Marine casting is specialised casting because of the kind of environmental conditions we are dealing with. But with the sea now seeing more activity than ever before in history, it is one of the essential fields that we must focus on. With miles of coast and seawater at its disposal, marine casting is an important field in the metal casting industry in India.
Where do we need marine casting?
Marine casting has wide applications that are not limited to only ships, tankers or marine installations. It includes marine, sub-marine and coastal structures. This covers a very wide variety of installations, including ship desks, platforms, handrails, bridges, valves, pump components, sub-sea components and more. There are also deep sea equipment and installations that require marine casting. We need these castings for ships, cargo tanks, overbridges, observation towers, navy stations, and other structure.
Why do we need it?
Marine casting is essential because of the environment that we are working in.
Highly corrosive environment: Seawater is one of the most corrosive substances. Apart from the water itself, the high salt content can erode almost any kind of building material. This is why all metals start rusting when exposed to seawater in a very short time. The corrosive effect of the seawater can extend to coastal areas where high moisture content has the same effect on metal structures. Yet, we must have a myriad kind of structures, ranging from ships for transportation to bridges near the coast. Marine casting is a specialised branch of casting where we use metals that are better able to withstand such an environment.
Durability: One if the biggest challenges in marine installations is to build something that is durable. The focus is always on developing something that can last for a long time and still be cost-effective. We need metals that can last for a long time despite the corrosive environment and the pressure on certain installations, such as bridges or underwater structures. Eventually, the metal structure will start to rust, show cracks or start buckling under the pressure. Casting of metals like stainless steel has been instrumental in creating more durable structures, even stunning structural designs.
Protecting the environment: The Sea is a major pathway for transportation, especially for goods. This includes the transportation of chemicals and oils. There are many marine installations and modes of transport that are used for this purpose, such as oil platform, tankers and ships. But these can also pose a danger to the environment. Any spill of dangerous or toxic materials can cause irreversible damage. We need durable and strong metals that can last the course. With marine casting we work with metals that can help us create a safer environment.
Making cost-effective products: Marine casting is a constant struggle to create products that can work in heavily demanding situations and still remain cost effective. There are many factors to consider here — the casting expenses, further tooling and the need to create a strong enough metal to withstand the pressure. All this has been possible because of the use of metals like stainless steel in casting.
One of the most commonly used metals in marine casting is stainless steel. The reason it is used for marine applications is:
- A strong ability to withstand corrosion. Some types of stainless steel show some the best performance when exposed to saltwater.
- A high resistance to stress corrosion.
- Very high strength to weight ratio. This makes stainless steel one of the strongest metals in marine casting. Because of its strength, we can use think sheets of steel instead of making thick slabs. It makes installation easier.
- It is very cost effective. Installation is easy and requires less effort. Plus, you are using far less metal, bringing down the costs further. Tooling and handling costs for stainless steel are also lower.
- It is a very ductile metal. This is why stainless steel is today used to make stunning structural designs.
- It is recyclable, which makes it environment friendly and economic in the long run.
Other metals like aluminium are also used for their strength and resistance to corrosion. Marine casting has become increasingly important with marine industry and architecture now requiring specialised casting.