The Castings Group of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has unveiled the largest ceramic shell titanium casting ever created from a single pour in Europe.
The casting is a milestone test piece and will become a showcase for development of the AMRCâ€™s titanium casting facility which became operational earlier this year.
The large-scale, near net shape casting is an industrial centrifugal pump housing, used for highly corrosive applications in the chemical and petrochemical sectors. It was poured from a 680kg melt with a 200kg finished part weight.
AMRC Castingsâ€™ General Manager, Richard Cook, said: â€œThis test piece is a significant step forward for us and the UK as a whole. We are the UKâ€™s only titanium melting facility and this achievement, sends a clear signal that the country is open for business for large-scale titanium casting.â€
â€œGlobal capacity for titanium castings, particularly of this size, is scarce â€“ indeed it has actually decreased in recent years, despite growing demand. There is a clear need for this kind of capability and our research and development will underpin the ability for the UK to remain competitive in a global market.â€
AMRC Castings is now working towards its goal of pouring over 1000kg of titanium for a 500kg part-weight centrispun casting by May 2018, testing the boundaries and limits of their Retech consumable electrode castings furnace.
The furnace has three interchangeable crucibles capable of melting titanium for castings weighing up to 500kg and 2000mm in diameter by 2500mm in length.
The group is already dealing with enquiries from companies wanting to exploit the technology and are currently conducting paper studies and piloting the first research projects.
Principal Metallurgist, Matt Cawood, said: â€œThe AMRC are currently engaged in several projects looking to improve capability and technology to enable more complex, higher integrity components to be designed for manufacture with improved metallurgical quality and increased dimensional accuracy.â€
â€œHaving the ability to pour large-scale castings as part of a research and development activity combined with the surrounding facility of industry-scale equipment and technical expertise is a unique offering that is drawing in many of the worldâ€™s largest users of titanium castings to work with us.â€