BSC, the UK zinc and aluminum pressure diecasting company, has worked in partnership with beverage dispensers and cooling equipment supplier IM Cornelius in the diecasting process for a new bar-facing frontage for the Australian lager brand Foster’s Lager
With a history dating back to the 1880s, Foster’s is available in more than 150 countries, making it the highest selling Australian beer brand worldwide.
When the requirement for a new bar-facing frontage for one of its beer pumps arose, Foster’s called on IMI Cornelius – the supplier of beverage dispensers and cooling equipment.
IMI Cornelius set to work creating a stylish die design to fit with the brand’s laid back Australian image. However, it had an outsourcing requirement when it came to the creation of the die itself so it looked to long-time supply partner BSC, the UK’s leading zinc and aluminum pressure diecasting company, to assist in every stage of the diecasting process from consultation to finishing.
An unusual casting
The main challenge facing BSC when it came to creating the Foster’s casting was the unconventional size and shape of the die. The design IMI Cornelius had specified was far taller than standard frontages and featured a slight twist at the top, posing the issue of how to get the metal into the unusually large die without degrading the finish. The art of perfect casting is reliant on speed and dexterity; if the feeding were to take any longer than 20 milliseconds there was a risk that part of the casting could become porous, creating an ‘icicles in water’ effect on the final product.
For most body castings, BSC would inject the metal along one side of the die, but this project called for a more innovative approach. Drawing from more than 45 years of expertise achieving the blemish-free surface and perfect chrome finish required for zinc beer taps, its engineers were able to devise a method that would ensure both speed and precision for such a large casting. By feeding the metal around both the bezel area (where the Foster’s badge would be situated) and partway down the side form, the die could be cast rapidly, achieving the required volume in half the time and guaranteeing zero defects.
Coping with pressure
The unusual shape and size of the casting also presented the challenge of how to hold the top slide in position, which is vital for creating the bottom form of the casting where it fastens to the base. On most tools the die surface is flat, but in this instance the die surface was around 240mm below the general die face. This discrepancy, coupled with the sheer weight of the specified tool, would lead to considerable pressure on the top slide – around 5-6,000 PSI – that would force it backwards and out of position.
To solve this issue, BSC designed a specially weighted device to fit onto the top of the die, holding the slide down. This way, when the die closed and the two angled die faces came together, the slide would not be forced backwards against the metal pressure.
As the hydraulic cylinder attached to the slide also required particular specifications to be held in place, BSC redesigned all the fixings so that the cylinder could be held at a 30-degree angle in line with the casting.
A happy customer
In keeping with the rest of the project, the finishing aspect of the Foster’s job also required specialist attention. With the frontage requiring four separate shades of colour, each fading into one another, BSC employed their state-of-the-art robot technology to ensure absolute precision. The final result was a casting developed with perfect structural integrity and a painted and polished flawless cosmetic appearance.
Martin Bailey at IMI Cornelius oversaw the outsourcing process and was delighted with what was accomplished. He says: “At Cornelius we referred to the Foster’s body casting as ‘project perfect’ and BSC lived up to that name with the fantastic results it achieved. It was one of the most complicated castings we’ve ever handled, so it’s a real testament to their expertise that everything was absolutely spot on. Foster’s was delighted.”
Since finishing the job in August 2011 9,000 units have been sent out to Foster’s and the final product can be seen on bar tops across the UK.
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