All our metal products are manufactured solely in the UK in malleable iron for the greatest quality assurance, strength, and shock resistance. More generally imported grey iron is brittle and has an increased risk of impact fracture, it is also is more difficult to fabricate and weld. This however does not change the outward integrity in any way, rather an improvement on the lasting durabilty and workability of the metal. Using cast iron has distinct advantages over steel in producing fixed material sizes for repetitious runs. There are no unsightly welds and it has many more variable appearance thicknesses and decorative details within the cast iron design, not generally possible in unforged steel fabrications.
Our railing systems can be supplied either as bare metal castings unfinished, or primed/finished and drilled with fixing kits supplied. Each of the components are supplied in manageable sizes for easier handling. The general finishing service we offer, is a specialised powder coating specific for cast iron. other protection coatings are also available such as galvanising and wet finishes, should it be required. Full advice and guidance can be given to assist you with your choice, architectural appropriateness and environmental situation.
Please contact us with your details and any photos you have of your proposed project. Please see our products page for dimensions of railings, gates and post components. Alternatively you can complete and send the form on the contact page, and if you wish photos, length of run required, wall height and whether you require gates. Scroll up for design service details.
Steel fabrication versus Casting
22nd March 2018
Steel fabrications and castings are often considered for the same project as they share very similar properties. Generally, castings provide better tolerances and superior mechanical properties.
Castings allow designers to be visually creative and explore exciting forms. It enables shape and form where fabrications cannot. Cast parts are specifically designed and engineered to suit, and only put material where it is wanted. In contrast, the form of a fabrications is typically driven by the availability of material, and the ability to join the parts. It cannot be as creative in form as a casting. Add this to the generally better strength characteristics, and castings come out lighter weight and cheaper.
The nature of the casting process means that the cast steel does not exhibit directionality. These parts can be stressed in any direction. Fabricated parts use steel that has directionality, i.e. it is strong in one direction and not in another.
Contrary to common belief, Cast steel parts are ductile and tough, not brittle and hard, lending themselves to designs where longer life and improved performance are an advantage.
Fabrications are very relevant for small volume production, using readily available material to create the part. No tooling cost allows for low set up costs and short timescales to production. Castings require an investment upfront for the creation of a mould or tool. Sand casting tools are significantly cheaper than injection die cast tools, but all casting requires a tooling budget and timescale.
Fabrications allow you to make alterations to the design 'on the fly' evolving the iteratively. This can be positive if your start up budget is low.
However, fabrication design needs to be very well considered. Joining parts together can lead to inaccuracy and additional/expensive fettling to correct the compound dimensional or alignment problems. For accuracy, castings will give you more precise tolerances than fabrication.
In addition, combining multiple elements together generates stress points, requiring additional strength to be designed back in. Fabrication design needs to be sensitive to the limitations: welds can be hard to repair and are often are the cause of failure, whereas the strongest element in fabrications is the strength of a metal parts. Creating successful fabrications requires correctly recognized and allowed for in the final design.
Can you fabricate cast parts? Yes - again contrary to popular belief, cast parts are often better to weld than wrought, as the lack of directionality provides a ductile, not too hard, weld surface. You can also design the cast parts to move the 'weaker' weld line to an area of the part that is not exposed to high stress, therefore optimising the best of both processes. Assemblies can be fabricated using cast parts, reducing assembly time and complexity.
Fabrication may be cheaper and quicker setting up, but if your project is successful, fabrication will be more expensive and a lengthier procedure in the long run than a casting solution.