Lightweight, high-performance metals major Alcoa today launched a family of innovative foundry alloys designed to meet the growing need for both part performance and lightweighting in the automotive industry and beyond.
According to Alcoa, the new alloys – SupraCast, EZCast, VersaCast and EverCast – have undergone extensive trials with major automakers and their suppliers, beating customers’ expectations on strength, thermal performance and corrosion resistance. Compared to incumbent material, they are stronger, lighter weight, and offer at least 20% better fatigue resistance.
“Our expert metallurgists combined with our deep understanding of the automotive industry allow us to anticipate and meet customer needs quickly and effectively,” said Tim Reyes, president of Alcoa Casting. “With this portfolio of patented alloys, we are enabling OEMs and foundries to tailor their parts to meet specific performance objectives—with material that weighs less and performs better than what is currently being used,” he added.
Eck Industries, a premium aluminum castings supplier, is a strong advocate for the new alloys. The company has successfully deployed VersaCast in collaboration with a supplier of cast parts to the motorsports industry and is working with Michigan-based technology development company REL, Inc., for a conformable compressed natural gas (CNG) tank that fits under the vehicle frame, rather than taking up cargo space. In addition, Eck Industries has recently completed the casting of engine cylinder heads made from SupraCast, which were successfully tested for force, power and speed, resulting in an order for cast heads using this high performance alloy.
“These foundry alloys from Alcoa open the door to a whole new world of high-performance, lightweight solutions for our customers,” said Andrew Halonen, sales engineer of Eck Industries. “The alloys not only perform better than existing materials, they are easy to cast, even for highly complex parts. And that adds value throughout the supply chain,” he added.
Compared to the incumbent material, Alcoa’s new foundry alloys perform exceptionally well across applications currently cast in heavier metals, such as engine components and other critical structural parts. VersaCast, for example, is 40-50% the weight of cast iron, with 50% better resistance to fatigue, making it ideal for the most demanding structural applications. All of the new specialty alloys offer good to excellent castability, weldability and corrosion resistance.
In North America, SupraCast and EZCast have been successfully produced and sold, and both VersaCast and EverCast are currently being qualified by customers. In Europe, EZCast, SupraCast and VersaCast are commercially available.
Alcoa’s four new specialty alloys are each highly customisable with unique benefits:
SupraCast – Superior strength at elevated temperatures for high performance power train applications, SupraCast offers thermal conductivity combined with high structural integrity ideal for cylinder heads, connecting rods, turbo chargers, brake calipers, and engine blocks.
EZCast – Appreciable yield strength and elongation gains compared to traditional alloys in this space, EZCast is named for the high fluidity, thermal stability and low shrinkage that make it easy to cast and ideal for a variety of different, crash-resistant structural components, including, engine cradles, cross-members, side doors, radiator mounting, engine mounts, sub-frames and shock towers.
VersaCast – Outperforming cast iron up to 94% and typical aluminum alloy alternatives by at least 40%, VersaCast is designed to help OEMs achieve optimal performance in the most demanding structural applications while continuing to make vehicles lighter. VersaCast is suitable for automotive, aerospace or military components where high strength is required; its excellent castability allows for complicated shapes.
EverCast – A high strength and high fatigue resistant alloy, EverCast is optimised for safety critical components in braking, steering and suspension brackets.