Shape the Future: Steel Casting Simulation

Steel castings are strategic components in sectors beyond mining and power generation. Steel casting manufacturing takes significant amounts of manpower and is also characterized by raw material and energy consumption. Simulation is a key technology for high quality and a resource-friendly and profitable production.

The economic production of high quality steel castings is a puzzle of many parts that have to fit together precisely. It begins with the configuration of a high degree of melt purity, an optimized rigging system to prevent shrinkage defects and porosity, a good surface finish as well as the avoidance of cracks, distortion and macrosegregation and extends to the optimization of the final heat treatment. By means of casting process simulation, foundry engineers can analyze and optimize their processes and ensure that all parts of the puzzle fit together in such a way that, ultimately, a robust and efficient production processes is established.

Porosity indication (left) and re-oxidation inclusions (right) in MAGMA

For steel castings, understanding and optimizing processes by simulation comprises:

  • Realistic and detailed mapping of all process steps

  • Quality improvement by avoiding casting defects that arise from misruns, reoxidation, sand and slag inclusions, microporosity, and shrinkage

  • Time savings by creating mold-based solutions when designing ingates, dimensioning runners, chills and other feeding aids.

  • Cost reductions, particularly in the areas of materials and energy use, lowering quality costs and reduction of rework  

  • Reduction of start-up costs caused by modifying gating, riser, and process layouts

  • Early and reliable decision-making due to the quantitative prediction of microstructures and properties in the casting after heat treatment

Hot tear: Prediction and real defect

MAGMA, MAGMAsteel and extension modules such as MAGMAstress provide comprehensive capabilities to simulate the steel casting process realistically and reliably. Among these are:

  • Pouring from ladles with calculation of the ladle characteristics

  • Prediction of mold erosion, sand burn-on and penetration

  • Calculation of melt convection during solidification and corresponding casting macrosegregation

  • Quantification of centerline and macroscopic shrinkage

  • Tracking of the development of re-oxidation and sand inclusions, and prediction of burn-on/penetration

  • Dedicated capabilities for steel investment casting and shell molds

  • Crack prediction, stress and distortion of the casting during solidification shake-out, after removal of gating and risering, as well as during subsequent cooling and machining processes

  • Evaluation of casting stresses and distortion during heat treatment

  • Prediction of local microstructures and mechanical properties during and after heat treatment considering the actual melt composition

Simulation of heat treatment with MAGMAsteel: Definition of a heat treatment process (top left), simulated cooling curves combined with the TTT diagram (bottom left) and simulation of mechanical properties after heat treatment. Shown here: Distribution of tensile strength (right)