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Innovation in foundry technology and solutions at GIFA 2023

GIFA and the associated technical forum provided an ideal chance to experience the latest trends and innovations in foundry technology and solutions. Covering more than 900m2 in Hall 12, the Foseco stand featured many of the company’s recent innovations for iron and steel foundries and non-ferrous foundries.



Feeding systems

Recent rises in energy and waste disposal costs are driving demand among iron and steel foundries for new feeding systems that improve process costs and casting yields, while minimising casting defects. Understanding this, Foseco presented several new developments in feeding solutions at GIFA 2023. With the development of FEEDEX* FEF, there is now a complete range of feeding products that are either fluoride emission free or fluoride free. Available in all product geometries from Foseco’s standard FEEDEX range, FEEDEX FEF is another milestone on the company’s sustainability roadmap. And, alongside KALMINEX* 2000 FF and our fluoride-free KALMINEX SD formulation, it means we now offer a complete range of fluoride-free feeding systems.

Additional highlights at GIFA 2023 included the patented FEEDEX VAK technology, specifically designed to meet the demands of more challenging castings, where neck modulus is critical to ensure casting integrity, and FEEDEX K technology, which expands spot feeding with collapsible metal core technology beyond horizontal green sand applications to provide optimum feeding of isolated sections on vertically parted moulds. Case studies demonstrating the SCK (sleeve construction kit) product range for jobbing iron and steel foundries were also on display. Where applicable, all exhibits featured casting process simulations created in the recently updated Foseco Pro Module 2.0 for MAGMASOFT. Visitors were also able to try out our FEEDER CALCULATOR tool, which provides step-by-step assistance in selecting the perfect feeder sleeve from our extensive product range.

Solutions to improve casting cleanliness

Using the latest advances in additive manufacturing, we are developing the STELEX* Optiflow3D range of filters, which feature novel filter structures that were previously impossible to implement. The range will initially be available in gyroid and Voronoi structures, and with a range of pore sizes, but development work is continuing to evaluate the filtration performance of the wide variety of structures now available, as well as their impact on casting types and alloys. STELEX Optiflow3D technology offers the opportunity to tailor filtration performance to the specific casting, including those which may not have been suitable for filtration in the past.

The HOLLOTEX* EG runner for steel casting complements the existing system used to run iron castings. Lightweight and easier to cut, this innovative solution is easier, safer, and quicker to apply than conventional refractory systems. Casting quality can thus be improved by eliminating or reducing refractory erosion and cooling during mould filling.


Several recent coating developments were on show and highlighted how we take a customer-centric approach to innovation, including:

The SEMCO* family of fast dry (FD), colour change (CC) and formaldehyde free (FF) water-based coatings and SEMCO IC coatings.

Controlling the preparation and application of coatings is the most important prerequisite for eliminating coating-related defects. Our new continuous Intelligent Coating Unit (ICU) is designed to eliminate such defects from the outset. Real-time coating density measurement ensures consistent application for shorter drying times and reduced coating consumption – while enabling significant productivity gains. And, in a world first, we will showcase the first handheld density meter that can instantly display the current density or coating in use.

TENO* PRINT is a range of refractory coatings designed to overcome the limitations of moulds and cores produced by additive manufacturing (3D printing), including lower sand compaction and surface finish. In addition, ACTICOTE* TS is an insulating coating that provides better control of solidification at lower castings weights, while maintaining excellent surface finish, free of common defects.


With growing concern over the environmental impact of fossil fuels and from petrochemical products based on phenol, much recent research has gone into exploring renewable alternatives to phenol-based organic binders. Biopolymers are one possible solution, as they possess many of the characteristics needed of foundry binders but can be obtained from renewable raw materials. For example, lignin – which is considered a promising substitution for phenol – is available as a by-product of the pulp and paper industry. A recently developed biopolymer-based binder for foundries, based on our proven ECOLOTEC* concept, was presented at GIFA 2023.

New products for the melt shop

ROTOCLENE* is a new process for producing the highest quality, inclusion-free steel for casting. We will display the whole process at our stand, with an hourly presentation to introduce the theory, practice, and benefits.

Having cleaned the steel, it is important to avoid further inclusions developing in the melt during pouring – the job of our HOLLOTEX* shroud filtration system. Combining the benefits of STELEX filters with shrouding technology, the HOLLOTEX shroud allows pouring of large castings quickly and effectively, without the turbulence that creates these oxide inclusions. The latest incarnations of the HOLLOTEX system will be on show at GIFA 2023, including demonstration of an improved and simplified method of achieving an air-tight seal.

Also on display was the new temperature sensing and analysis equipment from Vesuvius’ Sensors and Probes division. The FERROLAB* V thermal analysis system provides real-time measurement of %Ceq, %C, %Si, and the nucleation status of the iron. This provides the operator with the insight needed to take immediate corrective action, within predetermined process specification, to protect the quality of the iron. Benefits include reduced scrap rate, as well as improvements in the quality and consistency of castings.

Flow control

The company highlighted the latest flow control technologies for steel ladles and auto-pour iron applications, which save time on maintenance and repair, as well as extending life.

The VAPEX* FosFlow is an alternative nozzle system for bottom pour ladles for steel and runners/tundishes for casting iron. They also introduced two new mixes of the company’s VISO* stopper technology, which extend stopper life and/or eliminate the need for preheating. VISO stoppers are the ideal choice when using a KALTEK ladle lining, allowing foundries to reduce their environmental footprint and cut CO2 emissions.

