How does antimony improve lead-based castings?

Image of AntimonyAntimony (Sb) is an element that is blended in with metals such as lead to create different alloys. In lead-based alloys, antimony is added in the range of 1/2 percent to 12 percent and most commonly it is used in a range of 1/2 percent to 6 percent antimony and the balance of the alloy is lead or tin.

The use of a little antimony in castings will help material flow so it acts to improve the feed into a part compared to pure lead. In machined or structural products, antimony adds rigidity to the design. Pure lead acts like butter on a warm day and the use of antimony will stiffen the alloy to allow machining to take place and keep the part from moving like that of pure lead.  The same holds true for the use of antimony in structural parts, 6 percent of antimony will really strengthen the part and, when some tin is blended as well, this can help based on your design.

So what does this do to the density? Pure lead has a density of .41 pounds per cubic inch. Six percent antimonial lead has a density of .393 pounds per cubic inch, which is a loss of .0028 per percentage point of antimony. For a little loss in density, the mechanical properties gained are significant.

Based on alloy and product type, not all forms of metal can be blended with different alloys of antimony. Castings can be made from nearly any alloy while sheet and plate lead materials may require certain minimums. Six percent antimony is a standard in plate lead and cast product. Please contact Vulcan GMS to discuss your application and the available alloys.

Vulcan GMS CEO Chuck Yanke to discuss Olympic luge involvement on WTMJ radio

Image of Olympic RingsVulcan GMS CEO Chuck Yanke will be interviewed live on Milwaukee’s WTMJ 620 am radio today (Feb. 12) at 5:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Yanke will be discussing the company’s involvement with the United States Olympic luge team.

For the past 20 years, Vulcan GMS has been the exclusive supplier of aerodynamic lead weights to the U.S. Olympic luge team. The lugers are allowed to wear lead weights to bring them up to the maximum weight limit. Vulcan’s aerodynamic lead weights are sewn into vests and shorts worn under the team members’ fitting speed suits. On Feb. 11, Erin Hamlin became the United States’ first individual luge medal winner.

Luge competition continues through Feb. 13 in Sochi, Russia. We invite you to tune into WTMJ 620 am at 5:30 p.m. CST to hear Yanke’s interview and to show your support by watching the final slides of the U.S. Olympic luge team on television through Feb. 13.

Vulcan supplies aerodynamic lead weights to U.S. Olympic luge team

Image of Olympic Luge Team

During the last 20 years, Vulcan GMS has been the exclusive supplier of aerodynamic lead weights to the U.S. Olympic luge team. Our weights have been used in every Olympic competition since 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.

Luge is the fastest sport on ice; reaching speeds over 80 mph. In the Olympics, it is the only sport timed to one thousand of a second. The athletes compete on sleds controlled only with imperceptible movements of their body. The team is made up of men, women and doubles teams. Being a gravity sport, the heavier you are the faster you go. This is where Vulcan helps the U.S. team.

According to Olympic rules, the lugers are allowed to wear lead weights to bring them up to the maximum weight limit. Vulcan’s aerodynamic lead weights are sewn into vests and shorts worn under the team members’ fitting speed suits. In 1998 in Nagano, Japan, the U.S. team won the first Olympic medals in this sport using Vulcan’s aerodynamic lead weights.

The sport of luge

Luge is all about speed, and the fastest time down the track wins. Once the sliders weigh in, the rest is muscle, experience, skill and communication. Communication you ask? In doubles, one slider sits on top of the other on the same sled. The slider on the top can see the track but cannot steer while the slider on the bottom can steer but cannot see the track. This is a partnership of trust and communication through body language and movements to navigate the fastest path down the track. That is what makes the difference between winning medals or not.

How you can support the U.S. Olympic luge team

Besides supplying aerodynamic lead weights, Vulcan also is a major sponsor of the U.S. Olympic luge team. Vulcan also continues to support through the Olympic’s Adopt an Athlete Program.

The 2014 winter Olympics are coming up and will held in Sochi, Russia, this year and the luge will be competing February 8-13. You can view the U.S. Olympic luge team’s schedule to see each day’s events. On the site, you will be able to enter your zip code to see which local channel will be showing the events.

