at least one blow tube opening.
22. The method of claim 21 wherein the at least one blow tube opening accommodates at least one tamper pin, the tamper pin being hollow and having an opening and a tip vent.
23. The method of claim 20 wherein the top cope mold pattern box and bottom cope mold pattern box are joined to form a cavity.
24. The method of claim 23 further comprising the step of blowing sand into the cavity formed by joining the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box.
25. The method of claim 24 further comprising the step of venting curing gas into the sand in the cavity formed by joining the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box.
26. The method of claim 25 further comprising the step of separating the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box.
27. The method of claim 19 wherein the step of fabricating the drag mold includes a top drag mold pattern box and a bottom drag mold pattern box, the bottom drag mold pattern box containing a pattern for shaping the casting, and the top drag mold pattern box containing a pattern having the drag mold wall thickness profile.
28. The method of claim 27 wherein the top drag mold pattern box includes at least one blow tube opening.
29. The method of claim 28 wherein the at least one blow tube opening accommodates at least one tamper pin, the tamper pin being hollow and having and opening and a tip vent.
30. The method of claim 27 wherein the top drag mold pattern box and bottom drag mold pattern box are joined to form a cavity.
31. The method of claim 30 further comprising the step of blowing sand into the cavity formed by joining the top drag mold pattern box and the bottom drag mold pattern box.
32. The method of claim 31 further comprising the step of venting curing gas into the sand in the cavity formed by joining the top drag mold pattern box and the bottom drag mold pattern box.
33. The method of claim 32 further comprising the step of separating the top drag mold pattern box and the bottom drag mold pattern box.
34. A method for casting a metal product comprising the steps of:
pouring molten metal into a mold, the mold including mold sand having a binder, the mold having a cavity in the mold sand to receive the molten metal; and
providing the mold with a mold wall thickness profile sufficient to maintain mold sand binder integrity at least until the molten metal forms an outer skin.
35. A method for casting a metal product comprising the steps of:
fabricating a mold from mold sand, the mold having a mold wall thickness profile;
pouring molten metal into the mold; and
cooling the molten metal.
36. The method of claim 35, wherein the mold wall thickness profile is optimized to thermally reclaim the mold sand.
37. A mold for making a metal casting, the mold comprising a mold wall thickness profile.
38. The mold of claim 37 wherein the mold wall thickness profile includes a cope mold wall thickness profile and a drag mold wall thickness profile.
39. The mold of claim 37 wherein the mold wall thickness profile is comprised of mold sand, the mold sand including a binder, the binder having a strength, and wherein the mold wall thickness profile is optimized to maintain mold sand binder strength at least until the molten metal forms an outer skin.
40. The method of claim 35 wherein the mold is made of mold sand, the mold sand including a binder, and during the step of cooling the molten metal the mold sand binder reaches a break down temperature.
41. The method of claim 40 wherein at least 70% of the mold sand binder reaches a break down temperature.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Many manufactured products are cast from steel or other metals, including iron and aluminum. Cast products range from automobile engines, jet engines, golf club heads, valves, and sewer covers, to railcar parts including sideframes, bolsters, couplers, knuckles, and countless other products. Castings are made in a mold. Typically, the mold has a top or cope section and a bottom or drag section. The cope and drag sections of the mold are each contained in a flask. A pattern is placed over one end of each flask and sand is rammed over the pattern, thereby compacting the sand around the pattern. Sand is rammed into the flask until the flask is filled with sand. The pattern is then removed leaving an impression of the casting's external surfaces in the compacted cope and drag section mold sand.

[0002] Many castings have hollow sections. The hollow sections are formed with cores. Cores define the hollow sections' internal surfaces, and may define some external surfaces of the casting. Cores are also typically made from sand. The sand may contain a binding agent to maintain the core's integrity while handling the core during the casting process. Typical binding agents include phenolic resin, polyurethane, and sodium silicate.

[0003] Cores are made in core boxes. The core box includes a drag box and a cope box. Cores can be produced manually or with automated core making equipment such as a core blower. To make a core with a core blower, the cope and drag boxes are fastened together, and the core box placed on the core blower. Tooling is required to fit the core box to the core blower.

[0004] The core blower produces cores by blowing sand into the core box. The core blower typically uses sand containing a binding agent. After sand fills the core box, the core blower injects curing gas into the sand to cure the core. The cope and drag boxes are then separated leaving the core.

