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Cores Aren’t the Be-All in Complex Engineering

It’s often the highly-cored castings that gain the most interest. The complex passageways they produce in a part are obvious signs of engineering ingenuity and showcase the shaping capability of the casting process. But a tour through Waukesha Foundry, a producer of castings in a myriad of sizes, processes and alloys, reminded us there is more to high value engineering than cores.

While Waukesha uses cores in many of its parts, its true engineering know-how is proven through matching innovative casting methods with specialty alloys for applications that require perfection—and the testing to prove it. The company offers four different casting processes—nobake, shell, Replicast, which is a kind of lost foam, and patternless molding, in which robots machine a casting’s pattern directly into the mold—and pours 200 different alloys. Six metallurgical engineers are on staff.

Their efforts to go after the hardest-to-make parts for industries with the highest standards have led to some fascinating jobs, from military to aerospace and petrochemical. Some of its castings’ end-uses seem to come straight out of science fiction. Waukesha has gone after these markets, knowing their standards are tough. That’s the niche it has carved for itself.

What value are you getting from your castings? It doesn’t have to be complex cores, specialty alloys, or niche casting methods. It may be prototyping, automation, process control, very little scrap, better casting yields, short lead times, off-shore partnering, and a number of other factors. Look beyond the cores, or whatever else signals to you high value engineering, and look for the many other signs a metalcasting supplier has the engineering gumption to improve your bottom line.