Master Alloys / 09.17.2021

Master Alloys in Manufacturing: Why Furnace-Ready Matters

Master Alloys in Manufacturing: Why Furnace-Ready Matters - Image

Master Alloys in Manufacturing: Why Furnace-Ready Matters

Foundries and casting houses everywhere rely on alloying agents to produce the products that people rely on every day. In fact, up to 90% of all manufactured goods rely on metal castings—whether they are used as direct components in products or serve as machine components needed in the manufacturing process. 

There are different methods that casting manufacturers use for alloying materials. Some operations have team members add base metals and an alloying agent such as magnesium or silicon when loading materials into the furnace. Others use traditional master alloys, which are base metals combined with the desired alloying agent in a semi-finished product. Master alloys are typically produced with a relatively high percentage of alloying agent and must be used in conjunction with ingots, sows, or other shapes of pure base metal to achieve the desired chemistry of the end part.

Benefits of Furnace Ready Master Alloys

Shapiro has recently introduced a new breed of master alloys to the market. They are sold in much larger quantities than traditional master alloys and are completely furnace-ready. Working with furnace-ready materials can benefit your operation in a variety of ways. 

Better Quality

Using furnace-ready master alloys can eliminate the opportunity for errors during the furnace loading process that can jeopardize the quality of your end product. Because you aren’t relying on team members to mix base metals with alloying agents, you eliminate the risk of using the wrong proportions of materials. 

In addition, when base metals and alloying agents are mixed at the furnace or when traditional master alloys are added to base metals, the materials do not melt at the same rate during heating. The variation in melt rates can create inconsistent results in the microstructure of parts and lead to inconsistencies between lots. 

Furnace-ready master alloys, however, melt consistently batch after batch, bringing you repeatable results that ensure quality from lot to lot.

Increased Throughput

Remember the consistent melt rates we just mentioned? Furnace-ready master alloys also feature better melt recovery, meaning that you see less material loss during the casting process. Better recovery leads to more parts produced per pound, which means better results for your bottom line. 

Furnace-ready master alloys also take less time to load in your furnace when compared to alternatives, helping you achieve better equipment utilization, which in turn leads to optimal throughput and lead times.

Simplified Procurement

Working with a single, furnace-ready product allows you to consolidate vendor relationships. Vendor consolidation makes procurement’s job easier and helps them spend more time focused on higher-value activities. 

In addition, alloying agents can be difficult to source depending on market conditions, so using a single furnace-ready master alloy can help reduce some of the headaches associated with tracking down and buying raw materials.

 

Labor Efficiency

Furnace-ready master alloys make operations team members’ jobs easier by reducing the amount of material handling steps required to charge a furnace. In today’s employment market, helping the team members you have accomplish more in less time is critical—most manufacturers are struggling to fill open positions and efficiency gains alleviate the pressure of being short-staffed.

 

Safety

Fewer material handling steps reduce the opportunity for team members to suffer injuries on the job. In addition, with master alloys there is no need for materials in pellet form (such as silicon), so the likelihood of spills is virtually eliminated.

 

Boost Efficiency, Quality, and Sustainability 

Shapiro’s furnace-ready master alloys are crafted from high-quality recycled materials with reliable chemistry. When you use our materials in your manufacturing process, you’ll not only realize the benefits we described above, but also reduce your organization’s carbon footprint by incorporating more recycled materials. 

Want to explore what furnace-ready master alloys can do for you? Connect with a Shapiro expert today to learn more!