[0005] Once made, the cores are placed in the bottom or drag mold. After the cores are placed in the drag mold, the cope mold is placed on top of the drag, and the cope and drag are fastened together. Molten metal is poured into the mold and allowed to cool, thus hardening the metal. The casting is then removed from the mold and the sand is shaken out. The casting is then typically heat treated, machined, and finished.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention provides a casting method including the steps of analyzing the stresses in the mold sand without temperature effects, obtaining a thermal distribution of mold sand for a casting, and determining a mold wall thickness profile based at least partially on the mold sand thermal distribution.

[0007] In another aspect, the present invention includes a method of fabricating a mold for making a casting having the step of fabricating a cope mold and a drag mold, the cope mold having a cope mold wall thickness profile, the drag mold having a drag mold wall thickness profile, and joining the cope mold and drag mold to form a cavity.

[0008] In a further aspect, the present invention includes a method for casting a metal product including the steps of fabricating a mold from mold sand, the mold having a mold thickness profile, pouring molten metal into the mold, and cooling the molten metal. In another aspect, a mold for making a metal casting, a mold including a mold wall thickness profile is provided.

[0009] The casting method of the present invention provides uniform mold density throughout the entire mold. It also provides a mold that uses a great deal less sand than conventional molds. Moreover, the mold is up to 20 times stronger than prior art methods. Casting dimensional control is also dramatically increased. Further, approximately 75-95% of the sand is naturally thermally reclaimed, thereby eliminating costly sand reclamation equipment. Mold making productivity is also increased. Molds may be made at a rate of 60 per hour as opposed to the 20 per hour rate of some prior art methods. Additional features and advantages of the present invention are described in, and will be apparent from, the following Detailed Description of the Invention and the figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0010]FIG. 1 is a schematic showing a prior art casting mold.

[0011]FIG. 2 is a schematic showing the casting mold of an embodiment of the present invention.

[0012]FIG. 3 is a schematic showing the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box of an embodiment of the present invention.

[0013]FIG. 4 is a schematic showing the top cope mold pattern box and the bottom cope mold pattern box joined together in an embodiment of the present invention.

[0014]FIG. 5 is a schematic showing the top cope mold pattern box and bottom cope mold pattern box joined together with a sand chamber and blow tubes in an embodiment of the present invention.

[0015]FIG. 6 is a schematic showing mold sand after it has been blown into the cavity formed by the top cope mold pattern box and bottom cope mold pattern box in an embodiment of the present invention.

[0016]FIG. 7 is a schematic showing the cope mold being cured in an embodiment of the present invention.

[0017]FIG. 8 is a schematic of the top cope mold, top cope mold pattern box, and bottom cope mold pattern box of an embodiment of the present invention.

[0018]FIG. 9 is a schematic of the top drag mold, top drag mold pattern box, and bottom drag mold pattern box of an embodiment of the present invention.

[0019]FIG. 10 is a schematic showing the cavity of the cope mold and drag mold filled with molten metal in an embodiment of the present invention.

[0020]FIG. 11 is a schematic showing a metal casting made in accord with an embodiment of the present invention.

[0021]FIG. 12 is a three dimensional temperature distribution of a casting.

[0022]FIG. 13 is a three dimensional stress distribution of a casting.

[0023]FIG. 14 is a multiplanar cross-sectional view of a mold made in accord with an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0024]FIG. 1 is a schematic of a prior art mold 10 used to make a metal casting 11 (FIG. 11). The prior art mold 10 consists of a top flask 12 and a bottom flask 14. The top flask 12 and bottom flask 14 contain a cope mold 16 and drag mold 18, respectively. To make the mold 10, the cope mold 16 is placed on top of the drag mold 18. The cope mold 16 is fastened to the drag mold 18 by clamps, weights, or any suitable fasteners.

[0025] The cope mold 16 and drag mold 18 are made of mold sand 20. The mold sand 20 is typically made of silica sand. The silica sand is usually coated with a mixture of bentonite clay and water. To make the cope mold 16, a pattern (not shown) is placed at one end of the top flask 12. The pattern forms the top external surface 22 of the casting 11. The mold sand 20 is rammed either by hand or with a suitable machine over the pattern. A sand slinger is typically used with larger patterns. The pattern has also been squeezed into the mold sand 20 in a machine such as a jolt-squeeze molding machine. The mold sand 20 is thereby compacted within the top flask 12. The mold sand 20 fills the top flask 12.

