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Pig_IronAn Overview

A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminium and cast iron. However, other metals, such as bronze, brass, steel, magnesium, and zinc, are also used to produce castings in foundries. In this process, parts of desired shapes and sizes can be formed.


In metalworking, casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowing it to cool and solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process. Casting is most often used for making complex shapes that would be difficult or uneconomical to make by other methods.


Melting is performed in a furnace. Virgin material, external scrap, internal scrap, and alloying elements are used to charge the furnace. Virgin material refers to commercially pure forms of the primary metal used to form a particular alloy. Alloying elements are either pure forms of an alloying element, like electrolytic nickel, or alloys of limited composition, such as ferroalloys or master alloys. External scrap is material from other forming processes such as punching, forging, or machining. Internal scrap consists of gates, risers, defective castings, and other extraneous metal oddments produced within the facility. (The Effects of Alloying Elements on Steel).

The process includes melting the charge, refining the melt, adjusting the melt chemistry and tapping into a transport vessel. Refining is done to remove deleterious gases and elements from the molten metal to avoid casting defects. Material is added during the melting process to bring the final chemistry within a specific range specified by industry and/or internal standards. Certain fluxes may be used to separate the metal from slag and/or dross and degassers are used to remove dissolved gas from metals that readily dissolve certain gasses. During the tap, final chemistry adjustments are made.

    Studies On Direct Reduced Iron Melting In Induction Furnace

    Of late, main problems faced by steelmakers are short supply, fluctuating prices together with extremely heterogeneous nature and presence of tramp elements of steel scrap. Use of direct reduced iron (DRI) as a partial replacement to scrap, to some extent does help in overcoming this hurdle. However, unlike scrap and even pig iron, DRI is characterized by high porosity, low thermal and electrical conductivities which, in turn, poses problems in its melting.

    Attempts were made to study melting of DRI in a laboratory size induction furnace using molten steel bath as hot heel. The induction stirring accelerates the transfer of heat and promotes the melting of DRI. The effect of partial replacement of scrap by DRI on various melting parameters has been studied. Also kinetic studies were made to evaluate net melting rate. It was revealed that since melting and refining are taking place simultaneously, the increasing proportion of DRI in the input charge increases net melting rate and metallic yield. It was concluded that higher proportion of DRI, as a replacement to scrap, contributes to improve mechanical properties with no segregation of carbon content and the decrease in sulphur and tramp elements in the product that improves steel quality.

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    Foundry Pig Iron for Iron Foundries..Grey Iron Castings


Several specialised furnaces are used to melt the metal. Furnaces are refractory lined vessels that contain the material to be melted and provide the energy to melt it. Modern furnace types include electric arc furnaces (EAF), induction furnaces, cupolas, reverberatory, and crucible furnaces. Furnace choice is dependent on the alloy system quantities produced. For ferrous materials, EAFs, cupolas, and induction furnaces are commonly used. Reverberatory and crucible furnaces are common for producing aluminium, bronze, and brass castings.

Furnace design is a complex process, and the design can be optimized based on multiple factors. Furnaces in foundries can be any size, ranging from small ones used to melt precious metals to furnaces weighing several tons, designed to melt hundreds of pounds of scrap at one time. Theyare designed according to the type of metals that are to be melted. Furnaces must also be designed based on the fuel being used to produce the desired temperature. For low temperature melting point alloys, such as zinc or tin, melting furnaces may reach around 500° C. Electricity, propane, or natural gas are usually used to achieve these temperatures. For high melting point alloys such as steel or nickel based alloys, the furnace must be designed for temperatures over 1600° C. The fuel used to reach these high temperatures can be electricity (as employed in electric arc furnaces) or coke.

The majority of foundries specialize in a particular metal and have furnaces dedicated to these metals. For example, an iron foundry (for cast iron) may use a cupola, induction furnace, or EAF, while a steel foundry will use an EAF or induction furnace. Bronze or brass foundries use crucible furnaces or induction furnaces. Most aluminium foundries use either electric resistance or gas heated crucible furnaces or reverberatory furnaces.

Electric Arc Furnace

Blast Furnace

Basic Oxygen Furnace

General Furnace/Foundry Documents


1 Degarmo, E. Paul; Black, J T.; Kohser, Ronald A. (2003), Materials and Processes in Manufacturing (9th ed.), Wiley, ISBN 0-471-65653-4, p. 277.
2 – Foundry, Furnace
3 McNeil, Ian (1990), An encyclopaedia of the history of technology, Taylor & Francis, p. 163, ISBN 0-415-01306-2