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Replacing Olivine Sand


Fall Prevention Planning


With the North American olivine sand supply tapped out, the metalcasting industry has found some viable options for substitution. SHANNON WETZEL, SENIOR EDITOR


O


livine sand is no longer mined in the U.S. and is in limited supply for


North American metalcasters. Sand casters who have been using the aggre- gate for decades now are forced to find an alternative. But the change is not doom and gloom, according to Vic LaFay, research and technical devel- opment manager for S&B Industrial Minerals, Cincinnati. Nonferrous oliv- ine sand casters currently have three


major alternatives to their traditional olivine sand, all of which have been proven in real metalcasting facilities in the last couple of years. “Te foundry industry has been


resilient,” LaFay said. “We have a traditional mineral that is no longer available. Now we have substituted it with readily available, reason- ably costing aggregates that give us a casting that meets or exceeds the customer’s requirement.” Although some metalcasters have


opted to import Norwegian olivine sand, the shipping costs of the foreign mineral make it an expensive option. At this time, three major cost- effective options are available when transitioning away from olivine sand: silica sand, Green Diamond aggre- gate or Biasill aggregate. According to LaFay, all options have proven to work as a replacement within tradi- tional olivine shops and can be incor- porated into the sand system slowly, without dumping all of the currently


Fig. 1. Shown is a comparison of the olivine sand Pride Cast Metals was using (right) to the Green Diamond aggregate. 20 | MODERN CASTING December 2012


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