[0026] After ramming, the pattern is removed from the top flask 12, and an impression corresponding to the top external surface 22 of the casting 11 left in the mold sand 20 of the cope mold 16. The drag mold 18 is made in similar fashion, leaving an impression corresponding to the bottom external surface 24 of the casting 11 in the mold sand 20 of the drag mold 18.

[0027] When the cope mold 16 is placed on the drag mold 18, a cavity 25 is formed. The cavity 25 is filled with molten metal to form the casting 11. There are often hollow portions (not shown) in a casting 11. These hollow portions are formed by cores (not shown) placed in the drag mold 18. As will be understood by those skilled in the art, cores define the hollow sections' internal surfaces, and may define some external surfaces of the casting. Cores are typically made from sand. The sand may contain a binding agent to maintain the core's integrity while handling the core and during the casting process. Typical binders include phenolic resin, polyurethane, and sodium silicate. A popular core sand binder system is Ashland Inc.'s IsocureŽ binder system.

[0028]FIG. 2 shows a mold 26 made in accord with the method an embodiment of the present invention. The mold 26 includes a cope mold 28 and a drag mold 30. The cope mold 28 has a cope mold wall 29, and the drag mold 30 has a drag mold wall 31. The cope mold 28 rests atop the drag mold 30. The cope mold 28 and drag mold 30 are fastened together by clamps, adhesives, weights, or any suitable means. When fastened, the cope mold 28 and drag mold 30 form a cavity 33. Molten metal is poured into the cavity 33 to form the casting 11. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the casting 11 may include hollow sections. The hollow sections may be formed with cores.

[0029] An internal surface 32 of the cope mold 28 defines the top external surface 34 of the casting 11 (FIG. 11). An external surface 36 of the cope mold 28 defines a cope mold wall thickness profile 38 as described below. An internal surface 40 of the drag mold 30 defines the bottom external surface 42 of the casting 11 (FIG. 11). An external surface 44 of the drag mold 30 defines a drag mold wall thickness profile 46 as described below. The cope mold wall thickness profile 38 and drag mold wall thickness profile 46 combined form a mold wall thickness profile 47. The cope mold wall thickness profile 38 forms the top half, and the drag mold wall thickness profile 46 forms the bottom half of the mold wall thickness profile 47. The cope mold 28 and drag mold 30 are preferably formed from a mold sand 49 containing a binder system. The preferred binder system is a gas cured phenolic urethane system such as Ashland Inc.'s IsocureŽ system, but any suitable binder system may be used. The mold 26 of the present invention has wall thickness profiles 38 and 46 that require much less mold sand than the prior art mold of FIG. 1.

[0030] The mold sand 49 is a heat insulating material. Thus, heat does not progress quickly through the mold sand 49. A short time after pouring molten metal into cavity 33 of the mold 26, generally on the order of three minutes depending on the casting 11, an outer skin of solidified metal has formed on essentially all of the casting 11. Once the outer solidified metal skin is formed, the outer skin holds in the molten metal to prevent molten metal from running through the mold sand 49. A shell of bonded mold sand 49 must encase the casting 11 until the outer skin has formed.

[0031]FIG. 14 shows an example mold 80 for a railcar knuckle casting made in accord with an embodiment of the present invention. The mold 80 has a mold wall thickness profile 47. To create the cope mold wall thickness profile 38 and drag mold wall thickness profile 46, the mold wall thickness profile 47 is parted at a determined plane depending on the geometry of the casting. The mold wall thickness profile 47, and thus the cope and drag mold wall thickness profiles 38 and 46, are optimized to use only enough mold sand 49 to provide sufficient mold sand thickness and strength to encase the molten metal as it cools until the outer skin of solidified metal has formed on the liquid metal. Depending on casting metal thickness and other variables, the solidified molten metal skin forms at different times throughout the casting. Thus, as shown in FIG. 14, the mold 80 is thicker in certain areas and thinner in others. The resulting varying thickness in the mold 80 forms the mold wall thickness profile 47.