Furnace refractory linings

A complete lining package, designed for long life and improved metal cleanliness in coreless induction furnaces melting steel grades, was on display at GIFA 2023. The portfolio consists of high-quality KELLUNDITE* lining systems, suitable for melting a wide range of steels, in combination with an optimised sintered profile that allows enough powder at the back to run the furnace safely. In addition, a complete package of long-life linings for long campaign cupolas melting iron grades was shown. The cupola portfolio consists of high-quality RAMWELL* ramming mixes and HYDRA-MAX* low cement castable lining systems, enriched with silicon carbide and graphite aggregates, to improve slag resistance.



Melt treatment

In recent years, we have added several features and technologies to our FDU and MTS automated aluminium melt treatment technologies. These advances enable foundries to gain new perspective on, and control of, their treatment process. Our SMARTT degassing software offers various programs for rotary degassing; the operator must simply define a target melt quality.

Granulated fluxes can be added through the automated and provide many advantages, such as improved melt fluidity during casting, reduced inclusions, and improved mechanical properties. Our new range of granulated fluxes includes COVERAL*, SIMODAL*, and NUCLEANT* fluxes, which cover the principal foundry operations of cleaning, drossing, modification, and grain refinement. They have been specially formulated for use in conjunction with FDU and MTS to keep smoke and fume to a minimum.

The MTS dosing mechanism uses a gravimetric load cell to ensure highest dosing precision for best metallurgical results, as well as repeatability and traceability. Shaft and rotor design are also continuously improved to offer high efficiency degassing with long service life. The resulting dross is low in aluminium, which improves material efficiency of the process for higher yield and lower costs. 

Crucibles and refractories

We continuously improve our crucible technology to provide solutions that reduce energy consumption, increase output, and improve production efficiency. Recent innovations on display at GIFA 2023 included:

  • ENERTEK* ISO crucibles, which utilise a highly-insulating, proprietary Vesuvius coating to significantly reduce heat loss and decrease energy use in induction melting or continuous casting applications.
  • DURATEK* crucibles, designed to provide extended life, especially in highly-corrosive conditions. The latest DURATEK SUPERMELT crucibles possess superior fracture toughness, high temperature strength, and oxidation resistance to ensure long life in aggressive aluminium melting operations. 

We also highlighted our refractory lining range, including ALUGARD* low-cement castables, KELLUNDITE* dry vibratable linings – ideally suited to coreless induction melting furnaces – and TRIAD no-cement castables, which contain a new aluminium ‘non-wetting’ additive that provides excellent resistance to corundum development across a wider temperature band.

Aluminium melt shop

The use of energy efficient dosing furnaces in aluminium foundries is seen by many as the best available technology today. We are now able to supply a new INSURAL* multi-part and highly insulating lining, which comes ready to install, and combines energy savings with long service life and resistance to oxide build up. Installation can be achieved in less than three days with no ongoing hydrogen issues. Due to a totally dry installation process, no sintering of the lining is necessary. Energy savings can be as high as 17 per cent.

Innovative sand core binder solution for HPDC

A key limitation of the high pressure diecasting process (HPDC) is the inability to produce complex, hollow castings, at high volume, and in a cost-effective and sustainable way. This is due to the difficulty in producing suitable cores. Standard sand cores cannot be used, as they are difficult to remove after casting and do not provide adequate surface finish. Salt cores are more suitable but are expensive to produce and present other operational limitations. In response to this challenge, we have developed the WASCO* water-soluble binder and coating, which we showcased at GIFA 2023. This innovative binder system demonstrates high bending strength and has been used successfully in both liquid and semi-solid HPDC processes, even in severe conditions. With the use of an appropriate coating, WASCO-based sand cores can exceed 1000N/cm² and are thermally resistant up to 750°C. Post-casting removal is achieved simply by flushing with water, preventing any risk of damage or crack initiation.

Methoding and coatings for aluminium foundries

The methoding area at GIFA 2023 highlighted the optimal use of foam filters, die coating, and feeding systems in sand and gravity diecasting applications. Applications were shown for aluminium and copper base castings, demonstrating excellent yield combined with improved casting quality. We also highlighted the FEEDEX NF1 range of exothermic feeders designed for both aluminium and copper applications. This sleeve material is highly exothermic, provides quick ignition, and has high strength. Due to its excellent feeding performance, manual application of exothermic powders is also avoided, reducing emissions.

The new range of DYCOTE* SAFEGUARD products were also highlighted. These long lasting, nano-ceramic coatings are designed to achieve significantly longer service life compared to traditional die coatings, leading to reduced interruptions for touch-up – and therefore increased productivity. This new die coating requires only a single spray, resulting in significant time savings and ease of operation. Multiple mixers and spray guns as in the past are no longer necessary.

Finally, new case studies that describe a filter and sleeve combination with conventional running and gating systems used in high quality, technically demanding applications were displayed. All relevant exhibits also featured simulations using the most recent version of the Foseco Pro Module for MAGMASOFT.

Contact: Paul Jeffs, Vesuvius UK Ltd – Foseco Foundry Division, Tel: +44 (0) 1827 289999, email: [email protected]

*COVERAL, NUCLEANT, ENERTEK, DURATEK, ALUGARD, TRIAD, KELLUNDITE, INSURAL, WASCO, FEEDEX, DYCOTE, FEEDEX, KALMINEX, STELEX, HOLLOTEX, SEMCO, ACTICOTE, ECOLOTEC, ROTOCLENE, VAPEX, FERROLAB, KALTEK, KELLUNDITE, VISO and HYDRA-MAX are trademarks of the Group Companies of Vesuvius plc, unregistered or registered in certain countries, in certain countries, used under license.