Lufkin Industries started its foundry and machine company in Lufkin, TX, in 1902 by focusing on the repair needs of the railroads and sawmills. Over the past century, Lufkin developed this division into a leading metalcasting industry leader in the design, engineer, and production of medium-to-large and low-to-medium volume ductile- and gray-iron castings.
These castings are used by manufacturers of oilfield equipment and power-transmission products all over the world.
Several years ago, Lufkin installed solidification modeling software to help improve product quality — and it did, to some degree. However, Lufkin continued to have problems predicting the quality of several ductile-iron castings. The foundry determined that it needed more accurate consideration of the graphite expansion and metallurgical behavior.
Lufkin presented its concern to MAGMA Foundry Technologies, the North American subsidiary of MAGMA Giessereitechnologie GmbH, which supplies metalcasting process simulation software and related engineering services. Its MagmaSoft program helps predict product quality.
MagmaSoft uses an iron micro-modeling approach, which considers metal treatment practices, as-poured chemistry composition, mold-wall movement, and other factors to accurately predict the feeding behavior of iron.
Using this software, engineers from Lufkin and MAGMA resolved several significant defects. In one case, scrap levels were reduced from 60%, to less than 2%, on a casting that had been rigged using conventional solidification modeling.
“Lufkin purchased solidification software several years ago and, in several cases, found marginal benefit,” explains MAGMA president Tim McMillin. “As one can appreciate, they were hesitant to spend money on another software tool.”
“Our engineers worked closely with Lufkin on a contract engineering basis,” he continued. “Together, we solved several nagging problems and avoided many more by simulating castings prior to production.”
McMillin was pleased that Lufkin chose MAGMA. “With MagmaSoft and the MagmaIron module, they’ll now be able to take a more aggressive approach using simulation as a key engineering tool in pre-production and defect solution.”