[0032] The predominant variable in determining the mold wall thickness profile 47 is the rate at which the mold sand 49 binder breaks down upon exposure to the elevated temperatures experienced in casting using molten metal. For the IsocureŽ binder system, the binder in the mold sand 49 loses its strength after it has reached approximately 500° C. for about six minutes. 500° C. is the recognized industry temperature value at which the bonded sand loses its strength. Molten steel is typically poured into the mold 26 at approximately 1,565° C. to 1,600° C. The solidification temperature of steel is approximately 1,425° C. As the molten steel is poured into the mold 26, heat from the molten metal is transferred into the mold sand 49, thus reducing the molten metal temperature at surfaces which contact the mold sand 49. This temperature reduction causes the metal to quickly form the solidified outer skin where it contacts the mold 26. For a majority of the castings under consideration for this method, the outer skin typically begins forming within a thirty second to three minute time interval after pouring. However, in some casting hot spots, it may take 10 minutes or more for the skin to form. When the mold sand 49 containing binder closest to the casting 11 reaches its binder break down temperature, there must be sufficient mold sand 49 behind the broken down mold sand to encase the casting 11 until the outer skin forms. The mold sand 49 which has been broken down does not move due to hydrostatic pressure from metal against the remaining strong mold sand 49.

[0033] Other factors affecting the mold wall thickness profile 47 include casting geometry, the type of metal being cast, i.e., aluminum, steel, or iron, and the temperature at which the molten metal is poured into the mold 26, the casting wall thickness, and the volume of the casting 11. The rate at which the sand breaks down and loses its strength also increases with increasing sand temperature. The thicker the casting in certain areas, the more heat is created in those areas, thus requiring additional mold sand 49 to ensure sufficient mold sand thickness and strength to encase the casting in the mold before break down of the mold sand binder in those areas. The higher the molten metal temperature, greater heat energy enters the sand, thus breaking the sand binder down more quickly. Thus, more mold sand 49 is needed to withstand the temperature and resultant heat transfer through the mold walls 29 and 31.

[0034] The mold wall thickness profile 47, and cope mold and drag mold wall thickness profiles 38 and 46 are preferably determined as follows. The following description assumes the use of the preferred IsocureŽ binder system. A preliminary finite element stress analysis without temperature effects is performed on a casting in which a mostly uniform mold sand thickness profile such as one inch is applied. The design goal of this analysis is to determine minimum mold wall thickness required to encase the metal during filling and solidification without temperature effects. This minimum wall thickness must at least remain below the binder breakdown temparature of 500° C. and encase the liquid metal until the solidified metal skin has formed. Two stresses are typically examined: (1) the stress due to the pressure of the liquid metal on the mold sand after the mold cavity has been filled with liquid metal; and (2) the maximum pressure exerted on the mold sand when the mold cavity is being filled with liquid metal. The design goal for the analysis is determining minimal wall thickness such that there is a stress safety factor of four when comparing the actual stresses in the sand to the known maximum tensile and compressive yield strengths of the bonded sand. Bonded mold sand has a known strength available from the binder manufacturer.

[0035] A typical stress distribution to determine mold wall thickness required to encase the metal during filling and solidification without temperature effects is shown in FIG. 13. FIG. 13 shows a mold wall thickness that is one inch in most areas. The stress distribution for this load case shows stresses in the mold sand at any particular point. In FIG. 13, the stress is represented by Von Mises stress. For any particular point in the mold there is an x, y, and z direction stress component. The Von Mises stress is an effective stress that combines the directional stresses into a non-directional scalar value that represents the overall stress status at any one particular point. FIG. 13 shows maximum tensile stresses in the 20 to 30 psi range. The tensile strength of the bonded sand is approximately 220 psi. For this load case, the wall thickness profile provides for stress safety of approximately seven to ten. Since the stress safety fact goal is only four, the wall thickness may be substantially reduced for this load case.

[0036] Once the minimum mold wall thickness without temperature effects is determined, a preliminary mold wall thickness profile 47 considering temperature effects is developed. One skilled in the art will recognize that certain casting features raise the temperature of the mold sand 49 in areas adjacent to such features. For example, where casting surfaces meet at corners, the temperature of the casting and the sand will be greater in that area. Thus, the mold 80 will have to be thicker in such areas. Where plate-like features exist in the casting, the mold 80 will need to be less thick.

[0037] After arriving upon a preliminary sand mold wall thickness, a time/temperature analysis 81 is performed on the mold sand 49 during the cavity 33 filling and solidification process. The goal for the analysis is to develop a mold wall thickness profile such that a layer of sand with sufficient strength is present throughout the entire casting solidification process to contain the liquid metal until a soldified metal skin has formed. This layer of sand is to have a thickness at least equal to the minimal mold wall thickness determined from the stress analysis. The layer of sand must also be at least below the binder break down temperature of 500° C. Time/temperature data for the mold sand 49 and the casting is compared to the mold sand strength/temperature data for the binder system used. The strength/temperature data is proprietary to the binder manufacturer. To obtain such data for the preferred IsocureŽ binder system, contact Ashland Inc.

