DISA Helps Boose Quality Castings Cut Scrap by Over 50%

"Our scrap percentages are a fraction of what they were before the DISA MATCH installation, which really is incredible.”

Brandon Boose

VP of Operations at BQC Foundry.

Green sand and aluminum have a long and successful partnership in the USA, particularly at Boose foundries. In fact, the Boose family has been sand casting aluminum since 1933.

In 2006, Boose acquired the Cornwall Aluminum Foundry in Lebanon, Pennsylvania and completely upgraded its manufacturing processes shortly after the switch to Boose Quality Castings in 2019. Joe, LeAnn and Brandon Boose fully took the reins in 2019 and the facility now operates as BQC Foundry, marking the many positive equipment, structure and personnel changes with a proud new name.

Moving to DISA Quality

BQC operates three molding lines, all fed by a single 100B Speedmullor that can mix up to 100 tons of sand every hour. Castings are all gravity poured, mostly by hand but sometimes using a robot.

In its quest to produce the highest quality aluminum castings, Boose decided to replace its existing molding lines with new machines. The vendor shortlist was very short indeed.

“I wanted to have the best green sand foundry on the US East Coast and, if possible, the entire USA,” says Brandon Boose, VP of Operations at BQC. “I figured the best starting point for that was to have the best molding machines. DISA has been the leader in foundry molding machines for decades and, in addition to simply wanting their machines, I have just always been a fan of DISA.”

MATCH Satisfies High Expectations

In 2021, the company installed its first new machine, the world’s first ever DISA MATCH 16/20 machine. The DISA MATCH 16/20 runs at speeds of up to 180 uncored molds per hour with pattern changes of two or three minutes only – perfect for foundries like BQC that mix short, medium, and long runs. Its matchplate adaptor means it can re-use existing jolt-squeeze pattern plates or patterns from other vendors’ matchplate machines with minimum modification – making upgrading easy and low cost.

Today, after two years of operations, the MATCH’s high-quality molds have seriously improved Boose’s ability to profitably produce aluminum castings with high dimensional accuracy and excellent surface finish.

“We consistently saw weekly scrap rates of 4-5% on jobs running on the old machines,” says Brandon. “That same product mix when switched over to the DISA machine runs less than 2% scrap on an average week, so our scrap percentages are a fraction of what they were before the DISA MATCH installation, which really is incredible. It’s even more impressive that it’s done this while producing up to 187 molds per hour.”

BQC: A Laser-like Focus on Quality

BQC can now easily make hard, accurate molds – even with deep pockets – that produce an excellent surface finish in the final casting, typically around 300-325RMS (AA-CS-E18-92). However, we saw that products with releases or very tall risers can get close to the 250RMS.   

High quality molds with miniscule amounts of mismatch means our castings have a very thin parting line,” says Brandon. “There’s far less fettling and grinding required to satisfy our clients’ surface finish requirements which has reduced our labor costs significantly.”

“In the old equipment, we would have to put sand in the cope wherever there were pockets,” continues Brandon. “With the DISA, we just blow the mold. It’s impressive on the intricate pattern designs that we struggled with before too, that’s got a lot easier for us.”

BQC worked with DISA’s Application team experts to achieve the best quality, yield, and productivity for a wide range of castings, from flat, simple, uncored parts to complex, multi-cored castings. Just like DISA Application, BQC uses sophisticated MAGMASOFT simulation software in-house to design new tooling and optimize its process.

The foundry’s dedicated team keeps a tight rein on sand properties and multiple other quality-related investments were made in melting, melt hydrogen level testing and mold handling.

Fast, Flexible, High Quality and More Sustainable: What’s Not to Like?

Green sand’s pattern lifetime and cost are another big advantage BQC has over its die casting competitors. Green sand tooling is over 90% cheaper compared to permanent molds and each plate has around six times the lifetime. DISA has recorded that a low-alloy-steel MATCH plate can create up to 500,000 green sand molds, so our goal of 100,000 still puts us above the permanent mold made from the same material that typically will only last for 70,000 gravity die casting shots.

“We primarily use DISA’s recommended tooling life,” says Paul Snyder, Quality and Engineering Manager at BQC. “Our most heavily used tooling has so far made 20,000 molds with no detectable tooling wear when inspected.”

The ease and speed of creating – and altering – green sand tooling has also enhanced BQC’s prototyping workflow. Added to that is the MATCH’s low manpower requirements, high productivity and uptime, plus incredible reliability, and low maintenance from its simple, robust design.

Sustainability benefits too, with low scrap rates reducing energy consumption. The green diamond (non-silica) base sand has no chemical resins added and BQC can instantly re-use around 98% of its molding sand. It currently sends its used shell core sand off for reclaim.

Winning Even More Business

Customers have recognized MATCH’s cost and quality strength too, improving BQC’s competitiveness in the US market. The company receives a growing number of RFQs for previously die-cast components to be produced in green sand.

“We’ve now successfully helped customers switch quite a few products from die casting to green sand with the MATCH,” says Paul. “Bringing in the DISA technology has really opened up our playbook when it comes to quoting and engineering – how can we make this product cheaper and faster? From an engineering perspective, being able to make consistent molds and knowing how the sand’s filling makes our job a lot easier when we’re planning and quoting for a new product.”

"We can now quote jobs we’ve never been able to quote before, typically jobs that would go to die cast right away,” explains Brandon. “We can really compete against permanent molds or die cast, even with extremely challenging products with deep pockets and complex geometries. Since we can have the higher volumes at the same time, we’re able to keep the cost down for customers.”

With this performance, there is no surprise that BQC’s second DISA MATCH line was ready to start operating by October 2023. This time round, it’s the larger format DISA MATCH 20/24!