Streamlining the solidification process to increase efficiency and quality

The C.A. Lawton Company and Lawton Standard are always trying to find new ways to make the casting process quicker, more efficient and reaching a higher quality.

A big help in this process is some newer software by MagmaSoft, which helps our engineers in the solidification process of our castings.

We sat down with casting engineer James Lyle to discuss how we are using this model building and simulation software to help perfect our solidification process.

Lawton and MagmaSoft solidification software

“We’ve been solely using MagmaSoft for a little over three years,” said Lyle. “We’ll run a basic solidification to determine optimal riser size, gating, things of that nature.”

Lyle said Lawton is primarily using the software for onboarding new parts and for solidification purposes, but that’s definitely not the only uses. “We can get into filling simulations, we can get into adding tracer molecules within our simulations. We can add a density to a particle when we’re doing filling simulations, so we can actually predict where oxides can congregate during the casting process,” said Lyle.

Custom parametrics at several Lawton locations

Lawton started incorporating separate databases at each of our sites. Right now, we have custom parametrics built right into the software at C.A. Lawton-Minster, Temperform and Penn-Mar Castings. “With these custom parametrics, what would normally take an engineer an hour to build the model, to run the filling simulation,  now takes 5-10 minutes. It creates a full rigging, a completely designed size attached to a casting and runs a filling simulation,” said Lyle.  Lawton’s long-term goal is to bring the software to all of our sites, the next focus is setting it up and running it to The C.A. Lawton Company in De Pere.

Lyle continued “The accuracies in our simulations are pretty scary. We have some examples where we have been able to identify exactly down to within a square inch of a defect. I don’t think people understand the benefits of the software.”

Custom parametrics helping the future of foundry engineers

Not only are custom parametrics a huge benefit to the solidification process and Lawton’s companies, but it’s also a huge benefit to the future engineers coming into the business. “When they join the company, it reduces their work time tremendously,” said Lyle. He continued “Instead of having to sit down, ask how do I go about rigging this, gating this and building a model, you can do it right in MagmaSoft.” In just a handful of minutes, new engineers can be up and running, easing their learning curve when they have to jump into simulations.

The future with solidification software

“The future is very bright with this type of software at our disposal,” said Lyle. “It’s a nervous time, the industry is sometimes super busy and sometimes it becomes very slow. But the slow times are when you can really take advantage of the software, use the software, trust the software and, if used properly, you can eliminate and reduce so much scrap and guesswork right off the bat.”

Solving the mysteries of casting imperfections

The MagmaSoft solidification software has helped engineers crack the mysteries of casting defects from decades ago. “The thing that I enjoy is going after the hard-to-find parts,” said Lyle. He says he enjoys taking a part that has been troublesome for 50 years or more, actually creating a model, running solidification on it, running a filling simulation on it and pinpointing and fixing the defect.

“Those are the projects I enjoy, taking a very old casting and finding a countermeasure to a problem that has been going on for some time,” said Lyle. “When you implement it, take it to the floor and actually see the results: it machines perfectly, there’s no porosity, there’s no oxides, nothing in the castings.”

Tracer path: from custom parametrics presentation
Tracer path: from custom parametrics presentation

Contact Lawton Standard for your high-quality casting needs

As Lyle told us, the long-term goal is to get the custom parametrics at all of Lawton’s locations. If you have questions about the solidification process, the new software we are using or if you want to inquire about a quote, please contact Lawton Standard at 920-337-2470.