[0038] An example time/temperature analysis 81 is shown in FIG. 12. Such an analysis is performed for every casting. FIG. 12 shows a temperature distribution for the railroad knuckle casting whose mold 80 is shown in FIG. 14 at approximately three minutes after the molten metal has been poured into the mold 80. After three minutes the outer skin of the knuckle casting has solidified. As can be seen in FIG. 12, the temperature of the mold sand 49 at reference numeral 82 exceeds 700° C. Thus, the mold sand 49 is such areas will have surpassed the mold sand binder break down temperature. Such mold sand 49 is held in place by the hydrostatic pressure of the molten metal against the remaining mold sand 84.

[0039] At reference numeral 86 of FIG. 12, the mold sand 49 has reached or neared the recognized binder break down temperature of 500° C. The mold 80 must be thicker at this point than reference numeral 88 because the temperature of the mold sand 49 has reached the binder break down temperature further from the casting 11. If the mold sand 49 is found by the temperature analysis to exceed the break down temperature throughout the mold sand, the thickness must be increased at such area. If the temperature distribution suggests that excess mold 80 thickness exists at any point, the thickness may be decreased. The sand thickness may be decreased to a value equal to or greater than the minimum mold wall thickness value that was determined from the stress analysis. Decreasing the mold 80 thickness to that only required to encase the casting 11 also permits thermal reclamation of the mold sand 49 as described below. This process is repeated until an optimum mold wall thickness profile 47 has been determined for the particular casting 11. Each casting 11 will require a separate time/temperature analysis and comparison to the sand strength/time data.

[0040]FIGS. 3 through 7 schematically illustrate the preferred method by which the cope mold 28 is made after the desired wall thickness is determined. A top cope mold pattern box 48 and bottom cope mold pattern box 50 are placed within a mold machine (not shown). The mold machine is a core blowing machine that is well-known in the art adapted to fit the tope cope mold pattern box 48 and bottom cope mold pattern box 50. Such core blowing machines include those manufactured by Equipment Merchants International, Laempe, and others. The top cope mold pattern box 48 is placed on top of the bottom cope mold pattern box 50. The top cope mold pattern box 48 and bottom cope mold pattern box 50 are preferably clamped together within the machine to form a cavity 52. The cavity 52 will accommodate mold sand 54 (FIG. 4.) The cavity 52 is in the shape of the cope mold 28 such that the mold sand 54 will form the cope mold 28.

[0041] The top cope mold pattern box 48 has blow tube openings 56 that communicate with the cavity 52. The mold machine includes a mold sand chamber 58 that communicates with blow tubes 60 (FIG. 5). The blow tubes 60 are attached to a blow tube plate (not shown). The blow tube plate is attached to the underside of the mold sand chamber 58. The blow tube plate has a corresponding hole for each blow tube 60.

[0042] The mold sand chamber 58 is filled with mold sand 49. The mold sand 49 is preferably mixed with a binder system. Any suitable binder systems will work. The preferred binder system is Ashland Inc.'s IsocureŽ system.

[0043] The blow tubes 60 are inserted into the blow tube openings 56 in the top cope mold pattern box 48. The mold sand chamber 58 is pressurized so mold sand 49 from the mold sand chamber 58 is blown into the cavity 52 until the cavity 52 is filled with mold sand 49 (FIG. 6). The blow tube openings 56 and blow tubes 60 must be positioned such that the cavity 52 is completely filled with mold sand 49. After the mold sand 49 has filled the cavity 52, the blow tubes 60 are removed from the blow tube openings 56. Some residual mold sand 49 may be left in the blow tube openings 56.

[0044] After the mold sand 49 is blown into the cavity 52, a gas manifold 62 is attached to the top cope mold pattern box 48 (FIG. 7). The gas manifold 62 has a tamper plate 64 to which tamper pins 66 are attached. It is preferred that each tamper pin 66 be hollow and have an have an opening (not shown) and a vent (not shown) at its end 68 distal to the tamper plate 64. The hollow tamper pins 66 are inserted into the blow tube openings 56. The tamper pines 66 compact the residual sand that is left in the blow openings to the desired mold shape profile and dimension. The gas manifold 62 is pressurized with a curing gas 70. The curing gas 70 acts as a catalyst to initiate curing the binder in the mold sand 49. Different binder systems may require different curing gases. For the preferred IsocureŽ binder system, an amine gas is preferred.

