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Engineering Castings

Iron, in its many forms, often alloyed with other metals and materials has been solving engineering design problems for centuries. The metal became so important that a whole period of history was named after it, The Iron Age, as the use of wrought and forged iron and steel superseded the use of bronze. 

Engineering Castings & Engineering Cast Iron

All of this early use was based around two forms of iron, wrought iron and forged steel. Wrought iron is a very pure form of iron, commonly 99.9% Fe, which can be heated and forged into shape. Forged steel is basically wrought iron with carbon and silicon added at small percentages. This gives a metal that can still be forged whilst hot, but can achieve much greater hardness and strength, particularly when cooled quickly, usually in water or oil.

This opened up whole new areas for use often based around the ability of the harder steel to be sharpened and hold its cutting edge, such as knives and sword blades and in the 13th and 14th centuries, gun barrels.

Cast Iron Production

Little changed in the production and use of forged iron and steel until the industrial revolution. One of the problems up to that point was the difficulty in controlling the amount of carbon and silicon in the iron to give a reproducible and dependable analysis and to be able to get iron hot enough to melt it and cast it. As analytical methods and production process improved, the reliability of the material did so as well. It was also discovered that higher levels of carbon and silicon gave a metal that was very fluid when molten that could be used to cast intricate and complex shapes. This metal was cast iron. It revolutionised the use of iron as an engineering and structural material. Where previously many pieces of wrought iron or forged steel had had to be joined together to form the finished component, cast iron, because of the ability to cast it into almost any shape, could be used to make the component in one piece. This led to savings in weight and production time benefiting Engineering Castings & Engineering Cast Iron applications.

Cast iron became so widespread that it became the metal of choice for the Victorian engineers where a cast component was required that didn’t need the properties of brass or bronze. It was also far cheaper to produce; the basic raw materials of coal, iron ore and water power all being available in Great Britain. Call Durham Foundry on0114 249 4977 to discuss your Engineering Castings & Engineering Cast Iron project.

Iron Castings at Durham Foundry

At Durham Foundry we have been producing engineering iron castings for over a hundred years. As well as castings for the engineering market, our customer base also covers the decorative, architectural and artistic sectors and we can supply castings from one off up to small to medium batch production using Alkali Phenolic resin bonded sands. Our workforce of highly skilled moulders can work from complex loose pattern equipment, particularly where low volumes are required, whilst our moulding line is suited for batch production. Our long trading history, coupled with an investment programme that has enabled us to keep up with modern production methods and environmental legislation has meant that we have been involved with many engineering projects and continue to be so. All our castings are produced to a current ISO material specification along with any further testing which a customer may require.

Our diverse customer base has also given us experience in a wide range of applications for iron castings , including pumps and valves, forges, foundries and rolling mills, automotive and aerospace, a wide range of OEM’s, quarries and mines, railways and rolling stock, local authorities and artists and sculptors. We also have long term trading relationships with local pattern makers, machine shops and surface finishers which enable us to quote for the complete supply of machined and painted castings.

Engineering Applications

The use of cast iron in engineering castings has continued to this day and new applications have been found with the introduction of ductile cast iron in the late 50’s and, more recently, alloyed irons, usually with nickel and/or chrome, to give high wear resistance and the ability to operate in aggressive environments and at elevated temperatures. The newer forms of engineering cast iron, particularly ductile iron, have led to castings which would have previously been made from cast steel, a welded fabrication or a forging. New applications are being found all the time and at Durham Foundry we can advise on the suitability of a particular grade for a given application.

Please browse our website for more information about Durham Foundry and our ability to manufacture Engineering Castings & Engineering Cast Iron and then contact us on 0114 249 4977 or e-mail us on castings@durhamfoundry.com.

Need advice on your iron castings?

Get In Touch

Durham Foundry are a new supplier for us. The relationship has been overwhelmingly positive.

They have a desire to solve problems and deliver quality castings on time. We look forward to working with them for years to come.

Tim Dockerty

Director - SVR&D Ltd