If you were to trace a journey from a manufactured product to a consumer, chances are the path would have traveled at one time through a foundry. Not only do foundries produce the products we need for everyday living, but metal castings are also needed to create the machines that make the products.
Currently there are 2,100 foundries and over 200,000 employees in the United States, which produce 13 million U.S. tons of castings per year, totaling nearly $32 Billion worth of shipments.
So, just what is a foundry? A foundry is a place where castings are made from molten metal according to an end user's specifications. This basic metal distinction between foundries fall under ferrous (iron or steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, etc.)
There are several processes available to produce castings. Sand molding, where the replica of a finished piece (or pattern) is compressed with sand and binder additives to form a shape of the final part, is probably the most common form of production. The pattern is removed after the mold or impression has been formed and then the metal is introduced through a runner system to fill the cavity. The sand and the metal is then separated and the casting cleaned and finished for shipment to the customer.
The majority of castings produced in the United States are specifically engineered parts, custom designed for unique applications. Castings in general are not commodities like, for instance, bearings or fasteners, where one style might be used in many applications. Generally speaking, most castings are made to order with close tolerance levels required to meet a customer's strict requirements.
Castings have applications in virtually every capital and consumer goods. Castings are used in cars, trucks, railroads, ships, all types of machinery, air conditioners, refrigerators, lawn mowers, weight lifting, oil and gas field equipment, water works, mining and agricultural equipment. In short, castings represent a vital yet very basic aspect of our everyday lives. Recycling millions of pounds of discarded metal also allows the casting industry to one of the largest and most conscientious environmentally friendly industries in the world.
Made to order — when you want it — how you want it! This motto reflects GARTLAND FOUNDRY and its role in this fascinating industry.