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Types of Foundry Furnaces

When you need melting furnaces for a project, you may wonder what types of foundry furnaces are available. You have several options to choose from, and the right one for your operation will depend on your needs and intended application. Explore the most common types of foundry furnaces below.

What Are the Types of Furnaces Used in Foundry?

Cast metal manufacturers use several different types of furnaces for various jobs. Those that work with metal alloys and additives need the appropriate equipment to make specific metal grades, melt materials for shaping and complete other applications. Most furnaces use heat to create the desired effect, but they may be powered in different ways and use different gases to develop the appropriate material grades and shapes.

Across the industry, manufacturers use four main types of furnaces to fit their applications. At J. Walter Miller, we can work with you to determine your requirements and select the best method from our foundry capabilities to suit your project needs.

1. Melting Furnaces

When manufacturers need to melt solid metals, alloys or glass into liquids to reshape them, they use melting furnaces. Metal and glass melting furnaces allow foundries to manipulate hard materials into new shapes for the final product.

Using thermal processing equipment, these furnaces strategically overheat solid metals until the metals' internal properties begin to change into liquids. Once the metals are softened, manufacturers can more easily mold the medal for the application at hand.

2. Induction Furnaces

Foundries commonly use induction furnaces for steel. These steel melting furnaces are easy to operate and sturdy enough for heavy-duty applications.

In an induction furnace, an electromagnet of coiled copper surrounds a crucible into which steel is placed to be melted. As the coil creates eddies in the metal with a reversing magnetic field, it continuously stirs the melting steel. The induction furnace's design keeps oxygen and other gases out during the melting process.

The induction furnace offers wide-ranging capabilities and a sizable steel-melting capacity. It can melt about 65 tons of steel with one charge.

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3. Crucible Furnaces

Crucible furnaces are often made from refractory materials like ceramic to handle extremely high temperatures. To use this type of foundry furnace, manufacturers place metals and additives into a crucible, which then goes directly into a source of heat. Crucibles can come in a wide range of sizes, from a small cup to a kiln-sized furnace. 

4. Cupola Furnaces

Cupola furnaces look similar to chimneys. They are long and tunnel-like on the inside. Foundries fill the furnace with coal-coke and additives and light them to generate sufficient heat for metalwork. After the furnace is sufficiently hot, manufacturers add in pig or scrap iron to generate carbon for producing specific iron and steel grades.

While typically less efficient than more modern furnaces, cupola furnaces still operate in some foundries in keeping with tradition.

Choose J. Walter Miller Co. for Trusted Metal Manufacturing

J. Walter Miller Co. is your go-to foundry for high-quality castings at cost-effective pricing. Our wide range of services and expertise areas allow us to provide metalworking solutions that fit unique requirements to meet your applications best. We offer short lead times, 100% inspection for visible defects and complete flexibility for large and small orders.

We take pride in maintaining personal relationships with our clients and delivering trusted services for their unique requirements. We are a modern, innovative industrial foundry here to serve as your partner for all your metal casting needs. 

When you work with us, you can be confident that you'll receive quality castings and service. To maintain consistently high quality, we adhere to our registered ISO 9001:2015 Certified Quality System. We take our commitment seriously to give you peace of mind and total satisfaction with every order.

As your partner, our goal is to deliver trusted services whatever your requirements. For more information on what we have to offer, get in touch with us today.