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Forty years of continuous casting

The invention’s birthday is taken to be the day of the first successful test casting, 6th November 1968
The invention’s birthday is taken to be the day of the first successful test casting, 6th November 1968

Upcast® continuous upward casting is forty years old. The Upcast story began in the late 1960s, when casting directions were typically downward or horizontal; cast products were large in cross-section and required further processing in numerous downstream steps.

At Outokumpu’s Pori (Finland) plant, research began into casting rod or tube that was closer to the size of the final product. The initial development work culminated in 1968 with the first successful upward test casting. Two years later the first production line was installed at the Pori foundry. The second line, commissioned for an outside customer for copper alloys, followed a year later.

The inventors of the technology were convinced that the Upcast method deserved active in-house development and should be treated as a valuable technological innovation. Their thoughts were compiled into an internal report, “What to do with upward casting?” Based on the findings of the report, sales and development of upward casting technology was made into its own business entity within Outokumpu’s copper division called the JAVA-unit (later renamed Outokumpu Castform Oy).

The unit’s work proved fruitful, with 21 lines sold by the end of the 1970s. Landmarks of 50 and 100 commissioned lines were crossed in 1983 and 1993 respectively. Strong sales were seen as such a big threat to Outokumpu’s own production activities that restrictions to the supply of Upcast technology outside the Outokumpu Group were set.

Coming to the 21st century, a new page in the Upcast story was turned. First, Outokumpu Group’s management decided to focus on stainless steel products and divest its copper products division. This was followed later by an announcement from the new owner (Nordic Capital) to concentrate in copper semis production and to sell or close down all of its newly acquired technology companies. At that moment Castform Oy’s management joined forces with two outside investors to ensure the continuity of Upcast business activities and Upcast Oy was created.

The Upcast system has come a long way since its creation, and development work is still ongoing. Upcast technology continues to be a leading continuous casting system for oxygen-free copper and copper alloys rod production with more than 170 units sold – an annual capacity of around 1.5 million tons.

PUBLISHED: 04 May 09 Bookmark and Share
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Forty years of continuous casting
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