Frequently Asked Questions

Is the metal casting industry environmentally responsible?

The metal casting industry is the “original recycler.” Rather than use new or “virgin” materials as melt stock, nearly all foundries reuse scrap metals as their primary melting material giving new life to products that would otherwise go to landfills. In addition, foundries also use and reuse 100 million tons of sand annually in North America. Sand used to make molds and cores is continuously reused until it loses its properties that are necessary for high quality molds and cores.

Only 6% of this sand can no longer be used in the foundry process and becomes available for reuse. In fact, the metal casting industry has been an innovator in beneficially reusing spent core and molding sand. After removing binders and other materials from the sand, it is then made available for the manufacture of bricks, concrete and as construction backfill. Recycling millions of pounds of discarded metal also allows the casting industry to be one of the largest and most conscientious environmentally friendly industries in the world.

When sending a new part for quotation what is the key information needed by USC?

  • A 2D and/or 3D drawing if pattern creation is needed.
  • The actual product if previously created or the pattern/tooling.
  • Material specification including heat treatment.  ( We can recommend by learning about your product usage and requirements)
  • Quality assurance expectations.
  • Special finishing requirement.
  • Due date of quote response.

After receiving a request to quote, each request is analyzed for:

  • Tooling requirements – best suited to scope of work.
  • Quality expectations required to support technical specifications.
  • All machining features are reviewed and understood.
  • All finishing requirements are reviewed.
  • A realistic delivery date is determined.
  • Formal quote is constructed and forwarded accordingly.

What is a typical lead time to complete the tooling phase of an order?

Depending on degree of complexity:

  • Sand casting:  2 – 4 weeks
  • Sand casting with core features: 2 – 5 weeks
  • Permanent Mold: 4 – 9 weeks

What is the standard typical lead time for production ordering?

Depending on complexity and quantity:

  • Castings: 1 – 4 weeks
  • Casting and machining: 2 – 6 weeks
  • If castings are purchased on a recurring basis these lead times are not required.

Do you have a minimum order quantity?



What is a metal casting?

A casting is a metal part formed by pouring molten metal into a sand mold or metal die. The mold or die is comprised of two halves that, when mated together, form a cavity into which the molten metal is poured. The mold or die form the external surface of the casting. If an internal cavity is required in the casting, a core is placed inside the mold cavity. After the metal solidifies, the mold is broken, the cores removed and the part is readied for finishing operations. The sand is then remolded and used again. When a metal die is used, the two halves of the die are separated and the solidified casting is removed. The die is then reused. Most castings produced in the North America are specifically engineered parts, custom designed for unique applications.

Castings in general are not commodities like, for instance, bearings or fasteners, where one style might be used in many applications. Generally speaking, most castings are made to order with close tolerance levels required to meet a customer’s strict requirements.

What is a foundry?

If you were to trace a journey from a manufactured product to a consumer, chances are the path would have traveled at one time through a foundry. Not only do foundries produce the products we need for everyday living, but metal castings are also needed to create the machines that make the products. A foundry is a place where castings are made from molten metal according to an end user’s specifications. This basic metal distinction between foundries fall under ferrous (iron or steel) and non-ferrous (aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, etc.).

What do castings cost?

It is impossible for us to quote prices for labor charges without first seeing the piece or pieces in question. We invite you to send your designs to our Sales team, or our Administration team and we will gladly give you an estimate.  Of course, all designs sent to us either for pricing or as orders to be processed are held in strict confidence.  A sample product will also be produced for your approval.

What are castings used for?

Metal castings are used in virtually any application you can think of. More than 90% of all manufactured goods and capital equipment use castings as engineered components or rely on castings for their manufacture. All sectors of the U.S. military are reliant on metal castings for tank, truck, jet engine and other vital components. Metal castings have OEM applications for capital and consumer goods. Castings are also used in automobiles, trucks, navigation
and railroad equipment among other modes of transportation. In short, castings represent a vital yet very basic aspect of our everyday lives.

How are castings made?

Sand molding is one of several ways. This is where the replica of a pattern or a finished piece is compressed with sand and binder additives to form a shape of the final part, is probably the most common form of production. The pattern is removed after the mold or impression has been formed and then the metal is introduced through a runner system to fill the cavity. The sand and the metal is then separated and the casting cleaned and finished for shipment to the customer.