The Vulcan GMS family hopes you will support the U.S. Olympic luge team by tuning in to the coverage as they slide for the gold.

Vulcan doubles capacity for plate and sheet machined products with new CNC router

Image of CNC RouterVulcan GMS continues to invest in our future through our employees and our equipment. Vulcan has added a new computer controlled shaping machine or CNC router which doubles our capacity for plate and sheet machined products.  This new CNC router has a 5 foot by 10 foot vacuum table and allows us to machine sheet product of any size on the table to tolerances of +/-.010″. Vulcan customizes routers to handle lead, but these routers can also process other metals and plastics for our customers.

CNC routers allow us to offer features machined partially through lead or other materials with true 4-axis machining on plate; not 2D or 3D that can be achieved with laser or water jet. Computer controlled shaping machines are similar to their handheld counterparts but allow machinists to enter coordinates into a computer which then cuts and shapes material on the designated tool path. After customizing the router for handling lead and vacuum air flow to correct process materials, it is ready to be used in our machining process.

Through our extensive experience in handling lead materials, we are also able to use 3D models to unfold your product or assembly which allows our engineers and programmers to develop the components needed to be processed on our routers.

Our customers know us for our experience in lead, tungsten, tin and bismuth. However, we do offer more products and services beyond this for our customers. We can also cut aluminum, copper, steel, plastics and more through the use of these CNC routers.

Please contact us for more information on CNC router cutting and how Vulcan GMS can put this experience to work for you.

Vulcan GMS adds 3D printer to its prototype workflow system

Image of 250mc 3D printerAs manufacturing companies look to speed up the time to develop prototypes and therefore also increase the development of actual products, a challenge arises. Vulcan GMS is proud to meet that challenge with the addition of the Fortus 250mc 3D printer to its product development workflow. This brand new 3D printer is able to produce prototypes directly from 3D models.

Vulcan GMS has always worked hard to stay at the cutting edge of the manufacturing industry. By offering this 3D printer to customers needing specific prototypes, Vulcan can increase the speed and accuracy for the development of products.

3D printing (also referred to as additive manufacturing) is the process of creating a three-dimensional object in almost any shape or size from a digital model. In 3D printing, multiple material layers are laid down in different shapes to achieve the desired solid object of the digital model. 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, but has only become commonplace commercially for manufacturing in the 2010s.

This Fortus 250mc 3D printer is produced by Stratasys, an international company that specializes in the production of 3D printing equipment and solutions for manufacturers.

Stratasys’s 3D printer is capable of producing a wide variety of prototypes, tools and gauges. With the use of this printer, prototype parts are produced within an accuracy of ± .241 mm or ± .0095 in. (According to the Stratasys website, accuracy is geometry dependent. Achievable accuracy specification is derived from statistical data at a 95 percent dimensional yield.)

Besides achievable accuracy, this 3D printer is manufactured to produce prototypes in-house which speeds up the entire development process. The Vulcan GMS 3D printer is located at its Mill Road manufacturing facility for ease of use for all its employees and for all customers’ needs.

An additional asset of the Fortus 250mc 3D printer is that the prototypes produced are exceptionally durable.

Please contact Vulcan GMS to learn more about 3D printing or to discuss any 3D printer needs you may have in the future.

Hunger Task Force accepts 3,000 pound food donation from Vulcan GMS

Image of Hunger Task Force donations

Vulcan GMS is proud to again partner with the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee for this year’s holiday food drive. Vulcan is a family-owned company and is a longtime supporter of charity organizations such as the Hunger Task Force that aid local families.

This holiday season, Vulcan employees and their families donated more than 3,200 pounds of non-perishable food items for local families. In the photo at left, Roberto Reyes of the Vulcan casting department, David Dejesus, vice president of manufacturing and estimator Steve Gamel pose in front of the company’s contributions to the cause for this year.

Since 1974, the Hunger Task Force has been fighting the hunger struggle in the Milwaukee area. The organization’s food bank delivers to about 80 local food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters and it does so free of charge.

The Vulcan GMS family makes it a goal to give back to the local community at every opportunity and is happy to make a difference in the Milwaukee area through programs like the Hunger Task Force food bank. To make your own donation, please visit their site.