[0045] The top cope mold pattern box 48 may also have vents for curing gas 70 to pass through the gas manifold 62 into the mold sand 49. In the preferred embodiment, the curing gas 70 passes through both the hollow tamper pins 66 and the top cope mold pattern box vents into the mold sand 49. Curing gas 70 is passed through the mold sand 49 until the mold sand 49 is adequately bonded. The time curing gas 70 is passed through the mold sand 49 depends on the thickness, volume of sand, and porosity of the sand. The bottom cope mold pattern box 50 is vented to provide an outlet for the curing gas 70.

[0046] After curing the tamper pins 66 are removed from the top cope mold pattern box 48. The top cope mold pattern box 48 and bottom cope mold pattern box 50 are separated, and the cope mold 28 is removed and ready to be used (FIG. 8). The external surface 36 of the cope mold 28 has a cope mold thickness profile 38 that corresponds to the determined optimum cope mold thickness profile by the manner previously described.

[0047] The drag mold 30 is made in a similar manner to the cope mold 28 (FIG. 9). A top drag mold pattern box 72 and bottom drag mold pattern box 74 are placed within the mold machine. The drag mold 30 can be made in the same mold machine as the cope mold 28, or on a different mold machine. It will be described here as the same mold machine. The top drag mold pattern box 72 is placed on top of the bottom drag mold pattern box 74. The top drag mold pattern box 72 and bottom drag mold pattern box 74 are clamped together within the mold machine to form a cavity. The cavity accommodates the mold sand 49 and is in the shape of the drag mold 30 such that the mold sand 49 will form the drag mold 30.

[0048] Like the top cope mold pattern box 48, the top drag mold pattern box 72 has blow tube openings 76 that communicate with the cavity. The mold machine cooperates with the mold sand chamber 58 that communicates with blow tubes 60. The blow tubes 60 are attached to a blow tube plate. The blow tube plate is attached to the underside of the mold sand chamber 58. The blow tube plate has a corresponding hole for each blow tube 60.

[0049] The mold sand chamber 58 is filled with mold sand 49. The mold sand 49 is preferably mixed with a binder system. The blow tubes 60 are inserted into the blow tube openings 76 in the top drag mold pattern box 72. The mold sand chamber 58 is pressurized so mold sand 49 from the mold sand chamber 58 is blown into the cavity until is filled with mold sand 49. The blow tube openings 76 and blow tubes 60 must be positioned such that the cavity is completely filled with mold sand 49. After the mold sand 49 has filled the cavity, the blow tubes 60 are removed from the blow tube openings 76. Some residual mold sand 49 may be left in the blow tube openings 76.

[0050] After the mold sand 49 is blown into the cavity, a gas manifold 62 is attached to the top drag mold pattern box 72. The gas manifold 62 has a tamper plate 64 to which tamper pins 66 are attached. It is preferred that each tamper pin 66 is hollow and has an opening (not shown) and a vent (not shown) at its end 68 distal to the tamper plate 64. The hollow tamper pins 66 are inserted into the blow tube openings 76. The tamper pins 66 compact the residual sand that is left in the blow tube openings 76 to the desired mold shape profile and dimension. The gas manifold 62 is pressurized with a curing gas 70. The curing gas 70 acts as a catalyst to initiate curing the binder in the mold sand 49.

[0051] The top drag mold pattern box 72 may also have vents for curing gas to pass through from the gas manifold 62 into the mold sand 49. The preferred embodiment is where the curing gas 70 passes through both the hollow tamper pins 66 and the top cope mold pattern box vents into the mold sand 49. Curing gas 70 is passed through the mold sand 49 until the mold sand 49 is adequately bonded. The time curing gas 70 is passed through the mold sand 49 depends on the thickness, volume of sand, and porosity of the sand. The bottom drag mold pattern box 74 is vented to provide an outlet for the curing gas 70.

[0052] After curing the tamper pins 66 are removed from the top drag mold pattern box 72. The top drag mold pattern box 72 and bottom drag mold pattern box 74 are separated, and the drag mold 30 is removed and ready to be used (FIG. 9). The external surface 44 of the drag mold 30 has a drag mold thickness profile 46 that corresponds to the determined optimum drag mold thickness profile by the manner previously described.

