LIFT, the Detroit-based industrial research center, is providing a tilt-pour casting machine to Michigan Technological University, to be used in academic and research programs at MTU’s Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering foundry. “LIFT’s tilt-pour casting machine will enable our university to pursue industry-sponsored projects involving this technology, as well as help educate our students to an even greater degree,” said Russ Stein, MTU research engineer.
Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, or LIFT, is a public-private partnership focused on developing and deploying of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives. It coordinates academic and institutional research with likely and/or available industrial partners, with specific development targets. It also seeks to prepare current and future workers for new manufacturing methods.
Michigan Tech is a public research university in Houghton, MI. Along with being a LIFT member, the university is home to a metalcasting program certified by the Foundry Educational Foundation.
According to Stein, the Hall tilt-pouring machine is a CMH Manufacturing design that had been stored at LIFT’s research center in Detroit since 2017. As the research center had no plan to install the machine, placing it at MTU to boost the university’s MSE program was discussed during a visit to LIFT in the fall of 2018.
Stein explained that MTU will re-position some equipment in the MSE foundry this summer to make room for the tilt-pour machine. Tilt-pour casting will be incorporated into the casting curriculum, and the machine will be used for industry-sponsored projects in the MSE department.
Tilt-pour casting involves transferring metal into a holding cup while a mold remains in its horizontal position. With a preset cycle time, the casting machine raises to a vertical position, so the metal enters the mold at a slow, continuous rate.
Stein noted the machine would be used to pour various aluminum alloys that are the subject of research projects at MTU.
“While casting as a manufacturing process has been around for a long time, there is still innovation taking place, including the development of new alloys and casting methods,” according to LIFT’s CTO Hadrian Rori. “We are happy to provide this machine to MTU where it will be used to help expand its already outstanding MSE program.”