Spokane’s Travis Pattern & Foundry Inc. has ordered a new automated matchplate molding system from Hunter Automated Machinery Corp. The new XL2024 will be the fourth Hunter matchplate molding system installed at the aluminum foundry, which produces castings used to build irrigation systems and power transmission substations, as well as general-purpose fittings markets.
Travis Pattern is also the originator of the Li’l Mac sinker molds used to produce weights for fishing. According to Travis project manager Gene Johnson, “This new line will expand our already substantial casting capabilities for aluminum, as well as brass and cast iron work. We’re seeing an upturn in our business and purchased the machine in anticipation of increasing demand.”
“We typically run jobs in the hundreds up to 1,000 pieces,” Gene Johnson explained. “The fast pattern changeover and the flexibility of the Hunter system really speeds our production.” He estimated approximately 90% of the jobs run on the new Hunter machine will be aluminum, and the remainder will be brass castings. Travis Patter also produces some cast iron castings.
Travis Pattern is a fourth-generation family business founded in 1922. It claims to the largest privately owned aluminum foundry west of the Mississippi River (over 7 million lb./3,181,818 kg poured annually.) Its products are sold across North America, including through its network of affiliated companies.
The new molding machine is set to be in operation by the end of March. Hunter developed the XL2024 as a fully automated matchplate molding system that uses gravity-fill technology. It produces sand molds up to 2024 in. with shallow 6.5-in. cope and 5.5-in. drag (165 mm/140 mm) at 180 cycles per hour, using 400 lb. (181 kg) of sand. Variable squeeze surface pressure to 142 psi (10kg/cm2) can be achieved.