[0053] To make a casting, the cope mold 28 is placed on top of the drag mold 30 forming a cavity 25 (FIG. 2). Molten metal 78 is poured into the cavity 25. The molten metal 78 is allowed to cool. The sand is removed leaving the metal casting 11. The metal casting 11 is ready for further processing such as heat treating, grinding, and finishing.

[0054] After the sand is removed from the casting, there are both economical and environmental advantages to reclaiming the sand and using it again to either make molds or cores. To effectively use the sand again to make molds or cores, the foundry needs to remove a majority of the binder that is left in the sand. In the past, the reclamation process required post-processing equipment to remove a majority of the binder that is left in the sand used to make a mold. The present invention eliminates the need for post-processing equipment to remove the majority of the residual binder that was used in the mold.

[0055] Preferably, either while the molten metal 78 is poured into the cavity 25, or after immediately pouring, the mold is placed on a tray. The tray can consist of a plate having upwardly extending flanges around its ends. Instead of a plate, a screen may also be used. After the mold has cooled sufficiently, heat from the molten metal shall have transferred to the sand and binder causing the binder to break down through essentially all of the sand. The mold wall thickness profile 47, and hence the cope mold wall thickness profile 38 and drag mold wall thickness profile 46, is determined to permit optimum thermal reclamation. While enough sand must be initially be present to prevent premature break down of the binder before the outer skin of the casting 11 forms, it must also be optimized such that nearly all of the mold sand 49 binder has reached its break down temperature after sufficient cooling of the molten metal. At his point, the mold sand 49 should essentially be falling off of the casting and onto the plate or screen, all of the binder having reached its burnout temperature of approximately 500° C. As the mold sand heats up while the casting cools, more and more of the mold sand binder will reach its burnout temperature. This will cause the sand to essentially flake away and fall from the casting. This eliminates the need for mechanical and thermal sand reclamation. To remover remaining sand, the plate or screen is placed on a shaker or vibrator to remove the residual sand on the casting. The sand will fall or be placed on a conveyor to be re-used.

[0056] The method of the present invention also facilitates approximately 75-95% of the sand is naturally reclaimed during the solidification process. The prior art method requires thermal reclamation equipment such as that sold by Gudgeon Thermfire International Inc or Castec, Inc. Thermal reclamation equipment consists essentially of an oven which heats the sand containing binder until the binder burns out leaving unbound sand. A conveyor typically brings the sand. A sand crusher was also sometimes used to crush the bound sand to more easily facilitate transport on the conveyor and heating.

[0057] The method of the present invention results in improved mold cycle times. Mold cycle times are the amount of time required used to make a mold. A mold is more quickly made with bonded sand on a blowing machine than with a sand rammer.

[0058] Moreover, much less and is used in the method of the present invention. The prior art method required filling the flask with mold sand. The present invention's method only requires a few inches thick wall of bound mold sand. Molds made using the method of the present invention are also up to twenty times stronger than green sand molds. Moroever, dimensional control is much improved over prior art methods.

[0059] It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8137607 *Nov 7, 2006Mar 20, 2012Ford Motor CompanyProcess for making reusable tooling
US20130221192 *Feb 29, 2012Aug 29, 2013Ford Motor CompanyInterchangeable mold inserts
EP1832358A1 *Feb 27, 2007Sep 12, 2007Mazda Motor CorporationCasting mold making method and casting mold making system
EP1832360A1 *Feb 27, 2007Sep 12, 2007Mazda Motor CorporationCasting mold making system
Classifications
U.S. Classification164/4.1, 164/349
International ClassificationB22C13/08
Cooperative ClassificationB22C13/08
European ClassificationB22C13/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 5, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS THE SUCCESSOR COLLATERAL
Free format text: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SECURITY INTEREST ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC.,AS THE RESIGNING COLLATERAL AGENT (AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST OF CITICORP USA, INC.);REEL/FRAME:023471/0036
Effective date: 20090930
Oct 15, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: CITICORP USA, INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:AMSTED INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED;BALTIMORE AIRCOIL COMPANY, INC.;VARLEN CORPORATION;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:014580/0116
Effective date: 20030930
Oct 1, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: MERIDIAN RAIL INFORMATION SYSTEM CORP., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SMITH, DOUGLAS W.;REEL/FRAME:013137/0031
Effective date: 20020830