Continued customer demand for lighter casting weights point to significant market opportunities for high strength, thin-wall steel castings in automotive applications and thinner wall castings for a wide variety of other applications. Further replacement of traditional steel component designs with lighter weight cast iron or cast aluminum components can be expected unless thinner section steel casting capabilities can be developed. Although the development of the FM Process by Pont-a-Mousson in France in the mid 1980s and the development of the Hitchiner Process in the U.S. in the 1990s have been driven by wall thickness reduction, the capabilities of conventional, low cost sand casting processes of making thin wall steel castings has not been fully explored.
Research carried out at the Pennsylvania State University is to develop a fundamental understanding of the key technologies needed to develop lighter weight, thinner section steel castings. The focus is toward an understanding of technologies and practices that will enhance mold \cavity filling. The necessary thin section practices will be identified and/or developed from mold making to melting and pouring. As a result of this cooperative industry/university research program, a comprehensive science and practice-based understanding of thinner wall steel casting will be demonstrated.