Coles Castings recently sent Stephen to Arizona State University Sculpture Department in Phoenix, USA. We were commissioned to convert one of the university’s gas furnaces to run on soybean oil.
The aim of the project was to equip the foundry at ASU with the means to cast iron in a crucible furnace, in a sustainable and more ecologically and environmentally friendly fashion. As gas furnaces are not capable of reaching the temperatures necessary to melt iron (approximately 1300C/2400F), waste oil furnaces are ideal for this application. One of the main benefits of this project for the university was to enable students to cast their work in iron on a more regular basis without the use of fossil fuels.
We’re very pleased to announce that the trip was a great success, the staff and students were incredibly accommodating and a pleasure to work with. We were able to run three successful melts during our time there, one melt being a bronze pour the other two pours being iron. We’re also happy to report that the staff and students have subsequently run the furnace on several occasions to produce iron castings that have been used by students in degree show work.
One of our driving principles at Coles Castings is our desire to reduce the environmental impact of metal casting and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Our bespoke oil furnace technology helps us to realise this goal. It is incredibly satisfying to see that this technology and method of casting is starting to gain traction in the broader foundry community.