Partnering for productivity – and future sustainability

“Applied Casting Solutions’ success is closely entwined with that of its customers. It makes a point of taking on the challenges faced by the local foundry industry. Solutions that address growing concerns around future growth opportunities, environmental impact, and health and safety are as much a natural progression as they are industry innovations,” says Applied Casting Solutions’ Business Director, Paul Oliaro.

“Continuous improvement is an important part of our business, but it’s critical that these improvements are made in areas where our customers will feel the most benefit,” says Oliaro. “We invest significantly in solutions that will ultimately help our customers remain profitable, while addressing responsible corporate citizenship in terms of people and the planet.”


Applied Casting Solutions supplies a complete range of foundry resins including Isocure cold box resins for intrinsic cores, as well as alkaline phenolic, furan and pep-set

“The sustainability of sand supplies in southern Africa is a prime example. Quality and consistency have been a challenge for some time, putting this at the top of ACS’s priority list. Not only are natural reserves dwindling, but regulation by governing authorities to drive the adoption of safer and more environmentally-sensitive alternatives such as silica sands are also only a matter of time.”

“The availability of good quality sand – in Africa in particular where quality is notably poor – has declined dramatically in recent years. We understand the challenges this poses to our foundries. Sub-quality sand translates into higher chemical usage, higher new sand additions and higher disposal volumes, all of which come at a cost. It also means increased scrap, re-work and fettling and potentially reduced surface finish quality down the line, which also needs to be considered in the production process, both in time and cost,” explains Oliaro.


Applied Casting Solutions’ success is closely entwined with that of its customers. It makes a point of taking on the challenges faced by the local foundry industry

Following a lengthy investigation and research process which included assessing and adapting how synthetics are used abroad, ACS introduced an alternative casting medium, known as Isocast, to the South African market in late 2014. The product, the first of its kind available in South Africa, is a ceramic bead with unique chemical and physical properties that can be applied in one of two ways: as a replacement to various so-called ‘special sands’ currently used in the manufacture of problematic castings, which are inherently more susceptible to high defect rates; or as part of a closed loop system where the casting medium is continually recycled with very low new addition rates.

“The synthetic offers multiple benefits at various stages of the production process. These include lower chemical doses, improved dimensional stability, lower disposal volumes, elimination of silica dust, improved casting finish, lower reject, re-work and fettling, and less fumes in core and mould-making casting processes,” says Oliaro.

“In short improved efficiencies, better cost savings as well as reduced environmental impact and health and safety risks. And most importantly satisfied customers.”

Local applications for global technology
“ACS continues to build upon its commitment to keeping South Africa’s foundry operations on the cutting edge of global trends, without losing touch with what it is that makes the local foundry industry such a unique niche. This calls for innovative technical and commercial solutions, tailored to local circumstances and requirements.”

“ACS is equally unique. Firmly rooted in South Africa with all the clout of AECI behind it, it also boasts strong international ties and influences through a longstanding partnership with ASK Chemicals, a company that continues to lead innovation globally in the foundry industry.”


Full range of treatment alloys

“ASK Chemicals remains at the forefront of environmentally friendly technology,” reiterates Oliaro. “At the recent 2014 BMW Supplier Innovations Awards, it was recognised as one of the eight most innovative suppliers in the Sustainability category. This prize is significant as it acknowledges ASK’s efforts in developing and implementing an inorganic binder system in high volumes series production, which is now enabling BMW to implement zero emission foundries and improve working conditions for employees.”

“As technology partners, we are able to tap into this kind of expertise to find equally compelling solutions for local customers,” says Oliaro. “We recently expanded our range with the addition of very specific ASK products in demand locally. These include ASK FeSiMg wire, casting filters, improved alkaline phenolic binders and Novanol, a CO2 cured binder.”

Innovation never ends
“While these new technologies represent great value and are exciting developments, the buck doesn’t stop here. ACS is now turning attention to assisting its customers assess and implement further tools and processes to help them make the most of the opportunities on offer. Among them is reclamation.”

“Effective reclamation is critical to ensuring that Isocast quality is adequately maintained,” says Oliaro. “In the case of many South African foundries, reclamation plants are inadequate to handle Isocast, and capital investment represents a significant obstacle to implementation of an Isocast system in many local foundries. This is why collaboration with customers plays such a critical role within our business and is something that we are actively applying ourselves to.”


Isocast, the new ceramic moulding media, recently introduced by Applied Castings Solutions

“Similarly, ACS recently identified a growing need for technical application specialists in the foundry industry. This prompted us to reassess and adapt our structure accordingly, so that our customers can access this kind of resource on a more consistent basis,” adds Oliaro.

“Innovation and pioneering new technologies is a journey we take with our customers. It forms one part of our commitment to innovation in the industry, offering street-wise commercial solutions in today’s challenging business environment and in so doing, adding value for customers.”

For further details contact Applied Casting Solutions on TEL: 011 922 1824 or visit